Canadian winters can be brutally cold with lots of blowing snow and frigid wind chill. While many head for warmer climates, I much prefer to stay close to home and enjoy the fluffy white stuff. Call me crazy, but winter’s my favourite season… hence why I was psyched when Grey County Tourism asked me to come and partake in some winter activities!
Grey County is an Ontario gem about two hours north of Toronto. Leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind and enter into this beautiful winter wonderland. With so much to offer, here’s my list of exhilarating excursions to get you excited about winter in Grey County!
Delve Into the Depths of the Niagara Escarpment with Free Spirit Tours
If you’re looking for a memorable winter adventure, winter caving is the place to start. Free Spirit Tours runs an amazing guided tour at Metcalfe Rock in the Kolapore Uplands. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before – I hadn’t either! Free Spirit Tours will teach you everything you need to know as one of their stellar guides (like Jim!) leads you underground into the crevices of the Niagara Escarpment.
The fissures you’ll be exploring were formed at the end of the ice age. In the winter, water sneaks through the crevices to create beautiful icicle formations. Also, if you’re worried about the rocks moving on you – stop right now. They haven’t budged in over 14,000 years, so there’s nothing to worry about! Just take a tumble down the rabbit hole and discover a whole new world. While this excursion is great for any skill set, a certain level of physical fitness is required.
Power Through Some Snowy Trails on a Fat Bike with Ride Guides
Cycling? In the winter? Yes it’s possible on a ‘Moose’ fat bike with Ride Guides! A perfect activity for the wandering souls, cycle enthusiasts and winter lovers, you’ll be taken on a winter adventure as you weave through the Grey County forest. Tim is a fantastic guide who will take you along the Bruce Trail’s Len Gertler Side Trail. If you’re looking for good workout that’s lots of fun, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Also, don’t be afraid to fall – it’ll happen at least once if not 9 times (true story).
Ride Guides has a variety of trail offers to choose from like their night tour and their brewhouse tour where you finish with a flight of beer! Depending on the weather I’d suggest wearing gear that’s breathable and a bit lighter as it gets pretty toasty pedalling. And for those of you wondering… no actual moose are harmed at any point during the tours.
Wander the Trails at Scenic Caves
Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails at Scenic Caves! Known for their treetop excursions and the Thunderbird Zipline, they have numerous adventures in the winter – making them a great destination year round! Scenic Caves offer approximately 10km of snowshoe trails of various skill levels, a few of which have fantastic lookout points. I highly suggest checking out the Lookout Trail (who would of guessed? I love lookouts!) as this will take you to the area close to where Ekarenniondi is! Despite how fantastic the million dollar view from the suspension bridge is, I think this is my favourite spot to look out over Georgian Bay!
If you’re thinking of venturing to Scenic Caves, I’d suggest coming a little bit before sunset. This way you can enjoy the colours as they dance across the sky… and then go for a snowshoe tour in the moonlight! I have yet to experience this for myself, but I can just imagine how breathtaking the sky would be as you can see so many stars!
Rip Through the Powder at Blue Mountain
While I’m not an avid skiier/snowboarder myself, Blue Mountain is a great spot to hit the hills in Southern Ontario. Celebrating 75 years, they offer over 40 trails for all skill sets. Many of our olympians have come from roots in Blue Mountain! With deals midweek as well as night skiing, there’s lots to do to keep you racing down the hills.
Or if you’re looking for something a little different, give their Ridge Runner a shot! This all-season coaster can be a nice tour through the terrain… or you can rip through and reach speeds of over 40km/hr! Either way, you’ll want to hold on to your toques ’cause it’s a wild ride!
Chase Waterfalls Across Grey County
Saved the best for last (no I’m not biased…), chasing waterfalls in Grey County!! As the temperature drops, my desire to hunt for these majestic beauties grows. Winter is hands down the best time of year to check out waterfalls. Why? They become these ephemeral works of art as icicles form around them. In some cases the water freezes quickly, building up to create gorgeous crystallized waves as they cascade down the rock face.
I highly suggest visiting Hoggs Falls in the Grey Highlands (close to Flesherton) and Inglis Falls in Owen Sound, but they’re all beautiful and worth a visit! Be sure to bring proper winter gear as the snow around these areas can be quite deep. It’s not uncommon to be up to your knees in the fluffy white stuff! Also, only 7 of their 10 waterfalls are accessible in the winter, so plan accordingly!
Now it’s time to plan an adventure! While all of these excursions are doable in a weekend, I suggest spreading it out. One for your body’s sake, and two – there’s no rush! Each time you come to Grey County, you’ll discover new beauty and hidden gems you missed before. I’m just scratching the surface of how much this amazing area has to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Break out the snow gear, get outside and #ColourItYourWay! Don’t forget to use my hashtag #IveBeenBitTravel on any Instagram photos so I can see your adventures!
A HUGE thank you to Grey County Tourism for inviting me up to enjoy a crazy weekend of snow, laughter, and sore muscles. The most of the activities listed were complimentary thanks to the generosity of Grey County and the aforementioned tour operators. All reviews and opinions are my own.