This narrow strip of a county is anchored by Napanee in the southern tip, Kaladar at the midpoint and Denbigh to the north. It looks like an awkward puzzle piece, which makes it a fitting place for Puzzle Lake Provincial Park. Without any big-name communities, it is like disappearing off the map where you can enjoy its many lakes, trails, and other outdoor adventures. Here are 15+ fun activities to do outdoors to enjoy winter in Lennox & Addington County: Greater Napanee, Addington Highlands, Loyalist and Stone Mills.
1. Knock this rock off your bucket list
Mazinaw Rock looms over Mazinaw Lake, 100 metres above the water, giving an impressive view within Bon Echo Provincial Park. Not only does it produce a great echo – prompting the name of the park – it also has more than 260 Indigenous pictograms that speak to the history of the so-called “painted rock.” You can find it via one of the many hiking, skiing or snowshoeing trails in the park, ranging in length from one to 17 kilometres. Other park services are closed in winter so plan accordingly.
Where: 16151 ON-41, Cloyne; 613-336-2228
2. Observe the Starry Ski
If you want to see the night sky as people did a century ago, head to Dark Sky Viewing, 37 kilometres north of Napanee. The clear views allow you to admire the stars without their lights competing with artificial lighting, at the furthest point south in Ontario where you can do this. Admission is free.
3. Solve the puzzle and win the view as your prize
Rugged and natural Puzzle Lake Provincial Park is rich in wildlife and is a treat for the person looking to escape into the wilderness for a day. At 9,000 acres, the park gives you a chance to explore igneous cliffs, rocky outcroppings, forests, water bodies and trails. Follow the hydro line to Norway Lake for an unforgettable view. Watch for fresh deer tracks along the way!
Where: 1-707 Norway Lake Road, Tamworth; 613-336-2228
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4. Traipse amid the pines
Lennox & Addington Forest Trail offers six options through more than 127 acres of unspoiled nature for hikers, skiers and snowshoers. Make time for the revamped Pines Loop that takes you over 10 kilometres of the landscape.
Where: 100 John St., Flinton
5. Hard Beverage Tour
Explore the alcohol delights created in the area with this self-guided tour of two breweries, two wineries and a cidery. This is best enjoyed on the weekend at this time of year since hours are restricted to those days only.
6. Ski the Cataraqui
The Cataraqui Trail stretches 103 kilometres from Strathcona, all the way east to Smiths Falls, with 17 kilometres in this county alone. Jump aboard at either end – Strathcona or Yarker – or at points in between. Hikers, skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers are all welcome on this trail through the Canadian Shield and rolling farmland. You pay $25 for a trail membership for the full year.
7. Go treasure hunting
Geocaching is hot here, even in the winter. The county has 1,500 geocaches hidden throughout its communities, so the hardest part is knowing where to begin! Some may be trickier to find in the snow but have fun trying.
8. Take your dog for a run
Camden Lake Provincial Wildlife Area welcomes dogs on its 65-acre expanse. It is also a popular spot for birds, with 180 species roosting there throughout the year. You can explore the Blue Heron or Cedar Point trails, which are short but welcoming.
Where: 269-601 Card Road, Moscow (north of Yarker)
9. Catch some fish and great scenery
Ice fishing here could pay off with lake trout, northern pike, walleye or other species in Hay Bay, Beaver Lake or the Skootamatta. Just drop your line then walk for elk, bears, raccoons or deer while you fish. If you are coming for a short stay, check out the packages at Longmuir’s Hidden Cove Cottage Resort.
10. These rocks rock!
For some of the most unique rock formations you’ll ever see, drop into the Deerock Lake Conservation Authority, which sits with the Elzevir Peatlands Conservation Reserve. The Elzevir Terrane is one of five lithotectonic terranes – essentially a chunk broken off a tectonic plate – in the Central Metasedimentary Belt. The reserve is one of the largest and most continuous peatlands in this part of the province. On top of all that geological history, it’s also a great place to ski, hike and snowshoe.
Where: 391 Deer Rock Lake Road, Flinton; 613-968-3434
11. Come have a hoot
The Owl Woods on Amherst Island is a hot spot for birders, particularly those interested in seeing owls. If you still want to add Northern Saw-whet, Long-eared, Barred, Great Horned, Boreal, Great Grey, Snowy or Northern Hawk owls to your life list, this is the place to do it. You may also see various types of hawks and waterfowl.
12. Gawk at a Hawk
The Cooper’s Hawk nests at Menzel Centennial Provincial Natural Reserve if that bird is also on your list of feathered creatures to see. You can keep an eye out for it while you hike, ski or snowshoe on 4.8 kilometres of trails around the 800-hectare property with its abundant wetlands and Mud Lake.
Where: Roblin Road (7.5 km west of County Road 41); 613-335-2814
13. Exhale on the trail
If you love snowmobiling, you will enjoy the 200-plus kilometres trails from Napanee to Arden; Perth Road Village to Amherstview; and north through the Addington Highlands. Get your permit from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobiling Clubs for $45 for a weekend or $270 for the full season.
14. A trek through history – natural and human
As you explore these more than 200 acres of forest, thank the deer for cutting the initial trails through the woods. Then consider the roles of the farmers who cleared them further. Next, stroll six kilometres out to the bluffs where cannons were poised to defend Amherst Islandduring the War of 1812. You can hike or visit the sugar shack via two kilometres of groomed trails.
Where: Topsy Farm Trails, 14776 Front Road, Amherst Island; 613-389-3444
15. Lookout at Parrott’s Bay
There are many reasons to visit Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area, including six kilometres of trails through the woods, wetlands and waterfront. Additionally, there is a lookout at the end of Trail 1 and a geocache hidden somewhere on the grounds! You’ll have to break your own trail as you trek through 117 hectares of pristine wilderness.
Where: 4976 Bath Road, Amherstview; 613-546-4228
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16. Hundred-year-old hemlocks
If you are wowed by majestic trees, bring a camera along to Rose Hill Nature Reserve to capture the memory of seeing rare, ancient hemlocks, a species that is quickly disappearing. You will find them along 3.5 kilometres of trails that are ideal for skiers, hikers or snowshoers.
Where: Rose Hill Road, Denbigh; 613-253-2722
17. Birding at Sand Beach
Sand Beach Wetlands Conservation Area has a wonderful viewing platform where you can look out at Lake Ontario or Long Point Marsh. From here, you can also see many species of birds that live in the woodlands and dunes on its 54 acres on Amherst Island, part of a Globally Significant Important Bird Area.
Where: 5945 Third Concession Road, Amherst Island; 613-386-7351
18. Stunning lookout from a huge boulder
Hiking or skiing around the Sheffield Conservation Area isn’t easy but once you conquer its steep slopes and granite outcroppings, you get a great reward. One of its lookouts offers a 360-degree view of the natural area while you stand atop a 100-meter wide, 1.4-billion-year-old chunk of rock churned up by a glacier. When you follow the blue trail, take the loop to the left since it’s an easier ascent along 4.5 kilometres.
Where: 8032 County Road 41, Erinsville; 613-354-3312
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19. Stroll along the waterfront
For a gentler outing, walk along the Springside Park Trail & Falls and Napanee River Boardwalk for a little under a kilometre. You can read about local history on posted plaques and admire the frosty waterfalls. There are benches available if you wish to stop and watch trains cross the trestle bridge.
Where: 8460 County Road 2, Napanee; 613-354-3351
20. Scrape then skate
With more than 100 lakes and rivers freezing solid, you can make your own magic by clearing a spot and going old school. Be careful to ensure the ice is safe (atleast 15 cm thick) before you begin your fun.