Your Hastings County Winter Bucket List
When you think of Hastings County, you might think of paddling a pristine lake or sipping a craft beer on a smalltown patio. But as the locals and winter revelers will tell you, Hastings is just as good when the temperatures drop and everything is covered in a blanket of snow. Don’t believe us? Bundle up and check off these bucket list winter adventures.
Take a snowy hike
Pull on the snow pants and lace up the boots at places like Vanderwater Park, with its 16 kilometres of trails along the Moira River. There’s also Sager Conservation Area, with the highest lookout in the region, and O’Hara Mill, where you can get a history lesson with your walk. Two other solid winter hikes: the much-loved Eagles Nest Park near Bancroft and Callaghan’s Rapids near Marmora.
Drill a hole, drop a line
With 180 lakes and four major rivers, you have plenty of options for ice fishing in this angler’s mecca. If you’re new here, Limerick Lake Lodge and Stoco Lake Lodge are great places to start. Baptiste Lake is another hotspot, as is Moira Lake. Need supplies? Head to Chris’ Live Bait in Marmora and Fish & Co. in Madoc. If looking to rent an ice hut Finaddicts Outdoor Adventures offers packages that include, pre-drilled holes, heat, minnows, and more.
Cross-country ski in a winter wonderland
For those backcountry winter vibes, it’s got to be Pinecone Forest Nature Sanctuary. There are three trails here, and each of them can be accessed from the door of a cozy chalet you can stay in overnight but make sure to call in advance. Seasoned skiers should head for the advanced trail for a trip through old-growth forest and alongside ice shelves on Conroy Rapids.
Snowshoe into the past
The O’Hara Mill property near Madoc is known for having one of the most well-preserved 19th-century homesteads in Ontario. It’s also a conservation area with seven trails perfect for snowshoeing. Whichever route you choose, you’ll be taken through mature forests, across creeks and marshes, and past old stone fences. But don’t worry about getting lost here; all of the trails connect and bring you back to one of two trailheads and the homestead grounds.
Skate on an outdoor rink
It’s tough to get the true Hastings winter experience without feeling the cut of a blade on ice and the cold wind on your cheek. There are four official open-air rinks here. One, in Tyendinaga, was built on top of a horse ring and has a roof and boards. Another is in Coe Hill, and also has a roof and boards. The third is just south of Bancroft in L’Amable at the Dungannon Recreation Centre. The fourth outdoor rink is located at Station Park in the beautiful town of Stirling.
Hop on a snowmobile tour
One of the best ways to see the most of Hastings’ winter wildness is on a snowmobile. And the best way to make the most of your trip is on a guided tour of the trails near Algonquin Park with Ride the Wilderness. More of an independent sledder? Check out the Old Hastings Snow Riders Snowmobile Club and this Hastings Highland tour. Just remember to buy a permit, follow all trail rules, and be safe.
Pitch a tent
Winter camping might not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for that deep stillness that comes from sleeping in fresh, cold winter air, go to Silent Lake Provincial Park. It’s open all winter long, and there’s a winterized comfort station here with showers, drinking water, and a dishwashing station.
Tent camping is great, but you don’t have to sleep out in the cold to get that deep winter peace. Silent Lake Provincial Park has cabins and yurts with beds and stoves that you can reserve in the winter. And for an even more upscale glamping experience, take a look at the four cozy cabins at Lil Crow Cabin and Pods in Tyendinaga.
Cottage in style
Get even more warmth and luxury on your winter getaway at an Airbnb with a fireplace and hot tub. If you have a big group, this 39-acre property near Marmora is perfect. For cozier, more romantic vibes (and a sauna), hit this lakeside cottage near Gilmour. And if you’re looking for a rustic family getaway in the woods, this Jeffrey Lake cabin south of Bancroft is for you.
Already dreaming of summer? Check out our Hastings County Summer Bucket List.