BY MEGAN HONAN | Updated January 2024
As the temperature dips colder and we welcome the winter season, there is plenty to keep busy outdoors in the Waterloo Region. In true Canadian fashion, celebrate the season of snow with activities ranging from downhill skiing, to backcountry snowshoeing, to skating in the downtown metropolis. For both the young and the old, Waterloo Region is the place to be this winter season. Discover our top eight favourite outdoor adventures to embrace the snowy months ahead:
Hit the Slopes at Chicopee Ski Hill
Drawing skiers and snowboarders from across Ontario, this ski resort is perfect for everyone––beginners and pros. Offering easy ski and board rental equipment, Chicopee makes for a fun day out with the whole family. If it’s your first time or you’re feeling a little rusty, there are lesson options available. After you’ve hit the slopes, cozy up back at the Silvertip Lounge for some après-ski drinks and a piping hot meal.
Grab Your Skates and Head to Waterloo Public Square
To experience the Uptown Waterloo core, grab your skates and head to the Waterloo Public Square! Offering the largest outdoor skating rink in the area, there is plenty of room to practice your spins and twirls on the ice. For a full day adventure, explore the plenty of shops and restaurants in the area to warm up and keep the winter festivities going.
Fly Down the Toboggan Hill at McLennan Park
Largely considered the best toboggan hill in the Waterloo region, McLennan Park is a former landfill turned outdoor adventure space. From toboggan hills, to hiking paths, to an off-leash dog park––there is truly something for everyone. Best of all, from the tip top of the hill, you’ll get unparalleled views over Waterloo, perfect for watching the sunset.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Chicopee Tube Park
If skiing isn’t your thing, head to the other side of the Chicopee hill to experience the fast-paced adrenaline of tubing. Fly down the hill at lightning fast speeds for a thrill of a lifetime. With six different chutes to choose from, you can go again and again––then hop on the magic carpet to whiz you right back up to the top.
Enjoy the Winter Scenery on Snowshoes at Laurel Creek
Tucked away in North Waterloo, this Grand River Conservation Authority trail makes for an ideal winter outing. On a snowy day, set out along the 4.5km maintained trail either by foot or snowshoes to take in the beauty of winter. Trek past the frozen creek as it winds alongside the trail, or keep eyes peeled for the colourful birds that call Laurel Creek home. Equipment rentals are available on-site, so you don’t need to worry about a thing!
Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing at Shade’s Mill Conservation Area
Experience the magic of winter at Shade’s Mill Conservation Area, the longest trail network of all Grand River Conservation Authority winter trails. With 10km of pristine paths to hike, or even cross country ski––it’s easy to make a day of it. For those who’ve always wanted to try their hand at ice fishing, the reservoir is the perfect spot with day huts available to keep you warm and toasty. If you want to venture further, both skiing and snowshoe rentals are sold.
Glide Across the Cross Country Ski Terrain at Pinehurst Lake
For a cross country terrain adventure, head to Pinehurst Lake in Cambridge. Click on your skis and glide along the groomed and tracked cross country ski trails, with the option to rent equipment on-site. If you’d rather stay on flat ground, there are plenty of options for winter hiking and wildlife spotting opportunities. Be sure to come back during the summer months to see the lake completely transformed into a beautiful beachfront swimming spot.
Megan Honan is a seasoned travel, food and lifestyle writer based in Waterloo Region. Megan currently holds bylines for Suitcase Magazine, NUVO, S/Magazine, Canadian Traveller, Days to Come, Swanky Retreats and more. She’s worked with some of the top travel companies across the globe to create content and help with overall brand strategy, including G Adventures and Cosmopolitan Hotels. To connect, please visit https://meganhonan.com.