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Winter is an incredibly rewarding time to visit Ontario's Provincial Parks.

A visit during the winter, however, does require some additional planning on your part. Here are some tips for a safe winter camping experience.

Plan ahead

  • Check our winter page to make sure your favourite park is winter-ready.
  • Check weather and ice conditions before your visit.
  • Plan on being back to your vehicle or campsite an hour before sunset.
  • Explore with a friend and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Know your limits and stay within them. If you’re just learning to ski or snowshoe, start with the shorter trails and tackle the more difficult routes as you gain confidence.

Bring the right equipment

  • Dress warm and wear layers so you can adjust your temperature accordingly.
  • Bring an emergency pack including: dry warm clothing, first aid kit, flashlight, matches, water and high energy food.
  • Bring a device for communication. Find out whether there is cell phone coverage or if you’ll need to bring a satellite phone.

Stay safe near ice

  • Avoid travelling on ice whenever you can. Ice conditions can be extremely variable, and underwater springs or currents can cause dangerous conditions even in the winter.
  • Read our ice fishing safety blog before you head out.

Eat right

  • You’ll be burning up calories snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, so it’s important to bring hearty food you can reheat quickly.
  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated. If you are low on water you can melt snow over your stove or fire and pour it into your (reusable) water bottle. Snow should be fresh and should be boiled for 5 minutes prior to consumption.

Winter Camping

  • Camping in winter is more challenging than in the summer, so it’s best to go with one or more people who are experienced. Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
  • Arrive with plenty of time to get set up while it’s still light.
  • You’ll need a four-season tent, a sleeping bag (rated to at least -15°C), a mattress or pad (remember: this is what protects you from the frozen ground), and a cook stove at a minimum.