The holiday season is filled with family, friends, food and a whole lot of fun, but don’t let the holiday music and Christmas cake keep you inside. On fresh, crisp winter days, the best place to be outside exploring.
Lucky for us, Collingwood and the surrounding area has a whole lot to offer, so why not work off Christmas turkey by taking your loved ones out on a winter adventure. The Blue Mountains may be known for numerous ski resorts, but no need to fret if you are not an avid skier or snow boarder.
Here are just a few of the many magical outdoor activities you can do over the holiday break:
Blumination is in full swing at Blue Mountain Village, and it’s the perfect way to get outside and get into the holiday spirit. Take in the numerous colourful light displays as they dance to music, leading you along a one-kilometre trail through the Village. Earlier this fall, the second annual Blumination Trail won the Tourism Event of the Year Award, so grab a warm drink and good company and experience the spectacle for yourself.
Embark on a silent adventure through one of the area’s many picturesque snowshoe trails. Get lost deep in the snow-covered woods or make your way up to a viewpoint and experience extraordinary views of the Niagara Escarpment. Whether it’s your first time strapping on snowshoes or you’re a pro, there is an option for everyone. The best part is this sport is suitable for all ages, making it a great family-friendly activity.
Free Spirit Tours, Scenic Caves and Blue Mountain Resort all offer rentals and a variety of guided treks that suit any level.
If you’re looking to heighten your senses and get your adrenaline pumping, try the Scenic Caves Nordic Centre’s night snowshoe hike. Or, for the wine lovers in your family, Georgian Hills Vineyards offers guided snowshoe treks through the vineyard, where you can learn all about the region’s viticulture and cold climate wines.
Sharpen your stakes and get ready to get your heart racing. There is no better feeling than bundling up and gliding through the cold, crisp air. Race your loved ones down a winding ice trail or grab your hockey sticks for a little bit of pick up.
Collingwood Outdoor Rink is free for all and offers scheduled time slots for youth, kids, adults and families to get out and enjoy a public skate or various levels of shinny. See their schedule here.
For a different way to cruise around, check out Woodview Mountaintop Skating. The 1.1km trail winds around the top of the escarpment with spectacular views of Georgian Bay and beyond. Skating time slots are two hours and skate rentals are available.
There is nothing more peaceful than a sleigh ride through the woods. Sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic adventure at Valley Ridge that takes you through a snowy wooded path and up to the top of the mountain. You don’t have to do anything except curl up with a blanket and warm beverage and experience the beauty and calmness of the winter wonderland around you.
Just because a layer of snow has blanketed the trails doesn’t mean the hiking has to stop. Hiking in the winter is a whole new experience, and there are many routes for all levels that are open all year round. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get outside and get some fresh air with your family this winter.
We know Metcalfe Rock bodes some of the best caving in the province, but did you know you can experience the underground world in the winter as well?
For something a little more daring this winter break, sign up with a local tour company and trek to a network of caves 70 feet beneath the Niagara Escarpment. The network consists of a series of damp, dark and eerily majestic “rooms,” but to access each of them you have to crawl, climb, and squeeze yourself through the bottleneck that forms in between. Caves experience seasons differently than we do, so although it may be snowy and -10 °C in the woods, once you go below the surface there is something totally different in store.
And of course, you can’t forget to finish the day with a few runs down one of the many ski hills this area has to offer. Whether you’re an avid ski bunny or never strapped on a pair, it’s worth trying out one of the areas initial claims to fame. Enjoy good conversation and company on the chair lift up, and don’t forget to embellish in a little Aprés Ski after.