Looking for Winter in Utopia!- Tiffin Conservation Area

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!

IMG_5154 IMG_5155IMG_5157

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.

IMG_5158 IMG_5159 IMG_5160

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.

IMG_5164 IMG_5166 IMG_5173

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!

IMG_5191 IMG_5212 IMG_5214

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!

IMG_5215 IMG_5216 IMG_5217

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.

IMG_5220 IMG_5222 IMG_5223

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.

IMG_5223 IMG_5225 IMG_5229

The trail was fairly colourful for this time of year.  Some trees even had golden coloured leaves on them!

IMG_5232 IMG_5235 IMG_5237

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.

IMG_5239 IMG_5242 IMG_5243

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!

IMG_5254IMG_5287 IMG_5283

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.

IMG_5290 IMG_5295 IMG_5297

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!

IMG_5307 IMG_5314 (1) IMG_5315

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.

IMG_5319 IMG_5321 IMG_5351

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.

IMG_5450 IMG_5465IMG_5491

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!

IMG_5477 IMG_5490

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!

IMG_5512 IMG_5514 IMG_5521

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.

IMG_5526 IMG_5527 IMG_5529

Another bridge and a bit more trail and I had almost made it back to the parking lot.

IMG_5534 IMG_5538 IMG_5539

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.

Happy Snowshoeing!

Camper Christina



About the Author:


  1. Cathy LeBlanc (@cathylleblanc) February 2, 2016 at 10:31 am - Reply

    It wasn’t the Winter Wonderland that we experienced, but still very pretty. 🙂

    • camperchristina February 2, 2016 at 11:21 am - Reply

      So true Cathy! But better than the snow we don’t have in Niagara and I didn’t drive 644kms, only about half of that! haha! Thanks for checking out the post and for commenting! Hope you are having a great day! 🙂

  2. Alexis February 2, 2016 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    All you guys winter camping and hiking is amazing. I just can’t do it! But kudos to you all. The cold would turn me into a Popsicle in three steps…

    • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alexis! I didn’t think i could do it either but you’d be surprised with the right gear, you can do anything and it hasn’t been as cold as most people have experienced so I’ve been getting a good deal on it! 🙂 Thanks for checking out the post and for commenting! Hope you have a super duper day! 🙂

      • Alexis February 3, 2016 at 6:32 pm - Reply

        I’m cold even when everyone else is warm, because as you know – I’m from the tropics. Still readjusting, but maybe in a few years I’ll be well suited to the cold and able to take that on. Have a great day yourself! Always a pleasure to see what you’re up to. 🙂

  3. Major Stroupe February 3, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

    It looks like a pretty conservation area and a nice place to take a Sunday stroll in the snow. Good commentary on your exploration. With the lack of water it makes me wonder what the area will look like in spring and summer. Maybe you will revisit it then and compare. That would be interesting. Thanks for sharing your trip!

    • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for checking out my post and for the comments. I am very curious as well. They are having some special activities there family day weekend and the pictures did show people skating so I think I am going to check it out online at the very least to see the status of the water/ice then? If I find out anything further, I will definately update you. Have a great day and thanks again for your interest in my blog! 🙂 Happy Adventuring!

  4. kyrapaterson February 3, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I love the tadpole find!

    • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      awe! Thanks so much Kyra!!! 🙂 I thought it was so cool. I wish i could’ve gotten a pic that worked. Thanks for checking out my post! Hope all is good with you! 🙂

    • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      I haven’t seen anything pop up on your backcountry trip? Did you go yet, did I miss it or are you still working on it?

      • kyrapaterson February 3, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

        I leave tomorrow morning. 🙂 Look for multiple posts next week – trip report first, followed by the menu, snowshoe review, sled review, and who knows what else! It will not be nearly as cold as last year, but at least it will be below zero and snow is in the forecast!!

        • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

          Ohhh so exciting! I am super jealous! 🙂 But I go soon too so I am almost there. I am following your blog so i should get the notifications. Just been sooo crazy busy I couldnt remember when you were heading out and thought I might’ve missed the notifications. Have a fabulous time! 🙂

  5. kyrapaterson February 3, 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Thanks! I’m sure it will be awesome – how could Algonquin not be?! When are you leaving? I’ll watch for your posts.

    • camperchristina February 3, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Very true! Less thank 2 weeks now but the post will be a bit to go up as I’ve been busy adventuring otherwise and now have a nice little blog buffer built up again. Sigh, comfort zone.! Play safe! Talk to you soon! 🙂

  6. planetmetalhead February 6, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Shout out from Wisconsin, nice too see a fellow Winter camper/hiker making the best of things 🙂

    • camperchristina February 6, 2016 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the shout out and for stopping by! Sadly we don’t have much snow this year. How’s winter in Wisconsin ? Lots of snow ?

      • planetmetalhead February 7, 2016 at 1:06 am - Reply

        We have extra, you can have some of ours 🙂 Today was really nice .. in the 40s so maybe it wont be sticking around for long.

        • camperchristina February 7, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

          Thanks ! I will take it! Have a great day ! Hope to see you back again soon ! 😊

          • planetmetalhead February 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

            Thanks and enjoy the rest of your Winter!

  7. […] of upcoming posts, just a few things on the way, “Winter Hiking at Decew Falls” “Snowshoeing at Tiffin Centre Conservation Area” “Snowshoeing on the TCT in Barrie, Ontario” “My New Stove, prepping it for […]

Leave A Comment