With wide-open blue skies and sparkling snow as far as the eye can see, Orillia’s moniker as the ‘Sunshine City’ doesn’t just apply to the summer months. Winter days are known for fresh breezes and the sun’s rays glistening off snow-clad trails, frozen waterways and ski hills.
Whether it’s shopping and dining at more than 150 shops and 30-plus restaurants in the charming downtown core or playing in the great outdoors, winter in Orillia has something for everyone and is simply not to be missed.
If speed is what you like, there are approximately 275 km of groomed trails around the area thanks to the Orillia District Snowmobile Club and its amazing volunteers who carefully groom the trails. It’s just a small section of 32,000 km of interconnected trails throughout the Ontario network that includes access to converted rail line trails and privately owned properties that offer spectacular nature views.
“Some of the hillside views, forest trails, lakes, and frozen waterfalls over the rocks get quite stunning as you wind along trails with the exhilaration of zero to too fast in a heartbeat, just under your right thumb,” says an enthusiastic Rob Love of the Orillia District Snowmobile Club.
Looking to try snowmobiling? Yamaha Adventures, located at Horseshoe, offers SMART Adventure snowmobile lessons for kids and tours for adult beginners.
A number of Orillia hotels such as the Comfort Inn and Best Western Plus Mariposa have easy access to the trail network and offer special discounts for snowmobilers.
If vertical speed is your thing, the nearby hills at Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Horseshoe Resort are a great place to get your heart racing while you ski, snowboard or tube.
For those who enjoy a more leisurely experience in the snow that still gets the heart pumping in equally magnificent locales, there are thousands of acres of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities at Scout Valley, Simcoe County Forest trails and Hardwood Ski and Bike.
And, let’s not forget that Orillia is known for its lakes, but not just in the summer. Many anglers actually enjoy fishing the waters of Couchiching and Simcoe for perch and pike more so when they’re frozen over. Winter is the time of year where villages of ice huts can be seen only a short snowmobile distance or refreshing walk from shore. Don’t have a hut? No problem! A Breath of Fresh Air is located in Couchiching Beach Park and provides rental opportunities on Lake Couchiching at reasonable rates.
And after a day of snowy adventures, the restaurants and cafes downtown and around the city offer spectacular meals for eat-in or take-out at all price points, from burgers to gourmet.
Whether it’s heart-thumping exploits or leisurely strolls through the downtown core, Orillia is the place to be this winter.
Please follow all Covid-19 health and safety guidelines and refrain from travelling from outside of our region until it is considered safe to do so.
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