Monora Park, just outside of Orangeville, has 16 km of groomed trails for Nordic skiing. This network of loops is neatly tucked within a small area, offering good times and exercise for most seasoned skiers.
I recently returned to the Mono trails to update this page and was reminded of how lovely a place it was and how it has gotten even better. A friend and I skied most of the loops, and we found the going enjoyable, with varied terrain and scenery.
As you leave the chalet area, the 4 km Orange path is the easiest way for beginners. It goes through the low wetlands of Monora Creek and back around on the other side.
If you go the other way, over the pond dam onto the Red trails, it gets harder. Here, it starts to climb and twist, with successive short hills on your way to a number of inner loops, all good fun and a bit of a challenge for most skiers.
There is a sense of seclusion among the dark, dense cedar and hemlock groves, giving a unique feel to this ski experience.
The 2 km Purple trail leads you to an old gravel pit. As the sky opens up, the winds may be strong on the ridge as you glance over to the next valley. The return is a fast, wide ski freeway down and around. It’s groomed for skate skiing, as are the Red trails, so there’s a total of 7 km for skate skiers.
My favourite loop is the 2 km Blue trail, another hilly one among the hardwood trees. The club has a fire pit along the way, which would be a perfect spot to have a snack.
The Mono Nordic Ski Club does an excellent job of grooming these trails. Signage to get around has improved with only a few questionable intersections/shortcuts. There are still too many, too often. The last time I was here, I was concerned about some trail bends and inclines for new skiers, but those sketchy spots have been smoothed out nicely since then.
The 2 km Red A trail is lit for night skiing and looks to be one of the best loops I have seen.
There’s no snowshoeing yet, but a chat with the club president revealed that there are plans to cut a route very soon.
The club offers rentals on weekends at a very reasonable rate. The large pavilion chalet has space to eat your own lunch and to change, but no food to buy. (In 2022, it’s closed due to Covid.) With downtown Orangeville minutes away, you are sure to find a meal on your way home.
A great destination and close enough for many in the GTA (…and I would join the club if I lived closer.)
For more of a rustic outing, the ski and snowshoeing at Island Lake Conservation Area is just down the road.