This vast swath of beautiful countryside stretches along the north shore of Lake Ontario and the south shores of Rice Lake and the Trent River. Given its location along Hwy. 401 and roads north from there, it provides fantastic access to get in to explore the many gifts it has to share. From its pretty towns to its picturesque views from its hills, you will fall in love and want to stay forever. Here are 17 things to do outdoors during winter in Northumberland County.
**Some activities like ski hills and farms are not available during Ontario Lockdown.**
1. Skate beachside with the stars
Cobourg’s beach is famous for its expansive space to enjoy the great outdoors. You can get a taste of it at the Rotary Harbourfront Outdoor Skating Rink. It is a picture-perfect venue for skaters of any talent level. You can find it at Albert and Second streets.
2. Take a Heritage Walking Tour of Port Hope
Explore downtown Port Hope, and discover historic homes and buildings in Ontario. According to TVO, Walton Street is the Best Preserved Main Street in the province. Check out landmarks and wonderfully restored buildings using this map.
3. Slide away your winter blues
Get out your toboggan and find your thrill on Lions Hill, just off of Strachan Street in Port Hope. You can park at the Lions Recreation Centre, by entering at 29 Thomas St. Get ready for a face full of snow on days with fresh powder. This hill is suited for all ages.
4. Pedal up Lookout Mountain
If you wish to get your wheels out on a trail, then get ready to go fat biking on the Woodland Trails at County Road 45 and Dunbar Road. The signs are clear along all seven trails, including the one up to the lookout. Your heart will be pumping by the time you arrive at the top!
5. Fish on the ice of Rice Lake
The rich habitat of this large lake means it is rife with multiple types of fish within reach of your line. Golden Beach Resort has ice fishing packages, which include ice hut rental and ice fishing guides, but you can arrange to fish at other spots as well. The license-free weekend falls on Feb. 13-15 this year.
Address: 7100 Northumberland Country Road 18, Roseneath
6. Explore the Drumlin Trail overlooking dramatic waterfalls
Ferris Provincial Park would be a great way to spend a winter day as you hike its 10 kilometres of trails and admire the frozen wonder of the Ranney Falls. In future seasons, you’ll want to return to this park south of Campbellford to cross the 91-metre swing bridge that takes you from one side of the Ranney gorge to the other. The town has its own delights to explore. (We recommend Dooher’s Bakery on the main street. Its goods are also for sale at Sharpe’s Food Market.)
7. Ski on The Brim
Brimacombe has been named The Best in the Snow Business by the Canadian Ski Council and its fans second that vote! You can whiz along 23 trails in the daylight and 11 at night (once it reopens after COVID restrictions lift). It has lessons for beginners and adaptive programs for people with disabilities, so everyone can enjoy a day on the slopes.
Address: 4098 Regional Road 9, Orono (Orono is in Durham Region, but the ski hill is only 10 minutes from Cambellcroft)
8. Take selfies with the giant Toonie
As a tribute to local artist Brent Townsend who created the design for this uniquely Canadian currency, the Town of Campbellford erected a 20-foot replica of the coin. Rarely a day goes by without proud Canadians posing with the landmark in Old Mill Park.
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9. Relax in the woodlands at the spa
One of Canada’s premier spas, St. Anne’s Spa near Grafton has grounds with more than 400 acres of gardens, fields and woodlands to explore. In addition to the indoor services and rooms, a stroll through the grounds makes a perfect winter adventure.
10. Hit the trails, alone or with a tail-wagging friend
Northumberland County Forest Trails welcomes hikers, skiers, horseback riders, and leashed dogs along seven trails of various lengths and heights. The forest offers seven core loops ranging in length from 1.6 to 13.3 km. The trails wind through the snow-covered forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine. There is no admission to use the trails. You can find them at County Road 45 and Beagle Club Road.
11. Visit the Haute Goat Farm
This 200-acre farm offers goat yoga, the Haute Goat Shmurgle and the Alpaca Shuffle, just outside of Port Hope. You can hang out with Nigerian dwarf goats, alpacas, chicken and horses while outside in the fresh air. The shuffle costs $69/person or $249 for a family of four while snuggling a baby goat costs $59 to $100.
1166 5th Line, Newtonville
12. Road trip to the Big Apple
If you’ve seen the giant red apple from Hwy. 401, it’s time to stop in and see what all the fuss is about. It’s a great place to refuel after being out on the trails all day. Bringing home one of its delicious pies will certainly lead to a hearty welcome.
262 Orchard Road, Colborne
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13. Get your motor running on the trails
Northumberland County boasts delightfully long, well-groomed trails that stretch from the Ganaraska Forest to the Trent-Severn Waterway. For further information about the trails contact one of these four partners:
- Ontario Federation of Snowmobile District 3
- The Ganaraska Snowmobile Club (905) 983-5099
- The Great Pine Ridge Snowmobiling Association (905) 352-2213
- Rice Lake Snow Duffers (705) 295-7669
14. Sweet Caroline rink
Port Hope offers an outdoor rink at 32 Caroline St. It operates from sunrise to 10 pm daily, when public skating is permitted under provincial health guidelines. Check for updates to see when it is available.
15. 11,000 acres to explore
The Ganaraska Forest Centre offers snowshoe signed trails where winter nature is far more untouched than ski trails. Discover its treasures north of Port Hope on Hwy. 28, including 35 km of ski trails, both groomed and track-set, that wind through pine and hardwood forest.
16. See ice cliffs and ice volcanoes
Presqui’ile Provincial Park is closed to camping in the winter, but open to many other adventures. You can test your knowledge of wildlife through its Winter Wildlife Detective program. Drive or hike in to see ice formations that will take your breath away. It has six trails, ranging in duration from 15 minutes to three hours. Enjoy!
17. Walk Downtown Coburg
If you enjoy art and history, explore downtown Cobourg. Be sure to make a stop at the beautiful and stately Victoria Hall located in the center of town on the south side. Built in the 1850’s and opened by the Prince of Wales, it is considered to be one of Ontario’s great treasures. It now houses the Art Gallery of Northumberland, the Grand Concert Hall and the James Cockburn room.
Still craving some more history? Then be sure to take the short walk to 141 Orr Street and the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, an historic old building where you will discover a lot about Cobourg’s history, including the importance of their early railroads – there’s an outdoor operating model railway on site. Nearby, back on King Street, is the Marie Dressler house, birthplace of the 1930’s Academy Award winning actress.