While cold temperatures and snowy weather may keep most people indoors, all that inside time certainly takes a toll. But no matter how cold it is, there’s a way to enjoy nature, kick your case of cabin fever and get moving. One picturesque outdoor activity you might want to try is called forest skating.
Not limited to the rink, forest skating involves gliding along ice-covered trails that wind through the woods or across frozen lakes. It’s fun for the whole family, so it’s no surprise forest skating has grown more popular in recent years.
Naturally, the cold weather activity is already a hit in Canada. Trails across the country range from winding to wide open. Once the rivers and lakes freeze over, people bring the skates out.
Forest skating is certainly a way to get back to nature. Unlike a traditional rink, there are no walls or rails to hold onto, so it will test your balance. Some trail centers recommend helmets and other have walkers for support.
If Instagram snaps are any indication, two of the most beautiful forest skating areas are in Canada. Quebec’s “Domaine De La Forêt Perdue,” also known as the Frozen Trails, features over nine miles of outdoor trails in the Mauricie region.
Additionally, the Ice Skating Trail in Arrowhead Provincial Park is located in Ontario and winds its way through the Muskoka forest. Here’s a look at what it’s like skating the Arrowhead trail:
Both areas are set up for day and night skating, according to Country Living. At night, the paths light up, setting the scene for romance.
Other ice skating trails in Quebec include Village Vacances Valcartier, Chalet des Sports in Shannon and Park du Grand Heron in Ville de Sainte-Catherine de-la-Jacques Cartier. Clearly, our next winter vacation needs to be in Canada!
Skating in the U.S.
Fortunately, there are forest skating opportunities in the U.S. too. For example, Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vt., features a four-and-a-half mile ice skating trail around a lake. Lake Morey looks like a lovely way to burn off a few extra holiday calories:
There are also more manicured frozen trails at the Skating Ribbon in Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park, an O-shaped outdoor skating rink (not in the forest, but with a pretty view!), and an 800 foot refrigerated trail at Maple Grove in Minneapolis.
Similarly, when the Rideau Canal freezes in Ottawa, people can skate throughout the city on its five-mile-long path. Still, that’s nothing compared to the 21-mile trail on Lake Windermere in British Columbia. Called the Invermere Whiteway, when the lake freezes over, it features tracks for skate-skiing, classic cross-country skiing and skating. It also boasts a stunning view of the Canadian Rockies — hence the “panorama” of Panorama Mountain Village.
We had no idea there were so many places to go trail skating throughout the U.S. and Canada. But forest skating trails are only open as long as the weather holds out. This may be the year you wish for six more weeks of winter just so you can give it a shot.