Tag Archives: snowmobile trails

Evangola State Park: Lake Erie’s Winter Playground!

Along the shores of Lake Erie, Evangola State Park becomes a winter sports mecca as the lake’s famous lake-effect snowstorms blanket the park! Lake-effect snow occurs when cold, Canadian air moves across Lake Erie evaporating its open waters and causing intense, local snow bands which can drop one to two inches of snow per hour.

Burning calories while relieving stress, cross-country skiing is a popular activity on the parks peaceful and tranquil trails.

ForestTrail
An unbroken forested ski trail at Evangola.
DistantSkier
The only sound while skiing is the soft crunching of the snow as you glide through the woods.

Cross-country skiing is a wonderful way to connect to nature!

SnowyScene
Fresh snow clings onto the branches, enhancing the beauty of trees and shrubs.

Three major trail systems are avaliable at Evangola State Park. The Evangola Snowmobile Trail is located on the east side of the park and snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails are on the west side.

Many snowshoers and skiers utilize the 3.5 mile snowmobile trail since it is lightly used by snowmobilers. The trail is fairly flat and easy for beginners.

SnowmobileTrail
Evangola Snowmobile Trail.

The Evangola Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe trail is an easy two mile loop trail through forest and shrubby wetlands.The trail starts at the baseball field located on the west side of the park and goes right into the woods.

Skiers
Snowshoers head out on the trail.

With a variety of tracks along the way…….

Tracks
A skier discovers eastern coyote tracks.

A fun activity while skiing or snowshoeing is to investigate fresh animal tracks. The tracks left behind are a magical record of a nocturnal creature’s travel, allowing a glimpse into their secret lives.

DECTracks
Four toed animals include the fox, coyote and dogs. Raccoon prints have 5 clear toes. Deer tracks resemble a divided heart. Image from NYS Dept. of Conservation
Deer
White-tailed Deer are often seen crossing the trail, photo by Ed Conboy Jr.
PorchNC
A skier checks out the Evangola Nature Center. The nature center is open Memorial Day to Columbus Day and is sometimes used as a resting spot during winter sports programs.
Bench1
When the snow gets deeper and the world turns quiet…

The Niagara Region Interpretive Programs Office has free snowshoes to loan to adults and children and many people bring their own snowshoes. It is easy to learn snowshoeing and participants become proficient on their first winter snowshoe hike.

ForestToLake1
The “Forest to Lake” snowshoe hike traverses Evangola’ s forested trails……
ForestToLake2
….and ends with a majestic look at the ice formations of Lake Erie!

Stunning Ice Formations

A spectacular winter trail at Evangola is the “Rim Trail” along towering cliffs over Lake Erie, where you can see all the way to Canada on a clear day! But clear skies or cloudy, check out some of nature’s ice sculptures all along the shore.

IceFence1
Even the rim trail fence can bow with the weight of wind driven ice waves!
IceFence2
The “Rim Trail’s” chain link fence with ice.
RimTrail
A lone skier checks out the “Rim Trail” view. During winter, arctic waterfowl and even an occasional Snowy Owl can be seen. Some of the biggest Red Oak in the park also occur along this trail.
SunnyLake
A winter icescape along the rim trail.
IceVolcano
Lake Erie ice volcano vents can be seen from above along Evangola’ s “Rim Trail”.
CoveredBridge
Throughout Evangola’s winter trails there is plenty to see including the iconic “Scotty’s Covered Bridge”!
Sunset
Evangola Sunsets during winter can be spectacular too!

Winter is a great time to get outside and explore Evangola State Park. So, come join our outdoor snowshoe hikes and cross-country ski programs or get out on your own to enjoy the park’s “lake-effect” snow trails.

Post by Dave McQuay, Evangola State Park environmental educator

Have Some Winter Fun With Your Friends and Family – Go Snowmobiling

You may not see any snow when you look out the window right now, but winter is here and now is the time to think about all of the outdoor activities it brings. One of the best ways to experience New York State’s natural winter beauty is on a snowmobile, exploring the snowmobile trail system that crisscrosses 45 counties through woods, fields, towns and our State Parks.  Snowmobiling is a fun, family-friendly way to enjoy winter scenery and wildlife, especially for those people with disabilities who are unable to do strenuous activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

With over 10,000 miles of public trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy from local loops to weekend getaways. Many of our parks have trails connecting to the statewide trail system.  And some parks, like Allegany State Park, have not only over 60 miles of groomed trails but also winterized cabins that are open year-round for a warm winter weekend retreat.

The New York State Parks Snowmobile Unit has a few tips to make sure you return from your trips safely and are ready to ride again another day:

-Attend a New York State Snowmobile Safety Course. Adults are not required to take a course but it’s recommended that everyone take one, regardless of experience or age. Requirements and a list of upcoming courses are available here.

-Always ride with a buddy, and always leave a travel plan including a return time with someone at home.

-Never drink and ride. Alcohol effects reaction time and judgement.

-Wear a helmet any time you’re operating a snowmobile, no matter how short the trip.

-Ride as conditions allow and within your ability. Slow down at night and when weather such as falling snow reduces sight distance. Check local conditions before crossing frozen bodies of water to ensure the ice is thick enough to ride. Always obey posted speed limits and local regulations.

-The safest place to ride is on the trail. New York State snowmobile trails are maintained by dedicated club volunteers, and deep or drifting snow off the trail may hide dangerous hazards. In addition, the majority of trails are actually located on private property with the permission of the property owner, and trespassing can close trails permanently for everyone.

If you’re new to the sport, or have never been on a snowmobile before, the New York State Snowmobile Association is teaming up with New York State Parks to offer Take a Friend Snowmobiling events where you can learn more and take a free snowmobile ride, conditions permitting.  An event is scheduled at Grafton Lakes State Park during the annual Winter Fest on  January 26, 2019. Necessary equipment will be provided; participants are urged to dress appropriately for outdoor weather conditions. More Take a Friend Snowmobile events can be found at the Snowmobile Association website.

Post by Bennett Campbell, State Parks