If you think Canada's national parks are showstoppers in the summer, you should see them in the snow
Snuggle up to polar bears
Wapusk National Park, Manitoba
Moose, wolves and caribou are all found in Wapusk National Park, but the polar bears get most of the ooh and ahhs. Book a tour, climb aboard a fat-tired tundra vehicle and go nose to snout with a mother bear wrestling her cubs.
Tip: Best time to see polar bears is mid-October to mid-December.
Info: pc.gc.ca; tundrabuggy.com; watchee.com. [LM]
Strap on your board, and fly
Elk Island National Park, Alberta
Grab the reins for kite boarding (or ski boarding) on Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park. It has all the rush of the downhill version, only you control the speed. Go from double diamond to the bunny hill in an instant. Plus, no waits for the ski lift. You can even tow the kids behind you on a toboggan.
Tip: Elk Island is also a Dark Sky Preserve, making it a great place to stargaze and see the Aurora Borealis.
Info: pc.gc.ca. [LM]
Dance on frozen water
Jasper National Park, Alberta
Nature puts on her ice show at the bottom of narrow Maligne Canyon every winter. Descend 50 metres where you’ll explore natural sculptures, waves, swirls, secret ice caves and waterfalls stretching like frozen claws over the canyon walls. Book a tour, strap on your steel grippers, and you’re off!
Tip: Strap-on a headlamp and try the romantic moonlight tour.
Info: pc.gc.ca; jasperadventurecentre.com; overlandertrekking.com. [LM]
Float the white stuff
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
Who says snowshoeing is all about trees, trees and more trees? Head to the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve where you can follow the Bruce Trail to caves, potholes, icefalls and lookouts. There are untracked trails along the shores of Lake Huron or Georgian Bay. No snowshoes? No problem. Rentals are available year-round from Thorncrest Outfitters.
Tip: Do a little mushing on a round-the-Bruce dogsledding tour.
Info: pc.gc.ca; thebrucepeninsula.com; explorethebruce.com; thorncrestoutfitters.com. [SL]
Dream under the dome
Forillion National Park, Québec
I love cross-country skiing except for the climbing back into my cold car part. Now you don’t have to. Book a traditional round yurt and or a prospector's tent and watch the sunset from your cloth cottage, surrounded by sea at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Imagine a cosy wood stove, hardwood floor and comfy beds. There's no roughing it here.
Tip: In addition to more than 40 kilometres of cross-country trails, the park offers dogsledding and snowshoeing.
Info: pc.gc.ca. [LM]
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission. The text has been modified from the original.
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