I spent some time at Arrowhead Provincial Park snowshoeing a few sundays ago and I had waited months to do it. Now that I had, it seems I am addicted. And it wasn’t only the snowshoeing, but the winter wonderland I had done it in. The problem is, where I live, there is barely any snow, definitely not enough to go snowshoeing in and not even close to a winter wonderland. The only solution I could come up with, was to go north and look for winter!
Tiffin Conservation Area is in a town called Utopia, Ontario. Yes, true story! lol. It’s near Barrie and it takes about an hour and a half for me to get to Barrie, so I thought it was close enough to go for a few hours, but far enough to have enough snow to play in.
I left at 630am, a bit on the late side for one of my trips, but with the sun not rising until almost 8am, and a shorter drive, I got to sleep in! I drove into a gorgeous full moon followed by an amazing sunrise. Sadly the best I could do was snap a photo while quickly stopping at the side of the busy highway to get a sunrise shot through my back window. If it looks that good, imagine how amazing it would’ve looked over a calm body of water.
The park wasn’t actually open when I arrived and I was told by a friendly woman walking her dog, that it wasn’t open sundays, but I was welcome to enjoy the park. She said I could auto pay with my phone. I found the information on the sign above, went back into my car to pay the fee as it was too cold at the moment to stand outside not moving and then grabbed my backpack and headed over to check out the trailhead and take my trailhead selfie!
I was super excited. I was at a cool conservation area, basically alone, in the snow and snowshoeing. It was cold out but not too bad and even though it would’ve been nice to have a bit more snow, it was more than I’d come from, so I was grateful!
I’m pretty sure I missed the start of the snowshoe trail. I was on a trail, just not the specific one for snowshoeing, LOL, but I didn’t really care that much. I went through an area with some offices and buildings, the wood piles and a large open area. I had seen on the map that there was a pond here and skating in the winter. I had brought my skates just in case, but sadly the pond had next to no water in it. I took the trail around it to see where it would take me.
There was a beautiful gazebo near the end of the non-pond and then the trail went towards a forested area on the other side non-pond. I stepped in and started looking for signs of wildlife.
The trail was fairly colourful for this time of year. Some trees even had golden coloured leaves on them!
I came across a fallen tree that looked like it would be a great place for an animal to live, but sadly, no one was home. I continued on over a bridge that had no water under it, something that was becoming common in this park.
Every so often I would come across a Locator Map on the trail. It showed me where I was also with one of those “you are here’ arrows and I really liked that. It let me know I wasn’t lost and told me exactly where I was and when you are in a brand new park, all alone, that’s a good thing!
I had been hiking for over an hour now and came across this lovely bench. I took it as a sign to have a rest and got out my thermos of hot chocolate and had a snack with it, enjoying the total serenity of the area and hoping to see a deer, or well, pretty much any sign of wildlife instead of just their tracks in the snow…. but I wasn’t getting lucky today it seemed! It had warmed up a bit so I took off my super warm merino wool toque and replaced it with my cute new Stormy Kromer hat I’d gotten as a gift for Christmas.
When I got back on the trail I found my first actual snowshoe trail marker and was so happy I had found the trail I wanted to be on. I followed the little snowshoer throughout the rest of the park!
The tree above was incredibly cool. It had holes going all the way from the base up about 9 feet diagonally and around it. I took a look inside but again, no wildlife for me to see.
The second half of the trail had a lot of little bridges going over more non-water, it was definately a theme. I was starting to wonder if they drained the water from the conservation area for some reason in winter? It seemed very odd that almost everywhere there should’ve been water there was none.
Another map told me I was exactly where I should be, and this cool tree that had fallen across the trail was the perfect height for me to take a few timed selfies with!
The next bridge I came up to surprised me. There was actually some remnants of water under it and there was a bit more up ahead. The frozen puddle below had a tadpole swimming in it. I tried really hard but couldn’t seem to get a picture of it that was visible, but I knew it was there! Finally some wildlife! HAHAHA!
I was getting close to the end of the trail as beside it I could see a bit of the road through the trees and hear cars again. Sad, but true.
Another bridge and a bit more trail and I had almost made it back to the parking lot.
Very soon after that, I had made it back to the parking lot and my magical snowshoeing adventure was over…. for Tiffin at least.
It wasn’t quite the winter wonderland I was hoping for but I really enjoyed my time at Tiffin Conservation Area. The trails for the most part were labelled well and easy to follow. The park was full of beautiful features including really cool trees, quaint little bridges and surprisingly a bit of color on an otherwise dreary winter day.
I hope you enjoyed snowshoeing with me and you click the “follow my blog” button at the top, so you can easily check out more of my adventures! If you have any questions, comments or issues, plesae do not hesitate to ask or leave a message and I will do my best to get back to you asap.