1867 Forest Lea Rd., Pembroke
Posted on February 3, 2023 / 419
Location : Eastern Ontario
Note : New Review
X-Ski km : 12
Skate km : 11
Snowshoe km : 3
Skill Level : Easy, Intermediate, Advanced
Terrain : small hills, wide paths, steep sections, gentle hills, flat sections
Facilities : parking, chalet, warming huts, toilets/outhouse, change rooms, lodging near, food close by, trailhead map, good trail signage, trails maintained, night skiing
Trail Fee : Yes

Length –  12 km

Cross Country track set   –  12 km
Skate Skiing groomed  –  11 km
Snowshoe trail – 3 km
Night skiing 1.5 km – NEW

Skill – All levels

Terrain – Flat sections, rolling hills, a few steep inclines

Hours – No set hours, night skiing 

Fee – Adult pass $10 donations SVP in cash box by map board

Trail Map – Map board, colour-coded tree markings

Facilities – Free parking, warming cabin & hut, outhouses, lessons, racing 

Highlights – Scenic, wilderness, quiet, daily grooming, night skiing

Phone – None

Website – PAXC ,     FB page

Current Conditions  

Similar Trails – Silver Spoon,  Opeongo Madawaska

Local Clubs –  Pembroke Area Cross Country Ski Club

Access – The trails are just 15 minutes west of downtown Pembroke. Turn left onto Forest Lea Road (Hwy 42) if coming from Pembroke St. W. in the north end of town. 

Or from Hwy 17, head west onto Forest Lea Rd. Parking near 1867 Forest Lea, on the north side where the paved road narrows and turns to gravel.

No dogs on trails, please

Near Pembroke, just minutes west of town, there are 12 km of groomed loops that will delight and refresh those who venture into this land of trees, rock, and frozen lakes. Locals have been skiing on this crown land for years. 

The area is maintained and run by PAXC, the Pembroke Area Cross Country Ski Club, which grooms the trails daily.

PAXC (Forest Lea) ski trail design has successive loops that fan out from the main cabin. You can go out and return on a variety of distances from 2.5 km to 12 km.

Almost all the loops are two-way and good for both classic and skate skiers. There’s a new 1.5 km lit loop for night skiing (and to go further, you can use a headlamp). The log cabin at the trailhead is heated with a wood stove, so you can get geared up or have your lunch in comfort. 

There are several short loops closer to the cabin for beginners. Try the Blue trail (4.3 km return to the cabin loop), a mostly flat, fast trail. It intersects with the Green trail (2.7 km return) at which point you can climb the last steep hill to your right and back down to the cabin, or turn left for a longer (but easier) route along the light Green to home.

Consider adding the Yellow 1 km loop in, a narrower, level, classic-only track through tall pines that have a very serene feel, especially when the sun is shining through.

If you like faster roller coasters you will love the Orange loop (6 km return), with twists and turns aided by a gentle downhill and a warming hut on route. On the short Purple trail, after a quiet trek through narrow woods, you are met with a steep downhill, not for the faint of heart. 

The furthest trail, the White (9.8 km return) is quiet but challenging, a nice reward after a long climb to the top of the Red loop (8.5 km return).

For expert hill-seekers only, tackle the one-way Pink 1 km trail. If you are lucky you might even see some deer to cap it all off.

For snowshoes (and Fatbikes) there are two quick, separate loops from the main ski paths, a 1.5 km & 3 km to stomp on, or just bushwhack your way around. Follow the yellow markers to get back.

Now that you have worked up an appetite, head into Pembroke and enjoy the many restaurants in this historic logging town on the Ottawa River. A favourite is the Nook Creperie where you will enjoy a bit of Quebecoise joie de vivre. 

There are good accommodations in town at several major hotel chains or enjoy some old world charm at the Grey Gables Inn. Ski rentals are available nearby at GearHeads.

For more outdoor fun, go skating at the Laurentian Valley skate trail, a 1.5 km trail through the beautiful forest only minutes outside town.

Editor’s note – This review has been posted with the help of PAXC members. Thanks to Ted Monyto for describing the ski trails and Tammy McCarty for supplying photos. I have yet to get there (in the winter) to check out the trails.

If you have been to PAXC, post your own comments below.

Opening Hours
  • Monday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Tuesday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Wednesday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Thursday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Friday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Saturday :No set hours, night skiing 
  • Sunday :No set hours, night skiing 
PAXC ski trails map

PAXC ski trails map

Total Score 2 REVIEWS
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