Lack of good snow getting you down?
Located just north of Sudbury, Windy Lake Provincial Park has some of the best cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in the region, plus cozy yurts and cabins, making it a prime winter vacation destination.
Here are our top five reasons you need to check out Windy Lake:
1. Snowshoe on the edge of an ancient meteorite crater
Windy Lake sits on the northwest edge of the Sudbury Basin, a 1.8 billion-year old meteorite crater.
The edge of the crater (as wide as 60 km in places) forms a ring of hills around Sudbury and its neighbouring communities. The drive to Windy Lake from Sudbury passes through the edge of the crater, and is quite scenic.
Several kilometres of snowshoe trails wind through the park’s forest, with park roads and the shores of Windy Lake providing more snowshoeing opportunities.
The Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club has developed a 6 km snowshoe trail on their land that climbs to a lookout, providing expansive views of the lake.
2. Lots of snow
Sitting on the edge of a meteorite crater means that Windy Lake is high enough in elevation above Sudbury that it gets more snow and holds it longer through the winter and early spring.
Whether you prefer to ski, snowshoe, or fish, Windy Lake’s got the snowy wonderland you’ve been craving.
3. Pristine ski trails (and a chalet to warm up in)
The cross-country ski trails are expertly groomed and track-set by the Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club, which is based in the park.
The club grooms a kilometre of trail within the park where the trailside yurts are located, and owns adjacent lands with 15 km of trails that wind through rolling hills and Jack Pine forest.
The Chalet is the trailhead and parking area for the ski trails. It offers flush toilets, change rooms, a woodstove, and lunch tables and chairs. The Club also rents skis, boots, poles and snowshoes too.
On weekends, the Chalet is a hub of activity, with ski club members warming up, drinking hot chocolate, or eating lunch.
4. Ice fishing
In winter, Windy Lake freezes solid and becomes the perfect place to try some winter fishing. Windy Lake contains Lake Trout, Walleye and Northern Pike.
The park rents several ice fishing kits that can be towed out onto the ice. Park staff will help you pick a spot to drill your fishing holes.
The kit comes in a sled, containing a pop-up shelter or “ice hut,” an auger to drill holes to fish through, seats, fishing rods, and lures.
5. Cozy yurts and cabins after a day on the trails
The park has four heated trailside yurts located along the 1 km ski trail loop (which connects to the Club’s 15 km of trails).
Step out your door, into your skis, and off you go!
If you are a snowshoer, the trail runs behind the yurts and out into the park.
Because they are trailside, visitors ski or snowshoe from the parking lot to their yurt, towing their gear in park toboggans. Heated privies can be found near the yurts.
Two lakeside cabins are located down the hill on the shores of Windy Lake and are road-accessible. They have scenic views across Windy Lake itself, with the ski and snowshoe trails up the hill behind them.
The cabins are close to a snowmobile trail, part of the Cartier Moose Loop that connects with Sudbury’s 700 km of snowmobile trails. The cabins share a heated privy close by.
Both the yurts and cabins have a deck with a barbecue (complete with side burner), mini fridge, and microwave.