Beaver Pond is a 2km loop along Highway 60. It is only about a 10 minute drive from East Gate, so if your accommodations are in the village of Whitney, then it’s really convenient. I often recommend this trail in the summer because it’s a short and entertaining trail about a fascinating subject: beavers. To top it off, you’re rewarded with a scenic lookout towards the end of the trail.
So how about Beaver Pond as a winter experience?
I don’t recommend this winter experience for beginners. As of winter 2019, Algonquin Park staff do not officially plow the Beaver Pond parking lot. For this reason, Algonquin Park staff do not do regular “trail sweeps” or trail maintenance. If an emergency occurs while you’re snowshoeing Beaver Pond, emergency services will have a harder time rescuing you. In fact, I recommend that beginners stick to snowshoeing Spruce Bog, Two Rivers Trail, or the Logging Museum Trail.
Although Beaver Pond is not officially open during the winter, as long as you park your car responsibly, use the proper gear, and plan smart, you are permitted to use this trail year-round. Where’s the responsible place to park? Park your vehicle on the wide shoulder of Opeongo Road adjacent to Costello Lake, about 2.5km down the highway from Beaver Pond. The fact that you’re parking your car at Opeongo Road adds an extra 5km to your excursion, which means that this trail is a total of 7km during winter.
Exercise caution while walking along Highway 60! Due to the extra 5km of highway hiking (remember, you’re parking at Opeongo road) I would budget around 4-5 hours to complete this winter excursion.
If you’re snowshoeing this trail in the middle of winter it is possible to walk on both of the beaver ponds. Rather than view the beaver lodges from a distance you can actually get really close to them (Note: do not harass wildlife!). Winter snowshoeing really allows you to gain a unique perspective on this trail. Please note: it is crucial that you exercise common sense if you choose to walk on ice. People all across Ontario die every year due to falling through ice. Walking on frozen lakes is a magical experience, but if you walk on ice you have to be aware of the risks and proceed cautiously.
Need winter gear? Bongopix Winter Outfitting can help!
Thanks for reading, happy trails!