Here is another enjoyable destination for those of us living within reach of Hearst, Ontario. With 20 km of Nordic tracks for both classic and skate skiing and another 20 km of paths for snowshoeing, you can lose yourself and your worries.
Trails head north or south from the chalet on the newly renamed Lagoon Rd. Both ski tracks and forest snowshoe trails follow close to each other, yet most of the time have separate paths. Trail segments are short, the longest being about 6 km, giving you an option to return another way.
The Hearst Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Club has been offering outdoor fun on the trails for 50 years. A dedicated group of volunteers manage and maintain these loops with a large grooming machine on standby ready to tame the abundance of snow.
Hearst temperatures range colder than most locations in the province, and locals have adapted by having three warming cabins on the routes. The main one is always warm and the other two have wood stoves to stoke.
When it dips below -20 C, many opt to snowshoe. It’s a more comfortable sport on colder days, as you sweat less doing it.
Much of the terrain is flat, with tall evergreens reaching for the sky. A few areas open up to frozen marsh/creek crossings. A hill near the Refuge cabin is a popular spot for the kids to toboggan down.
Up in northern Ontario where the snows blow, the winters can be longer, starting mid-December well into some fine spring skiing in April.
At 200 km NW from Timmins, Hearst is within reach. Beyond, you will need to plan for a road trip and stay over. From Toronto, it’s a 10-hour drive which would be best done as a week touring other northern Nordic loops too.
Make your way there one winter to take in some crisp, clean air and a tranquil trek of the northern bush. As a sign posted on the trails declares, “And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”
After your outing, you can find a warm bowl of soup and a place to lodge in Hearst.
Note: I have yet to visit this location and am posting these details to inform you and not as a full review. The club has supplied me with some information and images. I invite you to check them out and then leave your own review below when you ski there.