Fingers crossed that by the time this blog post is live, the Erie area will have plenty of snow on the ground to entice you to get outside for some cool fun! With the recent pandemic restrictions, the best way to stay safe and still have a good time is to spend time outdoors. We’ve got plenty of suggestions to help keep you active during the winter months. Bundle up and get ready to explore our WintERIE Wonderland!
Mount Pleasant of Edinboro
The snow machine is churning out white fluffy goodness making the slopes of Mt. Pleasant perfect for winter adventures! Offering skiing (downhill and cross country), snowboarding and tubing from beginner to expert along with lessons, snow programs, season passes and a tuning shop. Have the best winter fun by exploring their awesome trail system. There are 6 regular trails (snowmaking and night skiing) as well as 4 natural trails (no snowmaking or night skiing) for you to enjoy. Most of their trails are lit up at night to allow for safe night skiing and snowboarding. There is also a 2,400' triple chairlift as well as a beginner lift in order to provide easy trail access. But we think the BEST part about Mount Pleasant is tubing! Get that ultimate outdoor winter experience on their 600’ tubing hill with 8 lanes! You don’t even need your own tube, they’ve got them right there for you! Bonus: a tube tow to pull you (and your tube) back up the hill is provided (thank goodness!). Due to the pandemic things are slightly different at Mount Pleasant. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required and will get you a two-hour session with a certain number of participants. Please visit their website for full details.
Hit the Ski and Snowshoe Trails at Asbury Woods! It’s a great way embrace Erie's winters, welcoming visitors of all ages. Come discover nature’s beauty throughout Asbury Woods’ 205 acre property. Start your next adventure on 4.5 miles of trails with easy, moderate and challenging terrain. Snowshoes and cross-country skis are available for rent during the Nature Center’s regular business hours. They even offer clinics for beginners! There must be at least 6” of snow for snowshoe or ski rentals. Last rentals are issued at 3 pm. Call ahead for group rates and times. For a complete list of Asbury Woods trails, click here. Ski and snowshoe rental information.
Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF)
The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF) is home to over 1000 trees, a collection that grows in interest and diversity each year. However, if you’re familiar with Frontier Park, you undoubtedly know about the Big Hill. It is a sledders’ dream! Located off of West 8th street at the park, generations of families visit Frontier Park to sled (or roll) down their giant hill. Frontier Park features paved, natural and gravel paths for walking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing. While you’re exploring the Park, check out the Benjamin Winter Garden. The garden features winter and early spring plantings and was created as a gift to the City as a memorial to Ben DeCrease, who passed away in early 2015. The intent is not only to honor Ben, but to provide a natural sanctuary for all who struggle with sadness, anxiety and depression. This winter garden at LEAF is only the third of its kind in the United States. A winter garden showcases plants that are at their best when most other plants are asleep. The winter garden represents the promise of spring and renewed life amidst the dreariness of winter. At LEAF, a quiet site was chosen on the northwest corner of the park, a terraced area overlooking the labyrinth. It is a unique natural asset for Erie and a healing space for all to share.
Peek n Peak
Peek n Peak officially opened for the season December 18. They claim to have “snow many possibilities” waiting for you and boy are they right! Bring the family for some tubing on one of the Peek’s 14 tubing lanes. Ride the “Magic Carpet” lift that takes snow tubers (and their tubes!) back to the top of the hill to do it all over again. The Peak’s Snow Tubing Arena requires no experience or skill but you must be at 3 years old to participate. For an “enlightened” nighttime experience, try Lunar Lights Tubing where the tubing hill is transformed into a thrilling and mesmerizing atmosphere, featuring an ever-changing light show produced by thousands of LED lights and projection lights. The lights pulse, fade and change in coordination with an immersive sound system. Need more adventure? Head over to their three progressive terrain parks (180, 360 and 540) designed to challenge skiers and riders from beginner level to advanced. This link will provide you with complete information on weather conditions, hours & rates, rentals, lessons and more. We can’t wait to hit the slopes!
Presque Isle State Park
For those of us who may prefer a calmer type of winter outdoor fun, there’s always Presque Isle State Park. The Park is open year-round and is absolutely beautiful in the wintertime. The peacefully serene atmosphere is ideal for those who just want a place to escape the everyday doldrums; you can even bring your dog! At this time, all in-person programs (First Day Hikes) are cancelled however you are free to walk or drive around the Park on your own. The multi-purpose trail is generally cleared of snow but it’s always best to check their website for what areas are open for walkers, especially after a heavy snowfall. The unpaved trails are also suitable (weather permitting) for snow shoes and cross country skis.
Greater Erie Regional Trails
Do you enjoy hiking in the woods, walking in a city park, or taking a stroll along Erie’s waterfront? Erie County boasts over 15 park and recreational opportunities for you to explore as part of the Greater Erie Regional Trail Network. Visit their website to find a complete list of available trails. The website also provides information on each trail location, maps of the trail routes, photos of the trails and terrain and upcoming activities and events. New additions include Highmeyer Park trail in Harborcreek Township and the Phase 1 completion of the Wintergreen Gorge project which includes a new boardwalk rain gardens, aggregate trail and parking lot.
Ice Fishing (information provided by FishErie.com)
Ice fishing on Presque Isle Bay is popular in the winter when there is sufficient ice. Typically there is sufficient ice by late December/early January. The ice forms first at the head of the Bay. Ice also forms early in Horseshoe Pond and Misery Bay. The ice progresses toward the east and the channel as the winter wears on. The most popular location for ice fishing is at the head of Presque Isle Bay, Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond. Access to Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond is best from Presque Isle State Park. You can also park in various parking lots located along the Bayfront Parkway in downtown Erie. Most ice fishing is for pan fish, especially perch. Occasionally a surprised angler will hook a steelhead through the ice. Many anglers use some type of ice hut to break the bitter cold of the wind whipping across the frozen Bay.
Tip: Fish USA offers great ice fishing advice for novices (and even the well-seasoned) plus an ample list of ice fishing supplies here.
All of the above mentioned businesses are following strict COVID-19 safety and cleaning protocols. For specific details, please visit their websites. Remember as always to practice social distancing and wear your mask to keep you and others safe.