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4 Easy Road Trips for Cool New Winter Adventures

Get inspired to skate, snowshoe, fat bike and ski at these destinations close to the GTA

Gorgeous outdoor winter scene with a snowy iced-over river and bare trees covered in a fresh sprinkling of snow

Winter can seem like a drag unless you layer up and get outdoors. Grab your skates, snowshoes, fat bikes and skis (cross-country or downhill); stuff them in your car; and take a road trip to one of these sporty winter wonderlands.

A piece of Ontario’s cottage country

Mom, dad and child skate along an iced pathway wearing bright warm winter wear in tree-lined Ontario cottage country 

Starting in Bracebridge, hit the Muskoka Off-Road Cycling Association (MORCA) fat-bike trails. Get rentals and trail details from LivOutside, or sign up for one of their packaged excursions, such as ice climbing.

About a half-hour up the highway is Arrowhead Provincial Park and its famous 1.3-kilometre skating trail. The park lights tiki torches during its Fire & Ice Nights for a magical glide through the woods, and there are some great snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, too. Warm up your toes in front of one of the outdoor fires or in a warming hut.

A small town in upstate New York

A cozy bar with interesting tiled floor, wooden bar and stools and warm lighting in Elicottville, New York 

About an hour south of Buffalo lies the charming town of Ellicottville and its cute shops, pretty inns and two ski resorts.

Not only does HoliMont offer 52 ski and snowboard runs, there’s a multi-use trail that is groomed for cross-country skiing, but can also be used to snowshoe, hike and fat bike. A few minutes away, Holiday Valley has 60 runs, as well as track-set cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails. There are lots of restaurants in town, but Ellicottville Brewing Company is one of the coziest places for your après.

Allegany State Park, about 20 minutes outside of town, is a haven for outdoorsy folks. Hop on to the Art Roscoe cross-country ski trails for 29 kilometres of groomed and 40 kilometres of backcountry trails.

The Laurentians in Quebec

Birds eye view of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec on a snowy winter day 

The slopes may lure you to Mont-Tremblant, about an hour and a half north of Montreal, but the whole region offers ample opportunities to play in the snow. En route to the ski hill, the mountain-bike trails of Le Chantecler in Ste-Adèle await fat bikers. Rent wheels and a special bike rack from Espresso Sports, which will also shuttle you to the trailhead.

Ski Chantecler has its own set of slopes, as well as skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more. After your outdoor adventure, soak those weary muscles at the Mont-Tremblant location of Scandinave Spa.

A quaint resort town in Vermont

Father and daughter horseshoeing in fresh winter snow in front of a ski lodge in Vermont 

Vermont gets a lot of snow every winter, so it makes sense to visit multiple resorts on a true winter road trip. Jay Peak gets the most snow in eastern North America, meaning there’s plenty of powder for whichever sport you choose. Bonus: the resort offers an indoor water park where you can try surfing.

About an hour south is Stowe, a picturesque resort town with a great winter culture. The first cross-country ski centre in the U.S. was at the Trapp Family Lodge, where you can also go backcountry skiing or snowshoeing, then sample an Austrian menu and beer at the on-site Bierhall. If you want a guided adventure, Umiak Outdoor Outfitters has a few packages with a twist, including a moonlight fondue snowshoe tour. Yum!

Ready to get out and enjoy the season?

Check out our list of gadgets that will make your winter even better.

If you’d like your outdoor experience to involve less action and more relaxation, get inspired by our roundup of amazing Canadian outdoor spas.

Image credit: iStock.com/NicolasMcComber; Muskoka Tourism; and courtesy of Ellicottville Brewing, Scandinave Spa and Trapp Family Lodge