It’s believed that cross-country skiing originated about 5,000 years ago in Scandinavia, as a way for people to travel cross-country, over snow, on skis. It eventually became a sport during the 18th century when the military organized skiing competitions. Today, cross country skiing is enjoyed by old and young alike. The low cost of entry to the sport, combined with the ease to learn how, keeps the sport popular among North Americans and Europeans alike.
Here is a list of some of the more popular spots in the area for cross country skiing.
Mill of Kintail Conservation Area: Located on the 8th Concession, off the Clayton Road, just outside of Almonte, the Mill of Kintail offers 154 acres of forest and bush and beautiful trails of varying lengths, totalling about 7 kilometres. The trails and grounds are open from dawn to dusk and a fee of $6 per car is charged. A ticket machine is available at the gate. Just purchase your ticket and leave it on your dash.Pakenham Ski Hill: Although better known for its downhill ski facility, Mount Pakenham also offers cross country ski trails as well as equipment rental. Mount Pakenham offers more than 15 km of scenic trails, and a day pass will cost you $12.00 plus tax. There is lots of free parking, and washrooms, equipment rental and a canteen are available on site. They have a Winter Outdoor Wonder (WOW) Trail map filled with fun facts about nature and Eastern Ontario wildlife, including an orienteering challenge designed for ages 8-14, including animal scat and track information, outdoor survival trivia and a beautiful walk in the woods. And on weekends, the day pass also gives you access to the Snowtubing hill – in case you have a little energy left at the end of the day.Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT): Formerly known as the CP Rail line, the OVRT runs for 296 kilometres from Smiths Falls to Mattawa. It’s available to motorized and non-motorized users alike, and it’s easy to access it from any place, including Carleton Place and Almonte. Currently there is no charge to use the trail, and it provides an interesting mix of trail through towns, and forest and fields alike.Goodwood Trail at Beckwith: The Goodwood Marsh Nature Trail was developed in 2012 as a community development initiative with the Beckwith Recreation Department and Beckwith Township Council, funded by the Infrastructure Stimulus Grand with both the Federal and Provincial Government. The trail boasts a variety of bird houses, donated by the Ashton United Church. Approximately 72 kilometres in length, it originates in Franktown and follows a winding path east ending at the Rideau River north of Manotick. There is a long stretch of wooded swamp with mixed woods, and motorized vehicles are not allowed on this trail.
There are only a few more weeks of winter left (honest) so if you had plans to get out and do some cross country skiing, don’t delay. Check out one of these local trails and have some fun!