Ontario Parks claims that the Leaf Lake Nordic ski loops are the finest in all of Ontario. Certainly I would agree that with 45 km of track and the stunning vistas they have my attention.
There are indeed spectacular lookouts worth seeking out. And since lookouts are on hills, there are plenty of monster ones here.
Experienced skiers come here to enjoy the scenic beauty, solitude and challenges that these remote trails offer.
So expect in your quest to gaze over the grand views of lakes and woodlands in Algonquin Park, many a hill to climb.
These are long gradual climbs up on wide forest access roads, then rewards of long flowing descents in between; some fast and tricky if icy.
As well, the six noted lookouts on the 13km Pinetree and 5 km Fraser loops actually are on the far west side. One needs first to put in another 8 – 10 km of hilly terrain to get to those loops and back to the car.
This requires plenty of effort that more experienced skiers would take on, a novice skier would likely bail.
Of the seven loops offered, many closer to the entrance are rated Easy and in a way they are easy to navigate just not effortless flat terrain to ski.
Trails are groomed and track set for classic cross-country skiing and most offer skate skiers room to do their thing.
The rugged backcountry 12 km David Thompson loop is not so tame. Inquire as to the status of the loop before you go in. (it’s closed for 2019)
This is a rustic, wilderness experience and as such there are just a few outhouses and three cabins with wood stoves on the trail to rest at – the Pinetree, Dee’s, & Thistle Cabin.
There are no patrols and you will see few skiers, as many of the paths favour one direction. Some because of steep downhills.
You need to be totally self-reliant and confident you can ski back. The town of Whitney further along past the park East Gatehouse on hwy 60 would have food and lodging.
I had the chance recently to make it up to the lookout on the Pinetree loop and it was a sunny beautiful panorama indeed, worth every ounce of sweat.