There’s more than one way to get around Northeastern Ontario in the winter! When the temperature drops, there’s still plenty of outdoor activities to do in and around Timmins, like cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and ice fishing.
One of the most popular winter activities here is snowmobiling, a great way to see the wintry wonderland of northeastern Ontario. With more than 270 miles (435 kilometers) of trails groomed for snowmobiling, it might take you a while to see it all, so be sure to stop by some of the city’s great restaurants and attractions along the way!
Read Before You Ride: Snowmobile Prep
Before hitting the trails, it’s important to read up on some of the rules and regulations for safe snowmobile use. A regular driver’s license is all you need to operate a snowmobile in Ontario, and a special snowmobile license can be obtained for those who don’t have one.
If you don’t have a machine of your own, snowmobiles can be purchased or rented at many outlets in the city, like Horwood Lake Lodge. Reserve ahead of schedule if you’re hoping to snag a snowmobile during the peak season in January and February.
Finally, remember that snowmobiles are technically off-road vehicles. They should be kept off highways and used on city roads only in cases of emergency. Timmins has been working to make the city more snowmobile-friendly in recent years, but we recommend checking which businesses are accessible before you head out. Thankfully, Timmins has so many trails for riding, there’s no shortage of areas to explore.
Hit the Road: The Best Timmins Snowmobile Trails
Once you’re ready to get out on the road, the only question is where to start! The 270 miles (435 kilometers) of trail can take you all around the Timmins area, from the Mountjoy region right around the city to Pearl Lake, and further beyond to the towns of Kirkland Lake and Cochrane.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club has plenty of resources to help you plan your trip. Their interactive trail map can help you choose which paths to take—and let you know which unmaintained roads to avoid—and can be downloaded right to your phone. The OFSC also offers snow tours of more than 35 routes throughout Ontario.
For the ultimate snowmobile adventure, we recommend the Gold Rush tour. Designed to give riders a tour of Northeastern Ontario’s mining history, many of the trails take riders past former gold mines, logging roads, and remote villages. At 440 miles (708 kilometers), this is a multi-day ride, or you can just choose to join the tour on one of several entry trails along the route.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even design your own trip. Travel south down the 25-mile-long (40 kilometer) shore of Kenogamissi Lake. Plan a route to a neighbouring city like Sudbury or North Bay, and make sure to choose a different route for the return trip. For more ideas of where to ride, The Intrepid Snowmobiler has outlined eight day-long routes complete with suggestions of where to stay for the night.
Refuel: Where to Eat and Sleep on the Trails
An afternoon out on the trails can really work up an appetite, but Timmins has plenty of restaurants and hotels where you can warm up and recharge. Some places in Timmins even have groomed trails that lead right up to the front door.
The Microtel Inn & Suites and East Side Mario’s are two local businesses that you can visit by snowmobile. Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa is also accessible by trail, and might just have everything you need with a restaurant, Nordic spa, and wilderness tours available.
With so many snow trails to explore, you can venture out for an hour or two or make a day of it. With the right preparation, you can even arrange an overnight trip with a stay at a local cottage or campsite. If you’re riding to the nearby town of Kirkland Lake, stop at the Federal Tavern for comfort food that will warm you up before you get back on the road.
Remember to step off the snowmobile, or at least hit the brakes long enough to take in some of Canada’s spectacular winter scenery. Northeastern Ontario is the land of 500 lakes, and it can truly feel like a winter wonderland. The Canadian Shield, an ancient rock formation, can still be visible in some spots during the winter, and you might also get a chance to see the famed Northern Lights.
Finally, remember to dress for the weather. January and February are prime snowmobile season, when temperatures average -2.3°F (-19.1 °C). So, pack an extra pair of socks for your trip to Northeastern Ontario!
Whether you’re exploring on foot or ski, by car or snowmobile, there’s so much to see in Timmins and beyond. For a glimpse of what this magical region has to offer, read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide.