Best Local Walks For the Winter

Explore Your Backyard

Although it may be tempting to hibernate indoors for the winter binge-watching Netflix, there’s an endless amount of better options out there. The more you dwell on the cold weather, the longer this chilly season will feel like it’s dragging on.

The best thing you can do to keep your spirits up this time of year is to embrace winter and all of the beauty it brings with it. Getting out and keeping active will keep your body feeling great and your mind feeling positive.

dog park

We’re lucky to live in a city that makes getting off your butt and getting those legs moving easy!

So bundle up and checkout some of these nearby trails that are great for winter walks:

1. Ardagh Bluffs

The Bluffs are a popular wooded area in between Ardagh, Ferndale, Essa and Mapleton. There are a number of different access points you can find here.

There are trail markers in place to help you stay on track but it can still get a bit tricky for some people. The good news is many ways in, means many ways out. These trails are peaceful and usually not too busy.

2. Barrie Dog Off-Leash Recreation Area

This dog park is your furry friend’s slice of heaven. If you’ve got a pup that plays well with others and has energy to burn, you’ve got to bring them here.

Just behind the Barrie Molson Centre is a fenced in area where your dogs are free to run around off-leash. There’s also a small wooded section so you can enjoy a little stroll while your dog explores.

barrie walks

3. Bear Creek Eco Park

This is a nice option for someone looking for a nice view without having to trek too far into the woods. At the bottom of Ferndale Dr. just past Summerset Dr. is the Bear Creek Eco Park.

4. Barrie Waterfront

This one comes as no surprise, but it’s important to make sure our beloved waterfront doesn’t get overlooked during the winter.

You can enjoy beautiful views from anywhere along the waterfront but the path located in front of Hooters is particularly nice, open and a little less trafficked.

5. Fort Willow

About 10-15 minutes outside of Barrie is this unique spot where you can take a stroll and learn about some local history.

Fort Willow is a historical site traveled by Canada’s early explorers. It was long used as a trading route by First Nations people and then a critical supply depot during the War of 1812.

There’s lots of space to walk or snowshoe in this conservation area and signs along the way for anyone interested in learning about the history.

6. Lackies Bush

This is another wooded area easy to access and easy to leave when you’re ready. The trails are open and easy to navigate through. It’s located across from the Allandale Recreation Centre.

7. Arboretum Sunnidale Park

Sunnidale is a beautiful place to explore all year round. You can enjoy peaceful walks in the garden area or trek through the trails in the woods. This is a popular spot for families and dogs.

If you’re bringing the kids, don’t forget your tobaggans! There’s a hill nearby perfect for some bonus fun.

8. Springwater Provincial Park

Springwater is great place to go to if you’re looking for a change in scenery. It’s located just outside of Barrie in Midhurst and includes over 12 km of hiking trails.

Image courtesy of nikkijdow via Instagram.

9. Friday Harbour

This trail is a 4.7 kilometer moderately trafficked loop located near Innisfil, Ontario. The trail takes you through a forested area and can be enjoyed on feet or snowshoes. You can find a map of this trail here.

10. McCrae Lake

Although this location is the furthest option on our list, it is one of the best. McCrae Lake is a beautiful escape from the city located about 40 minutes north of Barrie.

The McCrae Lake Conservation Trail is a 5.6 km return hike. Keep in mind trails are a bit narrow throughout the forested area and you’ll definitely want sufficient footwear.

This trail is the place to go if you’re looking for a view. Crow’s Nest Lookout, situated on a 100-foot granite cliff, is a beautiful spot to stop for a bite and take it all in.

Image courtesy of shaunajames via Instagram.

11. Loree Forest

Add this trial to the to-do list on your next trip to Colllingwood. It’s about a 7.1 km loop that will bring you out to gorgeous views of Georgian Bay.

For info about how to access this The Loree Forest Loop, click here.

Loree Forest

Image courtesy of joelkopel via Instagram.

12. Tiffin Centre

This conservation centre, located just outside of Barrie, is a four-season destination for environmental recreation and education. During the winter season you can walk, snowshoe or cross country ski throughout 17 kilometres of trails that loop through wetlands, forests, open meadows and ancient lake beds.

Later in the season, visitors can visit the Tiffin Centre’s very own sugarbush for a special treat.

The Tiffin Centre is located at 8195 8th Line of Essa, Utopia and parking will cost $6.50.

Tiffin Centre

Image courtesy of merelymccool via Instagram.