7 Outdoor Skating Trails in Ontario

For many travelers to cottage country, the idea of skating on a frozen lake in the moonlight is high on their winter activity bucket list. However, the chance to do this depends on cottage owners preparing and grooming the ice consistently over the course of the winter, so unless perfect conditions occur it’s unlikely to find a naturally clear and frozen lake that’s not covered in a blanket of snow and uneven ice.

It’s rare to find ice like this – maybe once or twice in a lifetime – but fun to watch!

Don’t despair though because one of the many wonderful things about Cottage Country is that there are outdoor ice skating opportunities everywhere! Even if you’re not fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time for perfect outdoor skating conditions, there’s plenty of public locations to get your ice on.

1. Perth – Eastern Ontario

Perth Skate Trail
Perth Outfitters Outdoor Ice Trail and Shinny Rink

Located in the heart of Eastern Ontario, Perth Outfitters offers 400 meters of groomed ice skating trail through the woods, a shinny hockey rink and lantern skating on select evenings, there’s something for everyone in the family.

2. Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh

The first place in Ontario where you can experience a winery and ice skating! This Muskoka attraction offers a 1.2-kilometer trail around 12 acres of cranberries and a Bog Hockey Acre which is 2 frozen ponds of frozen cranberries turned into hockey rinks with boards and all!

3. Arrowhead Provincial Park

Arrowhead Skate Trail
Arrowhead Provincial Park Skate Trail

Arrowhead is a great winter activity destination.  With multiple cross-country ski & snowshoe trails, a tubing hill, and a 1.3-kilometer ice skating trail there’s a full day (or evening) of fun. When weather permits on select winter evenings tiki torches light the way on the Fire & Ice trail – an experience you don’t want to miss.

4. Discovery Harbour

Snow, skating & fireworks!

This kilometre-long loop circles the historic Discovery Harbour site and offers gorgeous views of Georgian Bay from the trail. Enjoy the magic of Ice & Fire nights complete with fireworks every Friday throughout the season at 7:30pm sharp!

5. Ontario Speed Skating Oval – Lakefield

Lakefield speed skating oval
Courtesy – Wikipedia

If you’ve ever watched speed skating at the Olympics you might have wondered if you could skate that gracefully with one hand behind your back, before powering down the home straight to the finish line. Now you can try it out on this one-of-a-kind outdoor oval in Lakefield. Built and operated by volunteers the oval offers public skating events, speed skate hire, and candlelit events.

6. Peterborough Lift Lock

Peterborough Lift Lock
Trent Severn Waterway – Peterborough

Once winter comes the waterway that leads up to the iconic Lift Lock in Peterborough is transformed from a boaters paradise to a skater’s mecca. The city checks the canal’s ice conditions daily, and posts a red flag if it’s unsafe, green if it’s good.

7,  McGregor Point Provincial Park

The 400 metre oval at McGregor Point, is part of a range of winter activities including snow shoe and cross country ski trails. Depending on weather (make sure you check in advance) the oval is lit up in the evenings for a unique after-dark experience.

Finally, almost every town in Ontario offers public skating at their arena and/or an outdoor rink. This information will be available on the community center’s website or social media page. Alternatively, we’re always happy to help you find a nearby rink to lace-up your skates when staying at any of our cottages throughout the winter months.

 


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