Culture Travel 8 Stunning Spots for Natural Ice Skating in North America By Blythe Copeland Blythe Copeland Writer Blythe Copeland is a writer, editor, and blogger who began working with Treehugger in 2008. Learn about our editorial process Updated June 4, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email dancingnomad3 / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community There is something freeing about gliding along a frozen sheet of ice, and only natural ice skating in the great outdoors can provide that full experience. When the days get shorter and the cold temperatures reach the upper regions of North America, lakes and rivers begin their transformation into winter playgrounds. Whether skating on the world’s longest naturally freezing ice rink in Ottawa or playing hockey on Vermont’s Lake Morey, these stunning locations will impress athletes and casual skaters alike. Here are eight incredible spots for natural ice skating in North America that will thrill winter-sport enthusiasts of all kinds. 1 of 8 Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, Canada Tristan in Ottawa / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 The Rideau Canal runs through the center of downtown Ottawa, and, in winter, the running water freezes over into the world's largest naturally frozen ice skating rink—the Rideau Canal Skateway. At 4.8 miles long, the Skateway offers a scenic view of the city and is home to Winterlude, an annual festival of arts, sporting events, and food tastings. The Rideau Canal Skateway has been in operation since 1970 and the length of each season varies depending on the weather, with the average season lasting 50 days. 2 of 8 Red River Trail, Winnipeg, Canada Lorie Shaull / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 The Rideau Canal may be the world's largest natural rink, but the Red River Trail claimed the Guinness World record for the longest, at a length of 5.3 miles. Along with skating, the trail makes room for plenty of other winter activities, from curling and hockey to broomball and walking. The ice on the river trail is groomed each day in the early morning and late at night to ensure that visitors have the best experience possible. 3 of 8 Keystone Lake, Colorado dion gillard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Although Colorado is best known for its skiing, the five-acre Keystone Lake gives visitors who aren't so comfortable on the slopes a flatter sporting option. The ice is kept clean and smooth via an ice resurfacer, known as a Zamboni, and the rink offers gorgeous mountain views (plus plenty of room for hockey games) surrounded by the shops and businesses of Keystone Village. 4 of 8 Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, New York Chris1093 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 Host to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid in New York has charmed folks with outdoor winter activities for over a century. Each year when the freezing temperatures arrive, Mirror Lake is transformed into an ice skater’s wonderland, with a two-mile skating track cleared around the lake’s perimeter. The gorgeous lake is also the spot for cross country skiers, hockey players, and even dog sled rides. 5 of 8 Lake Morey, Vermont mararie / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 Located on Vermont’s border with New Hampshire, Lake Morey is the place to be for folks looking to ice skate in the crisp winter air. Surrounded by the gorgeous rolling hills of Fairlee Forest and Morey Mountain, the lake is home to the nearly four-and-a-half-mile long Lake Morey Skate Trail, which is monitored daily for safety of use. At 600 acres, the Lake Morey also serves the local hockey contingent with annual tournaments. 6 of 8 Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana Shea / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 Canyon Ferry Reservoir, east of Helena, Montana, offers ice skating aficionados a smooth surface on which to play hockey, or simply just cruise around, during the frigid winter months. With the nearby Mount Baldy providing a dramatic backdrop, many local folks enjoy traversing out onto the reservoir’s ice with Nordic skates, which are longer than typical blades and allow for longer distances to be traveled with ease. 7 of 8 Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage, Alaska Emma Forsberg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 In the shadow of the gorgeous Chugach Mountain Front in Anchorage, Alaska, lies the 50-acre ice skating getaway of Westchester Lagoon. A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, the lagoon, also known as Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park, is just a 15-minute walk from downtown Anchorage. The icy surface is hot-mopped every day to keep it smooth and the thickness of the ice is tested regularly to ensure safety. The folks who manage Westchester Lagoon also provide large metal barrels with fires in them for warming up when it gets too cold to skate. 8 of 8 Arrowhead Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada RichardBH / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Founded in 2012, Ontario’s Ice Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park loops through nearly one mile of dense, evergreen forest. The short skating path is a perfect activity for families and is especially beautiful following a fresh snowfall. On Saturday nights throughout the winter season, tiki torches lining the route are lit aflame for added rustic charm.