The skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park should be one of your bucket list travel plans this winter. There is really nothing like skating through the forest, and on special Fire and Ice nights at the park, you can skate under the stars, with the trail lit by torches.
The 1.3 km ice trail is a loop through part of Arrowhead Park, which is a short drive from Huntsville, Ontario. The trail is open daily, weather permitting, starting on January 4 this year, and then offers a few evenings for torchlit skating on select nights.
Before you start skating, there’s a space to lace up, warm up by the fire, or just take a break, and it’s really wonderful just to sit for a few minutes.
Once you’re out on the ice, the trail is wide enough that you can go at your own pace, stop for a break, and enjoy the forest as you breeze through the woods.
Because it can get windy, and quite cold, you should dress in layers, with warm hats, gloves or mitts, and possibly long underwear, for the coldest days.
You can also tube, cross-country ski, and snowshoe at the park, and there’s a Pro-Shop in the Visitor Centre where you can rent equipment, including skis, skates, and snowshoes.
ARROWHEAD SKATING DETAILS
To get into the park, a daily vehicle pass will cost you $21 with tax, or you can get in with an Ontario Parks annual pass. Skate rentals are $15 for up to 3 hours, which is more than enough time to skate, sit by the fire, and enjoy the trail. Or you can bring your own skates of course.
For kids, the park doesn’t offer helmets, so you will need to bring your own, and there are bathrooms available.
For 2022, booking your day pass ahead of time is the best plan since Arrowhead skating can be quite busy.
Before you head out to the park, if you haven’t booked a day pass in advance it’s wise to check the latest news from Arrowhead. Visit their Twitter account for the latest updates, where they will announce closures, especially due to weather, and if the park reaches capacity.
Generally, weekends can get very busy at the park, so if you want to enjoy your time there, you may want to plan to visit during the week, especially for Fire and Ice nights.
Weather permitting, skating is open at the park from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the ice trail closed for maintenance from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Fire and Ice skating nights are every Friday and Saturday night beginning in late January, and they book up fast, so it’s wise to book a day pass in advance to be sure there is space.
Watch my video below to get a peek at what it’s like to skate the trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park, and get all the details on planning your visit on the Ontario Parks blog.
WHERE TO STAY
There are a number of options for hotels in and around Huntsville, and you can also book winter cabins at Arrowhead, but I highly recommend planning a two- or three-day trip, just to enjoy the area, experience what can be a real winter wonderland, and make the most of your adventure.
Huntsville has a number of hotels and places to stay, including Best Western Plus Muskoka Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and Deerhurst Resort, but it’s also not a long drive from Gravenhurst, and there is a lot to do in that area. My favourite hotel there is the Residence Inn by Marriott Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf, which includes free breakfast, a fireplace in your room, and the hotel is also pet-friendly.
While you’re in Gravenhurst, I also highly recommend a stop at Sawdust City Brewing Company, where they have a large number of beer on tap, and you can buy cans and bottles from their store as well. February 14 to 17 you can also enjoy the Gravenhurst Winter Carnival.
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