Windy Lake Provincial Park is located 40 minutes northwest of Sudbury, Ontario and is a Canadian gem you must visit. Established in 1959, it is open year-round and known for its beaches, as well as its unique winter accommodation and activities. Here are 6 fun and useful facts about Windy Lake Provincial Park to spark your interest and entice you to enjoy the outdoors.
6 Facts About Windy Lake Provincial Park
1. It was Made by a Meteor
Over 2 billion years ago a meteor roughly 15 km wide crashed into what is now Windy Lake Provincial Park. It left a crater around 15 km deep and 250 km wide. Talk about having a big impact! Due to the crash, it also left shatter cones up to 3 m high, which can be viewed at the AY Jackson Lookout in the summer or during the winter at Science North in Sudbury.
2. It’s Original Name is Place of the Bear Paw
The Anishinaabe, or Ojibwe, used Windy Lake for camping, hunting, fishing, and foraging for berries long before it was designated a provincial park. The Ojibwe named this area “Makoping”, which means “Place of the Bear Paw” and refers to the shape of the lake. Today there are two islands in the lake by the same name.
3. You Can Ice Fish – Even as a Beginner!
Windy Lake Provincial Park is an excellent spot for beginner and avid ice fishers. Regardless of your skill or experience, make sure to secure an ice fishing licence and read up on ice safety beforehand. Getting your day fishing licence costs only $13.80 (as of February 2020) and is easy to acquire online. Once you’ve purchased a licence, all that’s left to do is call, email, or show up to the park office to book your hut for the day!
Prior to arriving at Windy Lake Provincial Park, make sure to stock up on bait. There are many bait shops in Chelmsford, which is an 18 minute drive east of the park. Dandy Live Bait and Tackle is a family-owned shop with helpful staff who can help you figure out what you need for a day on the ice.
The park offers two ice fishing packages, both of which include 2 rods/reels, tip-ups, a bait bucket/stool, and fishing tackle. If you want to set everything up yourself, the package costs $100 and the staff will provide you with the ice auger and a sled that transforms into a double-seated portable fishing hut. For newbies to ice fishing, the park will bring the equipment to the ice and set everything up for a total of $150.
Once you’ve arrived and checked in with the park office, the walk to the lake is a 10 minute stroll away. Settle in, get cozy, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors as you wait for the Lake Trout, Walleye, and Lake Whitefish to bite!
4. There are World Class Ski Trails
Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club is a short skip across the road from Windy Lake’s Park office. The OFNSC is a volunteer organization run by several enthusiastic and friendly individuals, eager to welcome you to enjoy their classic and skate style trails. Over 15 km of track set and professionally groomed trails are available to explore. Take a rest in their Ski Chalet where you’ll find drinking water, flush toilets, a wood fireplace, seating area, and warm drinks. Due to their location, they’re also open longer in the season than other nearby clubs. Bonus!
The ski trails offer something for everyone – from the beginner, to families, to Olympic skiiers. No, really! Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club is home to several professional Canadian athletes, including Olympian Devon Kershaw.
The map below shows most of the club’s trails, although they’ve added two new loops recently that aren’t displayed below. The Green Trail is mostly flat and excellent for beginners, with 4.5 km of beautifully laid track. The blue trail is the Devon Kershaw Trail and is a 5.2 km loop. Darren’s Surprise is the 4.2 km red trail and is the most challenging. For snow-shoers, follow the purple trail for 8 km of powdery fun. Last, the yellow trails are bypass trails.
|Green Trail||Devon Kershaw Trail||Darren’s Surprise Trail||Showshoe Trail||Bypass Trails|
|4.5 km||5.2 km||4.2 km||8km||n/a|
Prices for cross-country day passes range from $5 for kids ages 6-12 to $15 for adults. Children under 5 ski for free and it’s an affordable $30 for a family to ski. Equipment rentals are also available for skis and snowshoes. For more pricing information, visit their site here.
5. You Can Stay in a Yurt
If staying in a yurt is a bucket list item of yours, look no further. Windy Lake Provincial Park has 4 yurts to help you cross this item off your bucket list all year round! The yurts are located in the campground and are accessible in the winter via ski trails. Each heated yurt can sleep 6 adults and includes a deck, BBQ and propane, tables and chairs, picnic table, and fire pit. An outhouse is also heated and is located in the centre of the yurts.
To help transport your items to the yurt, Windy Lake provides sleighs for you to use. It’s only 7 minutes from the parking lot to the campground, which is manageable no matter your packing style!
6. It’s Great for Group Camping
Gather your friends and family together because Windy Lake has 2 group camping sites. One of them has a secluded beach and swimming area full of beach side activities, including a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, bathrooms, water tap, fire pit, and covered picnic area. Guests are welcome to bring 4-6 small trailers and 5-10 tents. Another location is closer to the “day-use” and has room for 4-6 smaller trailers and 5-10 tents. Does this sound like a perfect reason to enjoy the great Canadian outdoors and spend time with people you love or what?
Have You Visited Windy Lake Provincial Park in Ontario?
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed these 6 facts about Windy Lake Provincial Park. If you have any other fun or useful pieces of information on this Ontario gem, or any questions, leave a comment below!