One must include Gatineau Park on this map as it claims to be the largest network of cross-country ski trails in North America. It has around 200 km of trail to suit everyone from the beginner to athletes training for the Olympics. A must go for all, at some point.
Though geographically it is across the river in Quebec, I have to add this, as everyone from Ottawa goes here. The hilly terrain, variety of long trails and scenic beauty in the Gatineau Hills is the draw. (The Ottawa Valley side is rather flat.)
A large, well-maintained area with groomed trails and ski patrols. There are plenty of websites to check on current snow conditions, as it is known for periods of icy or stupid cold weather. (-20C).
The main 125 km of wide trails are typically access summer roads that are shared as classic set track and skate skiing in the winter. I find them too wide, too flat and opt for secondary loops groomed tighter in wooded hiking type paths, for the more experienced skiers.
And there is still get even more hiking trail for the backcountry skier. Here you will find tracks cut by other skiers to follow or you make your own. (I like doing that.)
As a beginner, make sure you pick the runs easy enough for you to manage, short and not too hilly. Also, never underestimate how long (time) a loop will take. This is a big place and I once had to bolt for hours to make it back to the club ski bus. (which left me behind; that’s another story…lol)
One of the largest Loppets (race) is held here in February, which draws many young and old.
For Snowshoeing, there about 60 km of hilly track to stomp through. Of these 7 trails, 28 km are shared with Fatbike riders. Most of these loops are groomed and patrolled. And being a hilly area, you know there is going to be some good verticals and long loops, so pick your spots wisely.
A wonderful area for all that not only has variety and offers challenges, but a longer season with plenty of snow too. Thus an Ontario hub for avid winter sport enthusiasts (that’s you) and serious Nordic training teams.