January 19th 2021 Update:
The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority is continuing to monitor the latest COVID-19 developments and is taking precautions to keep our workplace safe for staff, visitors and partners across the watershed.
- The Ganaraska Forest remains open to all recreational uses with the exception of motorized-use, which is closed until May 1 2021.
- All visitors must obtain a day pass or membership to use the forest. Note that day passes must be purchased online and printed at home.
- Ganaraska Forest cross-country ski trails are open but are very icy under the layer of snow. Please use with caution. See trail map here. The Orange Trail and A, B & C loops were groomed on January 10th. When conditions change, updates will be posted here and the GRCA website. Note that rentals will not be available for the 20/21 season. When the ski trails are open, hikers, dog walkers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and snowshoers are not permitted on the ski trail system.
- Dogs must be kept on-leash on GRCA properties, including ALL sections of the Ganaraska Forest.
- Remember to practice social-distancing on the trails and in parking lots. A reminder that camping is not permitted on any GRCA properties.
- All GRCA buildings remain closed to the public, including the Ganaraska Forest Centre. Staff continue to operate through phone and email communications. Please see staff directory for a complete list of contact information.
Your patience, cooperation and support is appreciated during this time. Please continue to visit our website for updates. Stay safe.
If a quiet stroll in the forest to commune with nature is what you enjoy, the Ganaraska Forest has plenty to offer. Our walking trails are designed to appeal to all abilities of hikers and pass through a scenic landscape of rolling hills and mixed forest. A variety of wildlife can be seen while hiking in the forest including white tailed deer, wild turkey, birds of prey and songbirds. The central section of the forest offers several marked loops to choose from. Explore today!
If you're into Geocaching, this is the place to be! Lots of caches hidden in the Ganaraska Forest.
The Ganaraska Forest is an extremely popular destination for horseback riding. With over 11,000 acres of forest to explore it’s no wonder that both local residents and riders from across the province come to the Ganaraska Forest for their trail riding experience. A large parking area designated specifically for horse trailers is located just east of the Ganaraska Forest Centre on the 10th Line of the Municipality of Port Hope and provides direct access to the Central Forest trials. Horse trailers are not permitted to be unloaded at the Forest Centre. For complete rules and regulations, please see the Ganaraska Forest Equestrian Use FAQs - developed in partnership with the Ganaraska Forest Horse Club.
Grab your bike, load up with plenty of water, hit the trails in the Ganaraska Forest and be prepared for a few challenges. We offer hundreds of kilometres of twisting, turning, hill-climbing single track trails and logging roads. You will need a whole summer to explore the forest.
Check out the 2020 Cycling in Ontario Guide
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
If you’re looking for a great place to ski or snowshoe, look no further. Come and enjoy some of the most picturesque, groomed cross-country ski trails in Ontario. At the Ganaraska Forest Centre, you can get lost in the beauty of nature, while the clearly marked trail signs keep you right on track. The Forest Centre has over 35 kilometres of groomed and track-set cross-country ski and snowshoe trails for classic skiing. The trails meander through pine and hardwood forest, offering a challenge to skiers of varying ability levels.
Packed: Snowmobile driven over fresh snow to pack down, creating a base for the groomer to operate on once the trail surface has hardened.
Groomed: Snow groomed to a flat snow surface.
Track-Set: Ski grooves cut into flat groomed snow surface.
Hunters from across Ontario venture into the Ganaraska Forest throughout the year. Ganaraska Forest users should be aware that hunting is permitted in the West and East Forest areas as well as part of the Central Forest area. Forest maps indicate the no hunting zone within the Central Forest.
Wild turkeys, deer and game birds are among the more common pursuits. The shotgun season for deer generally runs during the first two weeks of November. The spring wild turkey season runs from late April until the end of May. These two seasons are the most popular times of year for hunting in the forest.
The discharge of firearms is prohibited except for the purpose of hunting. Construction of tree stands is prohibited.
Hunters must abide by all provincial hunting regulations including obtaining valid permits and licenses. All hunters must comply with the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and all applicable municipal laws. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Hunting Regulations Summary should be consulted for a complete listing of seasons and regulations that pertain to hunting.
The Ganaraska Forest boasts one of the most extensive networks of snowmobiling trails in southern Ontario. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobiling Clubs (OFSC) is responsible for grooming and maintaining all snowmobile trails. An OFSC permit is required for all snowmobiling within the forest, however a forest membership or day pass is not required. Snowmobiles may not be unloaded at the Ganaraska Forest Centre. Local trail information is also available through the Ganaraska Snowmobile Club or see the OFSC site for current trail conditions.
Off-Road Vehicle Riding
Take a ride and explore the many kilometres of trails and logging roads in the Ganaraska Forest. A number of parking areas located at popular entry points provide a variety of routes waiting to be explored. Be sure to pick up a copy of our detailed forest trail map and the Ganaraska Forest motorized-use FAQs brochure. (Note: Some portions of the forest restrict motorized use.)
ATV's and off-road motorcycles can provide hours of recreational enjoyment if the rules are followed and riders adhere to basic safety precautions. Visit the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders website for related information .