Frost Centre

20130 Hwy 35, Dorset
Posted on March 4, 2022 / 1584
Frost Centre
Listing Type : Cross Country Ski / Snowshoe
Location : Northern Ontario
Note : EPIC
X-Ski km : 27
Skate km : none
Snowshoe km : 11
Skill Level : Easy, Intermediate, Advanced
Terrain : small hills, narrow paths, steep sections, flat sections
Facilities : parking, warming huts, toilets/outhouse, lodging near, trailhead map, good trail signage, trails maintained, track set, gear rentals
Trail Fee : Yes

Length – 27 km

Cross Country track set   –  27 km
Skate Skiing groomed  –  none
Snowshoe trail –  11  km 

Skill – All levels, best for Intermediate 

Terrain – After the first hill, flat sections with rolling hills further in. The Marten trail is steep.

Hours – Daylight hours, office hours daily 10 – 3 pm in the winter 

Fee – Skiing for adults $14, youth $9; Snowshoeing is free; consider a donation.

Trail Map – Well signed on trails with map boards; paper map available

Facilities – Parking, park office, washrooms, rentals, snacks, two warming cabins

Highlights – Scenic, wilderness, rocky cliffs, frozen waterfalls, lookout

Phone – 705 766 9033

Website – Algonquin Highlands

Current Conditions

Similar Trails – Arrowhead,   Fen LakeSilent Lake

Local Clubs – Haliburton Highlands Nordic Trails Ski Club,   Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club


Access – 20130 Hwy 35, 12 km south of Dorset. Park for the skiing trailhead on the west side of the road.

For snowshoeing, and the park office, put your car on the east side of the highway by the lake. 

The Frost Centre south of Dorset has plenty of great trails to explore. With 27 km to ski and 11 km to snowshoe, the whole family can get out and play.

In Feb. 22′, my son and I skied the Nordic loops and my wife Teresa scouted out a few snowshoe trails (that’s her thing) on the other side of the road.

At the Frost Centre, trails are narrow with a classic cross-country ski trackset down the middle. There is no room for skate skiing. 

From the west side parking lot at the trailhead map board, we immediately had to do a brisk 10 metre climb over a hill. The effort to get over this might cause some (beginners) to grumble. Actually, I see it as a fast way to warm up.

Gently down the other side, the paths level out for an easy ski in the sunshine on the Fox, Bunny and Sawmill trails. As we rounded Sand Lake, we came upon the faded wooden buildings of the sawmill yard.

Our destination was Dan Lake, via the 4 km Bear loop. The route continued to surprise us with an interesting path to ski and sights to see. A few short hills took us to the warming cabin at the lake. I will assume it is adequate inside, with a woodstove, yet it was still closed due to Covid.

From here, skiers can venture further west on the 6.5 km Deer loop and the advanced 4.6 km Moose loop. (Which is closed this season, till dead trees are removed.) We did not have a chance to head in that far, as you do need a few hours to get back before dark.

We continued on the Bear, then the Beaver trail to return. This section had some of the most beautiful scenery I have come across skiing in Ontario. That’s a big claim, which was helped by newly fallen snow on the evergreens the day before. 

The route took us past boulders the size of cars, down into a ravine, past rock cliffs, some 30 m tall with frozen waterfalls. The largest has a path you can hike up with your ski poles to take a few pictures.

On top is the lookout from the short but steep Marten Trail. Perhaps another time, as it was overcast now and we had to get back to meet up with Teresa. 

Her experience snowshoeing on the other trails was equally favourable. She found the views of St. Nora Lake picturesque and the going on the hiking trails enjoyable. A few of the climbs she mentioned were steep. And the Frost website claims there are 27 km more of snowshoeing in the area.

I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the trek was. The trail design was not boring, the grooming was decent and the signage was exactly what is required. The only thing lacking was other skiers. The parking lot was empty. Why? 

Perhaps, for most, the reason is the distance – and the price of gas for a three-hour drive from Toronto? (I chose to stay in Huntsville for the weekend.) Or was it the unreliable grooming? When I got there on a Sunday at noon, the groomer was still setting a track. That is too late.

Regardless, I want to encourage you to drop by for good times in the great outdoors of the Algonquin Highlands.

Opening Hours
  • Monday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Tuesday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Wednesday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Thursday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Friday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Saturday :Dawn to Dusk
  • Sunday :Dawn to Dusk
Frost Centre ski trails map

Frost Centre ski trail map

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