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Tara Nolan
Travel like a local.
Insider takes on the best of the city – by Tara Nolan

While we continue to keep each other safe this winter, there are still lots of ways to enjoy the healing power of the great outdoors.

Hamilton makes it easy with its natural built-in outdoor playground formed around the Niagara Escarpment, endless trails, waterfronts and conservation areas.

Here are some of our favourite outdoor winter adventures to get you started.

For a full guide of ways to enjoy the city outdoors this season, visit the City of Hamilton's guide to winter activities.

1. Float Through Fresh Powder in Showshoes

There’s nothing better than that feeling of being the first on a trail after — or during — a fresh snowfall. Snowshoes get you out walking in the woods without it feeling like a slog when the snow is especially deep.

Head down to Cootes Paradise and along the Waterfront Trail (before it’s cleared) or choose to explore a section of the Bruce Trail which winds its way throughout the city.

If you don't have your own pair, snowshoe rentals are available at Adventure Attic in downtown Dundas throughout the winter.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, wait for a new snowfall and head out at night. Bring a headlamp, but it’s likely the snow will be bright enough to light the way!

2. Glide Through the Woods on Cross-Country Skis

Christie Lake Conservation Area is a great place to bring your cross-country skis for a little trail action. Routes are multi-use and self-set. After working up an appetite, you can hit The Tiny Shop Bakery directly across the street from the gates for some well-earned, freshly baked goodies to take home (they’ve got a variety of sweet and savoury pies to choose from).

Nearby Valens Lake Conservation Area offers 10 kilometres of cross-country trails and, if you’re REALLY into winter, they offer winter camping.

The Dundas Valley Rail Trail is another great place to cross-country ski because it just keeps going and going. Technically you can glide all the way to nearby Paris!

3. Climb a Frozen Waterfall

Yes, you read that right. Once Tiffany Falls in Ancaster freezes over, members of the Alpine Club of Canada and those taking a course with the adventure company OneAxe Pursuits are allowed to scale it.

It’s Hamilton’s own Game of Thrones and it’s as awesome as it sounds.

Also, feel free to enjoy Hamilton's many wintry waterfalls from the ground with help from our Waterfalls Guide.

4. Practice Your Figure Eights at an Outdoor Rink

For a unique outdoor skating experience, head to Pier 8 and glide your way across a waterfront rink overlooking Hamilton’s historic harbor. Warm up with hot drinks and snacks from Williams Coffee Pub.

Beautiful Dundas Driving Park is home to another popular outdoor rink, maintained by a Zamboni for optimal surface conditions. An onsite concession stand will help fuel you.

For many more ice skating rinks across the city and information about required reservations, visit the City of Hamilton's Winter in Hamilton guide.

5. Hike Your Heart Out

If a winter, snowy hike is what you’re after — there’s no better place than Hamilton to hit the trails. Thanks to the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) that cuts through the city, we’re blessed with endless forested trails to choose from.

Check out our year-round guide to Hamilton’s Hottest Hiking Trails and choose from easy to reach trails and even walks past frozen waterfalls!

Traveling with smaller hikers? Then, visit our guide to for where to go for kid-approved outdoor fun.

Tara Nolan

Tara Nolan is a Dundas-based freelance writer with a passion for exploring the outdoors. Tara loves to write about mountain biking, gardening and other active pursuits for a variety of print and online publications. Follow her on Twitter @thattaranolan and Instagram @tara_e. Her blog The Outdoor Explorer reveals Hamilton's stunning outdoor spaces, from nature trails and waterfalls to conservation areas, farms and gardens. Whether you want to walk, hike, bike or paddle, discover where to seek out your next outdoor adventure - all minutes from the city's core.