There’s a whole world of adventure out there in Northeastern Ontario that’s yours to discover, if you just know where to look! Let this article be your guide when exploring the incredible all-season trails in North Bay.
From dynamic experiences like snow kiting to cycling alongside the lake with ice cream in hand, there is something for everyone in North Bay. Each season offers new experiences as well as plenty of reasons to keep returning to this Northeastern Ontario gem.
What is North Bay most known for each season? Take a trip to this historic town and decide for yourself, then let us know your favorite.
If you’ve been out and about exploring Northeastern Ontario, then there’s no doubt you’ve set your sights on the awesome four-season hikes in North Bay. We have too!
Northeastern Ontario is well-known for its extensive forests and the impressive Laurentian Escarpment, which is an impressive 450 miles (724 kilometers) long and carves out some pretty majestic vistas along the way. Whether you’re interested in the fall colors or surprise beaches in North Bay, there are a number of trails to tickle your fancy.
Spring for North Bay
Ah, springtime. A time when all things feel young . . . except perhaps North Bay, which has been around since 1884. Despite its age, North Bay is quite active. In spring, you’re going to hit some mucky trails as the thaw sets in, but watching the trees bud in the woods makes it all worth it. Monastery Tower Loop, the Cranberry Trail, and the Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area are some of the best trails in the spring. And it’s not just hikers who are out and about, either. Cyclists frequent these trails as well, often after a quick stop at Cycle Works or Wheelhouse to tune up their bikes or grab a last-minute snack.
One of the most beautiful and interesting things you can do in the area is take a day trip out to the Manitou Islands. You can do a variety of tours to suit your schedule, but the absolute best time of the day to get out on the lake and do a full tour is around sunset, if you can time it right. It’s a bit brisk to be out on the deck in the spring, but the views should keep your mind off the chill!
Did you know that there are cedar trees on the islands that are as big as some of the redwoods out in British Columbia? Be sure to snap a picture giving your favorite tree a big hug before you head back to North Bay for a hearty meal.
Summa’ That North Bay
You might be shocked to hear that North Bay sports some stellar beaches. No, seriously—the town boasts 43 beach access areas. The beaches on Lake Nipissing are excellent, particularly Marathon Beach right in the heart of North Bay, which is the ideal spot to land if you’re looking to frolic in the water, laze on the beach, or take a sunset stroll.
Summer in North Bay is a great time to go biking. There are obviously a ton of trails for mountain biking enthusiasts, but there is opportunity for any level of cyclist to enjoy the area. You can bike right along the lake and onto more frequented trails if that better suits your interests!
Falling for North Bay
Northeastern Ontario in the fall is one of the most amazing things you can experience. Born-and-raised Ontarians will agree that once the bugs of summer have disappeared, that magical week of late warm weather heading into Thanksgiving is not to be missed. The colors start to change at this time of year, making the three-and-a-half hour drive from Toronto totally worth it.
In fact, the fall colors are so famous in North Bay that the Muskoka area has their own web page devoted to weekly updates on how the trees are doing. Only in Ontario, eh?
Arguably you could walk out the front door and find a wonderful view. However, locals know that Duchesnay Falls is one of the best hikes out there. Not only do you get the wonderful forests you would by walking through the Laurier Woods Conservation Area, but you also get to enjoy a beautiful waterfall.
Winter Wonderland in North Bay
Sure, you could go south for winter, but that’s so average. Why not go north? North Bay, that is, where you can experience what winter is really like in Canada. The slushy streets of the big city will be a distant memory when you see the abundance of white that comes with remote snows. If you’re driving, you’ll need the right tires and to be confident in your ability to handle bad weather, otherwise you should plan your trip accordingly. Thankfully, the highways are well-maintained, and the weather networks update travelers on road conditions regularly, so you should have no issue reaching your winter wonderland!
If you’ve forgotten your winter gear, or want to try something different for this trip, Bigwood Sporting Goods is a great spot to get hooked up in North Bay.
North Bay offers snow biking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and almost any other snow-oriented activity you could want. There’s even a 300-foot (91-meter) vertical at local Laurentian Ski Hill! There are a surprising number of ski slopes along the escarpment, with the Hidden Valley sitting not too far from North Bay if you want to try a larger location.
Sorry, extreme alpiners, but Antoine Mountain is best known for having the longest run in Ontario at 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers) and a true vertical of only 630 feet (192 meters). What North Bay lacks in run length, it makes up for in excitement. Snow kiting is an action-packed winter activity that allows you to harness the power of the wind to propel yourself across a snow-covered lake. When conditions are right, Lake Nipissing transforms into the closest thing you’ll find to Whistler east of the Rocky Mountains.
There is something for everyone in the area, making North Bay the best all-season trail activity destination for an escape from the city.
North Bay is a place that’s made for getting out and about in all seasons. To find out more about this diverse destination and get planning ideas for your North Bay trip, read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide.