For over 4,000 years, people from Europe, North America and Asia have been using snowshoes as a mode of transportation in the winter to explore new territories and hunt for food.
Webbed snowshoes, traditionally made of deer sinew, came from the indigenous peoples of North America. Samuel de Champlain, referring to the Huron and Algonquin people, wrote in his memoirs: "In winter, when there is so much snow, [the Aboriginal people] use a kind of snowshoe that is two to three times larger as those found in France. They attach them to their feet and walk on the snow without breaking; otherwise, they would be unable to hunt or go from one place to another."
Today, snowshoeing is still a very popular sport. A recent study by the Centre culturel ARTEM in Temiskaming Shores has shown that in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec and in Hearst, Ontario, snowshoeing is the sport of choice: 50% of Rouyn-Noranda's population and 37% of Hearst's all partake in the sport. Given the popularity of snowshoeing, the Lake Temiskaming Tour offers an impressive selection of trails for enthusiasts.
Récré-eau des Quinze in Notre-Dame-du-nord, St-Eugène-de-Guigues and Angliers
A beautiful site to discover while snowshoeing is the Récré-eau-des Quinze, in Temiscamingue, Quebec. Four snowshoe trails, ranging from 1 to 10 kilometers along the Quinze River are complete with signage, bridges, and ropes. In addition, geocaching enthusiasts can enjoy more than a dozen caches in the area. The trails are maintained by a network of dedicated volunteers.
Grande Chute Snowshoe Trails
A little further south on the Temiscamingue, Quebec side of Lake Temiskaming, 8 kilometers north of Laniel, you will find a 7 km snowshoe trail nestled in the woods along the raging Kipawa River. The trail has picnic areas and beautiful lookouts on the river. Before reaching the Grande Chute, you will note several rapids. In the winter, the frost on the trees is always breathtaking.
Eau Claire Gorge in Mattawa
In the Mattawa area, the Eau Clair Gorge evokes a panoply of emotions in all those who are fortunate enough to discover it. Along the trail, one can hear the waterfall well before seeing it. The snowshoe trail leading to the waterfall uncovers turbulent waters in a fairytale landscape. Each season brings new colors and wonders in a mixed forest with an ecosystem of red pine. This tourist jewel in the Mattawa-Bonfield region is easily accessible. It's not every day that you find yourself “in the middle of a waterfall.”
Discovery Routes Trails Organization
In North Bay, the Discovery Routes Trails Organization allows you to discover the richness of the Mid-North through its four season trail networks. The trails meander along rivers and pass through villages, allowing the explorer to relive the historic route of the Voyageurs. Several dozen snowshoe trails are visible on their website.
Follow the footsteps of Champlain and other explorers by taking the La Vase trail in the wintertime so you can avoid the mud and the mosquitoes! In summer, the La Vase Portage is a 14 km canoe route connecting Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing. This road was originally used by the First Nations, who shared it with Europeans including Étienne Brûlé and Samuel de Champlain. The trail soon became a primary access route to inland areas of North America.
Devil's Rock in Temiskaming Shores
Devil's Rock is on the west side of Lake Temiskaming, close to Haileybury. It rivals the beauty and wonders of the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park and the Ouimet Canyon east of Thunder Bay. The cliff’s sheer height is not the only breathtaking element of this natural wonder; the impressive panorama with an unbroken view of Lake Temiskaming and the Quebec shore will amaze you. Although the signage from Highway 11 is not well marked, the hiking trail is easily accessible. A short drive on Highway 567 and a 25 minute snowshoe outing leads you to the cliff. Devil's Rock is also accessible through a 3 km climb from Bucke Park, a nearby campsite, if you are looking for a bigger challenge.