10 Best Off-Road Winter Driving Trails in Canada

When you have custom off-road equipment installed on your 4x4, you want to put it to the test. You’re in luck, as Canada has plenty of off-road driving trails for you to enjoy, many of which are also plenty of fun in the winter. Many of the trails are worth visiting in the winter and then again when it warms up, so you can experience two different environments on your adventures. If you aren’t sure which Canadian trail to hit with your truck and off-road 4x4 equipment, choose one from this list.

#1 Bow Lake Trail in Alberta

For adventures in Alberta, head to Banff National Park, specifically Bow Lake. After installing your essential off-road equipment, you may find yourself pausing along the route to admire the Dolomite Pass, Cirque Peak, Mount Thompson, Bow Peak, Bow Glacier, Crowfoot Glacier and Mountain, and more. Grab the trail at The Saunders Road then follow it for about 10 kilometres until you reach Bow Lake. Beware of washed-out boulders along the entire road and drive cautiously over the old bridge at the beginning of the trail.

#2 Cheam Peak in Bridal Veil Falls Park, British Columbia

This is a popular trail for those with off-road rescue equipment on their 4x4s, as well as for snowshoeing and hiking. As such, be mindful that you will need to share the trail with others as you enjoy your adventure. The route covers 8.4 kilometres and includes a river. You can even use your 4×4 along part of the off-road trail then hike for a bit if you want. This trail definitely requires good clearance, and the route up to the start of it will be a great warmup. This trail is best left to experienced off-roaders, as there are numerous dips that seem more like craters at times. Feel free to bring your dog, but if you pause to admire the natural beauty and leave your 4×4, keep them on a leash.

#3 Ray’s Place in ontario

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Offering the most popular off-roading location in Ontario, Ray’s Place is a great place to go off the beaten path during the winter months. Ray’s even lists “winter wheeling” on its website, along with some helpful tips for those hitting snow-covered trails for the first time. This way, you can enjoy the 14 kilometres of trails, all of which are professionally built, no matter the weather. Conveniently, the property even has more than 40 campsites spread throughout, so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot to spend the night after a day on the trails. 

#4 Gros Morne in Newfoundland

Getting your 4×4 and mountain off-road equipment to Newfoundland Island may be an adventure in itself, but once you get there, you will be ready for even more excitement. There is a fairly unknown off-roading trail that is best for those with some experience already, as there are some challenges along the trail that may be a bit too much for newbies. You will find plenty of wildlife, and if you happen to choose a week of winter with minimal snow, you may also spot some impressive geological formations. With over 20 marked trails, you will find plenty of paths to take through this natural beauty. Just be careful and stick to the trails that are rated for off-road vehicles, as not all of them are.

#5 Narrow Hills Provincial Park in Saskatchewan

This park covers 53,000 hectares of land and includes numerous trails for ATVs and 4x4s, as well as plenty for hiking. This park is a rarity in that it lets off-roaders enjoy many of the trails. You just have to be careful of mountain bikers and hikers. If you return in the summer, consider bringing your boat to use on one of its three lakes. Obviously, it won’t be very helpful in the winter. In addition to off-roading opportunities, the park also welcomes off-season camping, so you have somewhere to stay the night, assuming you bring your tent along.

#6 North Copper Logging Road in British Columbia

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If you are already in British Columbia, consider the 43-mile-long North Copper Logging Road. Save this road for after you have installed all your off-road vehicle equipment, as it includes plenty of tough terrain that will put your 4×4 to the test, including steep hills, rocks, and large drops. As you drive, you will pass through numerous frozen creeks and views of snow-covered mountains. You may even want to take a detour and head to the Zymontez mine, but make sure you have appropriate off-roading aftermarket parts on your 4×4 before doing so, as there are loose rocks and large boulders. You will likely want an SxS or a quad when driving on the mining road. Keep your eyes peeled for washouts, as well.

#7 North Star Trail in Manitoba

North Star Trail is open year-round, letting you enjoy it regardless of the season. Keep in mind that this is a multiuse trail, so you should be on the lookout for and respectful of hikers, snowshoers, and other adventurers. In nice weather, the trail will take you around two hours to travel its 25 kilometres, but this could be longer in harsh winter months.

#8 Orofino Trails in Alberta and British Columbia

Expert off-roaders who want a challenge should consider the Orofino Trails. These trails are partly in Alberta and partly in British Columbia but completely in the Canadian Rockies. They go around the Orofino mountain, creating a network of trails that you can follow in a range of combinations depending on how much of an adventure you want and how long of a trip you prefer. As you drive, you will pass Madden, Ripley, and Sawmill Lakes and the Orofino mining areas.

#9 Prairie Valley in British Columbia

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Head to British Columbia and go close to Summerland, where you will find this trail network. It is very popular for off-roaders with a range of conditions. During the warmer months, you could probably handle the trail even with a stock vehicle, but it would still be wise to have some 4×4 off-road recovery equipment. That is especially true if you get too close to the swampy portions during a particularly warm winter. You will definitely want a locker when tackling some of the steep hill climbs. As you drive, you will find yourself wanting to stop to enjoy the beautiful snow-covered view.

#10 Thetford Mines, Quebec

Thetford Mines is one of the most popular destinations in the area for off-roading, so expect to see a crowd. The good news for winter adventurers is that the summers are more popular thanks to their temperate weather, rocky hills, and scenic views. With the right Overland off-road equipment, your 4×4 should be able to handle it in the winter, but you should still check the forecast, as this region has very heavy snowfalls. One of the best things about this area is the numerous circuits and trails, letting you drive as much as 435 kilometres if you want. Along the way, you will have gorgeous views of frozen landscapes, including some frozen ice you will wonder if you dare to drive over.

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