Big thanks go to Kaydi for organizing a mid-week cross-country ski outing at Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton last week. The amount of time I can go between outdoor adventures is rapidly decreasing and grumpiness sets in if I don’t get outside in short order. I needed our two-hour ski and catch-up.
Conservation Halton maintains 16 kilometres of machine-groomed, cross-country ski trails at Hilton Falls. If you’re like me and don’t own the necessary equipment to glide along the trails, the Visitor Centre rents skis, poles, and boots for $25 for a full day or $18 for a half day. Rentals are available starting at 8:30am and skis have to be returned by 4:15pm. That didn’t work for me as Kaydi and I were only meeting in the parking lot at 4pm, so I rented waxless skis, poles, and boots from Mountain Equipment Co-op for $15.
The Red Oak, Beaver Dam, and Hilton Falls trails wind through mixed forest and are specifically groomed for cross-country skiing. All of the trails are open this time of year. We ran into folks snowshoe running, walking their dogs, and generally loving the winter life. The trails are fairly flat, making them a nice place to start if – again – you’re like me and don’t often get out skiing. If you’ve never been to Hilton Falls, start with the yellow-marked Hilton Falls trail and follow it back to the falls. I loved the neat ice formations.
Trails are open until 7pm and are unlit so if you’re going later in the day with your own equipment, bring a headlamp to be on the safe side. Also bring water, snacks, and layers. Cell service is strong in the area, if you need it.
The conservation area is close to the 401 and is an easy 45-minute drive from Toronto.
You can check trail conditions here before you head out or call the Visitor Centre at (905) 854-0262.
I plan to make it out for a couple more skis before the end of winter. As I’m getting more comfortable on skis I’d like to focus on my surroundings rather than just staying upright and smiling (although that is certainly an admirable goal too!). With today’s wind chills dipping into the -30s I can say wholeheartedly that I’m also looking forward to getting back in the warmer months to try out the trails for mountain biking.
So go! Get out there and enjoy winter at Hilton Falls.