A skier in a yellow jacket heads down a corridor of trees

Top 6 Winter Activities in Kawarthas Northumberland

Here in Kawarthas Northumberland, the outdoor season doesn’t stop when the cold weather hits. The region abounds with exciting ways to make the most of winter, and so we’ve compiled a few of our greatest hits into one place. If you see something that sparks your interest, just check the forecast, bundle up, and head on out—there’s something for all tastes in the options below.

A visit to Kawartha Nordic belongs on every skier’s must-do list. This popular attraction offers 46 km of cross-country trails, 27 km of skate skiing trail, as well as options for night skiers and snowshoers. The main trails are mechanically groomed, giving skiers a chance to really hit their stride. If you prefer a more backcountry experience, however, numerous side trails wind through the surrounding woods. On both the main and side trails, you’ll be impressed how remote Kawartha Nordic feels despite being only 40 minutes north of Peterborough.

Kawartha Nordic is far from the only option, however. The Northumberland County Forest trails offer an extensive trail system reserved especially for skiiers, and completely free to use. Hit the Beagle Club Trailhead and choose from several different routes, the longest of which passes through 13.3 km of peaceful woodland.

Those are just two highlights—to see more options around Kawarthas Northumberland, see our dedicated skiing posts.

Skiers depart from a snow-covered cabin

Kawartha Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club Attracts Beginners and Pros Alike

When I first moved to Peterborough, I kept hearing about Kawartha Nordic Ski Club. On a snowy weekend I finally drove the forty minutes north with a few friends, none of whom had cross-country skied since childhood. We rented gear and hit the trails, choosing a gentle loop through the woods with a few manageable hills. The next week my wife and I were at Wild Rock Outfitters getting fitted for skis, poles, and boots.
Drone shot of a snowy forest with a small skier below

Top Cross-Country Skiing Destinations in Kawarthas Northumberland

Kawarthas Northumberland offers a tremendous variety of trails year round, with some hiking and biking routes transitioning perfectly to winter sports. A number of dedicated organizations offer rentals and lessons for beginning or occasional skiers so lack of gear won’t keep you from enjoying the season. Whether you’re interested in classic nordic trails or skate skiing, here are our top picks from the region.
Pair of crossed snowshoes

It bears repeating: Kawartha Nordic is a top destination not just for skiers, but for snowshoers as well. It offers 9 km of snowshoe-specific trail, and Northumberland County Forest is also a returning recommendation—just choose the Woodland Trailhead and you’re set. We’d also add Lindsay’s Ken Reid Conservation Area to this list, especially for anyone seeking gradual inclines rather than steep hills. It’s just one of many snowshoe-friendly areas in Kawartha Lakes.

The best answer to where to snowshoe, of course, is “anywhere the snow is deep enough,” but we’ve got plenty of ideas to get you started. See our snowshoeing posts for details.

A person bends to fix their traditional snowshoe

Where to Snowshoe in Kawarthas Northumberland

People who don’t like winter probably haven’t tried snowshoeing—there’s a quiet beauty to the woods on a snowy day that makes the season all worthwhile. If you’ve already got a pair of snowshoes, you’re ready to strike out for any one of Kawarthas Northumberland’s hiking and skiing trails. For those who want to give the … Read more
Three alpacas stare curiously at the camera

The harvest may be a few months away, but there’s still plenty to do on Kawarthas Northumberland farms in the wintertime. Haute Goat just outside Port Hope is a prime example. Many of Haute Goat’s agritourism experiences are available in the wintertime, including the ever-popular Schmurgle, which involves spending some quality time with the goats, and the Alpaca Knuffle Shuffle, which gives you an hour with some very gentle, curious alpacas. If that sounds too short, consider the Alpaca Sleepover.

Harley Farms outside Keene also does activities year-round, where you can learn about responsible animal husbandry on a family-operated farm. In Kawartha Lakes, Mariposa Woolen Mill is a great place to take a self-guided tour to understand the milling process—and bring home some local artisan goods in the bargain.

And that’s all before maple season kicks in! Read more about agritourism in Kawarthas Northumberland in the posts below.

A hand-painted sign reading "Tours Check-In," surrounded by gourds

Life on the Farm: Agritourism at Harley Farms

Harley Farms is built on strong fundamentals. The Keene-area farm produces high welfare beef, pork, and lamb, as well as eggs, chicken, and turkey. That means ensuring their animals are free from stress, hunger, and thirst, as well as free to exhibit natural behaviours such as foraging and roaming. On top of that foundation, they’ve added agritourism experiences to help show the public exactly what that means.
Sign reading STORE outside Red Mill Maple Syrup building

Sweet Spot: How Red Mill Maple Syrup Combines Tradition and Innovation

Check the shelves in a grocery store on either side of the country, and you’ll find plenty of foods that taste exactly the same as they do here in Ontario. So many experiences these days are standardized for consistency, it’s a real thrill to find something uniquely tied to a place and a community. That’s … Read more
View down a snowy trail at Ken Reid Conservation Area

Meet the Makers: Mariposa Woolen Mill & Farm Market

Mill & Farm Market Ellen Edney, and farm manager Karyn Boyd, giving a comprehensive answer takes a little extra time. “There’s the Mariposa Woolen Mill and the Farm Market, so we have two different kinds of things happening on the same property,” Edney says. “The farm market is more the retail side of things, offering the location for different artisanal products, foods, local produce, that kind of thing, as well as incorporating agritourism into the farm life here.” The retail business and suite of events offered by Mariposa year-round, however, are in addition to the day-to-day operation of the woolen mill. “We produce all-Canadian product made with Canadian wool, so we do everything from washing other people’s fibres for custom work, to finishing yarns, rovings, that kind of thing… Yeah, we have a lot going on.”

Fresh, Local, and Delicious: Kawarthas Northumberland Farmers’ Markets

Fall is here, and with it a bounty of fresh local food. If the harvest makes you think it’s time for a visit to your nearest farmers’ market, you’re in luck – Kawarthas Northumberland has offerings large and small throughout the region. Some have longer seasons than others, so you might just find your new … Read more
Two skaters silhouetted against the sun on a frozen lake

There are plenty of places to take part in this quintessentially Canadian pastime in Kawarthas Northumberland. Underneath Peterborough’s iconic lift lock is the perfect place to get some healthy exercise and photo op (just check to see if the green flag is up before you set out. If it’s not, Quaker Foods City Square offers a refrigerated alternative).

We’re also big fans of the Rotary Harbourfront Outdoor Skating Rink in Cobourg, Ontario Speed Skating Oval in Lakefield, and the Logie Park Skating Loop in Lindsay. Read more about those locations in our skating post.

Couple wearing toques drinking coffee outside

Unique Skating & Comfort Food Destinations in Kawarthas Northumberland

Been out skating yet this winter? Colder weather always gets us excited to strap on skates and make the most of the great skating conditions in Kawarthas Northumberland. Many of the options below will be open through to March if the weather holds, and with a mixture of rinks, trails, and speed skating loops on offer, there’s something here for everyone who’s eager to spend some time on the ice.
Family beside an ice fishing hold at OFAH Family Day

Once the lakes free over, huts on the ice are common sight in these parts. If you haven’t been introduced to ice fishing yet, the Family Fishing Weekend, which takes place over the Family Day Fishing Day weekend, is a great time to start. Once the sport has got you hooked, we recommend visiting Peterborough & the Kawarthas and Northumberland County‘s ice fishing pages for more details.

Our resident expert Chris Huskilson has also written an excellent primer on the subject over on our travel blog.

A brilliant orange sun on the horizon illuminates a row of ice fishing huts

Ice Fishing in Kawarthas Northumberland

The Kawarthas Northumberland region is an ice angler’s paradise! So many species! So little time it seems. The frozen lakes provide an exciting and affordable way to get into the sport of ice fishing.
A snowmobiler kicks up a fine haze of snow

For anyone looking to get out for a ride, Kawarthas Northumberland is crisscrossed with trails. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs maintains an interactive map, which is also available via their mobile app. For general info on visiting the region, Kawartha Lakes’ snowmobiling page is well worth a visit. Northumberland County offers a similar resource, as does Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Just choose the area of most interest to you, and you’ll be heading down the trail in no time.

Looking for even more winter content? Head to our main Winter Activities page

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A smiling woman with two children on either side, each holding a maple syrup sample
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A person looks out over a frozen creek
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