Today’s post comes from Isabella Schives, Senior Park Employee at Rushing River Provincial Park.
Now that the seasons have changed and snow covers the ground, the natural beauty of this vibrant and popular summer park takes on an incredible transformation.
Icicles begin to hang from trees and buildings, fresh snow crunches under your feet, and the cold, crisp air provides a cooling sensation with every breath.
Each step takes you further away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you relax in the quiet and peace of winter at Rushing River Provincial Park.
1. Be one with nature
With plenty of wildlife in the area, keep your eyes open for animals that may be easier to spot in the snow-covered landscape.
You might see a squirrel running through the snow looking for food or a fox digging holes. On very rare occasions, you may even see a lynx on the other side of the lake blending in with the snow.
Countless species of non-migratory birds remain in the park throughout the year. Listen closely and you’ll hear the chirp of a black-capped chickadee or even the call of a Canada jay.
Look along the forest floor to find tracks of animals you may not see often, like an otter. Some prints may be easy to identify, but others will be difficult. Common tracks in the park are wolf, rabbit, squirrel, grouse, fox, deer, otter, dogs and of course humans.
We recommend a good pair of binoculars for those who want to take a closer look.
Turn this into a game with the family and guess which animal footprint belongs to whom! At the end of the walk, whoever has the most points can call themselves the “Animal Tracker of the Day.”
2. Cross-country skiing
For those who enjoy cross-country skiing, the park offers 18 km of groomed skate and classic ski trails to explore.
We offer a variety of difficulty levels (beginner to intermediate) and lengths (one to six kilometers). We recommend more experienced skiers try the 4.7 km “G” trail.
All trails are circular and follow park roads adjacent to Dogtooth Lake. There is also a single-track trail that winds through mature stands of Jack Pine.
For current trail conditions, be sure to check the Ontario Parks Snow Report.
Don’t forget to bring all the supplies you need for a day on the trails. Bring a hat, mittens and comfortable socks. Wear warm clothing in layers to allow your body to warm up or cool down as your activity level fluctuates.
Looking for a fun, low-impact workout? Try snowshoeing!
Although there are no designated snowshoe trails, visitors can experience the park’s hiking trails in a new way by strapping on some snowshoes.
Please note that the ski slopes are shared routes; Snowshoers are asked to stay to the side of groomed trails.
Always remember safety first. Tell someone when and where you will go, and what activity you will participate in. Avoid visiting the park alone. Know your limits to avoid pushing yourself too hard.
4. Take a winter walk in the park.
We understand that not everyone is a cross-country skier.
If that sounds familiar, just start with a winter walk in the park to revel in the beauty of winter. A perfect way to become more active this winter.
Since the park’s ski slopes are primarily groomed for cross-country skiers, we ask hikers not to use these slopes to avoid damaging the groomed trails and slopes.
Instead, walkers can enjoy a winter walk along the park’s circular entrance/exit path and to the boat launch and back.
There are signs posted in the park to help identify where No walk.
5. Enjoy a winter picnic
Ready to rest, recharge and warm up? Purchase firewood at the park office and enjoy a hot lunch along the rapids.
Winter Park office hours will be 8:00 am to 3:00 pm from mid-February onwards. Note: Office hours may vary from time to time.
Please take all your trash with you. After lunch, continue enjoying the park!
Reserve your permit online
Park visitors need a valid permit for day use, even in winter.
Can Buy your daily vehicle permit online up to five days in advance (or the day of your visit). We recommend that you apply for your permit online before heading to the park. (Do you have a seasonal permit? You can use it when booking online!)
Otherwise, you can scan one of the QR codes. in the park with your cell phone to pay on the spot. QR codes are located at the park office, picnic shelter, and parking lots.
Do you plan to visit more than once this winter?
Consider purchasing a seasonal permit from Ontario Parks!
Our 2022/23 Winter Day Use Vehicle Permit ($60 + HST) is valid through March 31, 2023.
An annual daily vehicle permit ($99 + HST) is another option if you plan to visit our parks year-round.
Seasonal permits will also be available for purchase at the Park Office during winter operating hours (8:00 am to 3:00 pm beginning in mid-February). Stop by to get your permit and purchase a hot drink or souvenir at the same time.
Make the most of winter and plan your visit to Rushing River today!
Rushing River Provincial Park is a 30-minute drive from Kenora via Highways 17 and 71. For more information about winter in Rushing River, call the park office at 807-548-4351.