Magic Adventures in the Dark | Words Cara Williams | Photos Scenic Caves

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are becoming increasingly popular, both because of the health benefits, and because of the quick learning curve; almost anybody can strap on a pair of snowshoes and walk. While Nordic skiing may take a little more practice to perfect, it is exponentially easier than learning how to downhill ski. And you don’t have to choose: after a good day on the slopes try a guided night snowshoe adventure or self-guided nighttime Nordic skiing under the light of the moon (and your headlamp) at Scenic Caves. It’s magical.

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is Southern Georgian Bay’s go-to stop for Nordic winter activities, with 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails and 27 kilometers of professionally groomed beginner and intermediate cross country ski trails for both skate and classic styles. The impressive trail system winds through a stunning 200-year-old forest flourishing with wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot winter owls perched among the 100-foot tall maple, beech and oak trees. And if wildlife spotting is not enough to get your heart going, try traversing 420 feet over Southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge. This spectacular winter playground at the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment is set in one of Canada’s sixteen UNESCO biosphere reserves. The unique geographic location of Scenic Caves Nature Adventures provides an excellent elevation for snow conditions and consistent temperatures.

Each year trails are enhanced and expanded to provide a premium winter recreational experience. Classic skiers enjoy warming up on “Easy Peezy”, which is exactly that. All other trails are groomed for skate skiing. “Lookout Point” “Logan’s Run” and “Rock Face” boast spectacular views day and night. Skiers rave about the gentle rolling terrain of “Northwest Passage” which follows the scenic tree line and opens out to vast rolling expanses. “Murphy’s Run” is a rush with fun, fast and winding downhill challenges.

When the winter sun begins to set and the moon starts to rise, challenge yourself with a nocturnal adventure. Under a canopy of stars, the moonlight creates dramatic shadows as the snowy trail guides you along. Even at night there are a variety of animals and tracks to keep an eye out for – porcupines, deer, raccoons, rabbits and winter birds. On a clear night the climb up to “Lookout point” is well worth the effort with views of the glowing ski hills and the lights of Collingwood and beyond. Stride with rhythm beside shallow creeks, through open fields and descend down the Escarpment to the suspension footbridge to breathtaking unobstructed views of Georgian Bay. Of course no winter activity is complete without a steaming cup of hot chocolate, which is exactly what is waiting for you at the warming cabin after your workout.

Winter facilities and amenities include ski and snowshoe rentals, ski waxing hut, gift shop, and warming chalet and snack bar. |E|