Known for the scenic beauty of its spectacular gorge, Elora & Fergus offer visitors a truly unique way to embrace the deep freeze of Ontario’s winter. Adventurous types looking to get outdoors and make the most of the season before the warmer weather arrives can scale a wall of sheer ice on the face of the famous Elora gorge. For those looking to enjoy the incredible scenery of the gorge and the surrounding area with their feet on solid ground, Elora has a wealth of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The man-made ice wall is 20-metre high and more than 15 metres wide, and is open to experienced climbers and beginners, who can learn the ropes of ice climbing from experts with tour operator One Axe Pursuits.
One Axe Pursuits’ Elora location is one of the few places in Southern Ontario where ice climbing is permitted. One Axe, which operates rock climbing, caving and zip line programs for recreation, corporate team building and for the film industry, has exclusive rights to offer ice climbing at its location overlooking the gorge along Irvine Creek.
One Axe staff provide lessons on the basics of ice climbing – including how to use axes and crampons to dig into the ice for traction – before climbers tackle the ice wall. Two climbing blocks are offered daily – one for beginners and one for experienced climbers – throughout the winter.
WELLINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES TRAIL SYSTEM
“The museum is a great place for families to snowshoe because they can go for as long or as short of a hike as they want and we’ve also got public washrooms and a beautiful historic building where they can warm up after they’ve been out on the trails”
– Kyle Smith, Activity Programmer at the Wellington County Museum.
The Wellington County Museum and Archives, a National Historic Site located along the Grand River directly across from the gorge, has a network of trails on its 53-acre property. Visitors can rent snowshoes for $5 per day to explore the museum’s trails, including the 1.5-kilometre Aboyne Trail that offers stunning views along the edge of the gorge and passes historic features such as a lime kiln, water pump and wind mill. Another trail circles a historic cemetery that is the final resting place of more than 200 residents of the 1877 former poor house in which the museum is located.
The museum also has one of the best toboggan hills in the area and maintains an outdoor rink that is open for free skating.
Hikers and snowshoers using the museums trails can also connect to the Elora Cataract Trailway, a 47-kilometre network of trails linking the Grand and Credit watersheds.
Enjoy the beautiful winter views over the Elora Gorge while enjoying a luxurious getaway at the Elora Mill & Spa. Immerse yourself in the snowy landscape rooftop while staying warm in the outdoor infinity pool and hot tub.
Inner Joy Getaways offers a unique spot along the Grand River for visitors to set up shop for a weekend getaway to explore Elora in winter. The property, just a few minutes’ drive outside the village, features four shipping containers that have been repurposed and transformed into tastefully decorated self-catering suites. Each beautifully appointed suite features a private patio with a BBQ and hot tub – a perfect place to wind down on a winter escape.
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