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21 Incredible Things to do in and around Muskoka

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21 Incredible Things to do in and around Muskoka

Fall paddling at Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve. • Credit: Destination Ontario/Joey Panetta

Plan an adventure vacation for every season

Discover exciting events, explore scenic trails, and enjoy the best of the four seasons in and around Muskoka. This is the ultimate guide to year-round activities in and around Ontario’s Cottage Country.



Picture yourself gliding down snow-covered trails, hiking among the first spring blossoms, paddling sparkling lakes, or marvelling at an explosion of fall colours. Each season offers something special in and around Muskoka, and a diverse network of trails, paddling routes, scenic tours, resorts, and friendly communities makes it oh-so-easy to get outside and enjoy the best of Cottage Country.

WINTER

Two people standing on a dog sled behind a team of dogs.
Mush a dog sled on magical trails this winter.

Winter is a magical time to visit Muskoka and surrounding area. Generous snowfall and crisp temperatures provide ideal conditions for snowshoeing, skiing, fat biking, ice skating, dog sledding, and a host of other classic cold-season activities.

Skate a Frozen Ice Trail

Lace up your skates on two can’t-miss Muskoka ice trails. In Arrowhead Provincial Park, a 1.5-km skating path winds through snow-draped forest for an unforgettable woodland experience. Near the Lake Muskoka village of Bala, Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery is transformed in winter with a 1.2-km ice trail around the frozen cranberry bogs.

Mush! Experience Dog Sledding

Try this bucket-list Canadian experience at Huntsville’s North Ridge Ranch, on the edge of Algonquin Park. Learn to mush your own sled, or just enjoy the winter wonderland. Half-day and one-hour tours are available most days throughout the winter season. Book early, these dog sledding trips fill up fast!

Try Nordic (Cross-Country) Skiing

Two cross-country skiers holding up one ski.
Glide Nordic trails at cross-country ski centres. Photo: @kelseymminer

The cross-country ski trails offer something for every level of skier, from first-timer to avid enthusiast. Near Huntsville, Arrowhead Provincial Park’s immaculately groomed trails offer 22 km of classic skiing and 11 km of skate skiing. Nestled among old-growth forest just 10 minutes from Parry Sound, Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre has 30 km of trails to explore on skis, snowshoes or fat bike.

Spin Forest Trails on a Fat Bike

Fat bikes feature oversized tires for flotation and grip on snowy trails, making these go-anywhere rides the monster trucks of mountain bikes. In Bracebridge, Liv Outside offers two-hour guided rides, fat bike rentals, and an on-site network of groomed, single-track winter bike trails. In Parry Sound, fat bikers can hit the groomed ski trails at Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre.

SPRING

Experience the vibrant forests and secluded waterways that come alive in spring. Discover delicate orchids on a wildflower hike, listen for bird song, paddle to roaring waterfalls, and tap into the region’s famous Maple Trail.

Young woman in shorts and t-shirt overlooking a lake.
Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve trails.. Photo: @amy.outdoors

Go for a Wildflower Hike

Hikers are spoiled for choice. Between Gravenhurst and Bala, look for lady slipper orchids and trilliums among the granite shorelines and hardwood forests of Hardy Lake Provincial Park. Nearby, spot delicate carnivorous sundew and pitcher plant in the wetlands at Torrance Barrens Conservation Area. In Lake of Bays, the Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve offers some 70 km of scenic trails to lakes, lookouts, and mossy woodlands.

Ride the Canadian Shield

Person mountain biking over large rocks.
Shredding the bedrock trails at Buckwallow Cycling Centre. Photo: @h.p.sauce

The charming town of Bracebridge serves as Muskoka’s mountain biking Mecca. Just off Highway 11 North, the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre offers 19 km of woodland trails winding along the Muskoka River. South of town, riders of all skill levels can enjoy a diverse, well-maintained network of technical singletrack and flowing doubletrack at Buckwallow Cycling Centre.  Discover more places for cycle touring, training, and winter trekking.

Paddle to a Scenic Waterfall

Spring through early summer is the best time to canoe, kayak, or paddleboard area rivers and view numerous, spectacular waterfalls. In Bracebridge, paddle the Muskoka River to scenic South Falls, the region’s highest vertical drop waterfall. On the edge of Algonquin Park, enjoy a half-day wilderness paddle from Oxtongue Lake to Ragged Falls.

Taste Muskoka’s Maple Trail

Billed as “the most Canadian of culinary trails,” this six-week celebration of all things maple syrup features 27 unique stops across Muskoka. Sample maple-crafted sweets, brews, and culinary delights; tour an authentic sugar shack; enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the maple bush; make taffy-on-snow, and more! Runs March 13 to April 24, 2020. Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm, a state-of-the-art sugaring operation, welcomes visitors year-round. 

SUMMER

Muskoka is synonymous with summer fun. Whether it’s spending time at the lake, relaxing with family and friends, diving into a new adventure—or all of the above—summer is about being outside and enjoying nature.

Zip Through the Trees

Young woman zipping on a cable.
Soar above the trees at Muskoka’s aerial parks. Photo: Travis Jon Allison on Flickr

Treetop Trekking Huntsville offers a three-hour forest canopy tour filled with zip lines, monkey cables, Tarzan swings, balance bridges, and much more. Nestled in the pines above Santa’s Village amusement park on the shore of the lovely Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Muskoka Zip Lines and Aerial Park features seven zip lines for nearly 1,000 feet of aerial thrills.

Get on Board with SUP Yoga

Instagram post showing several people doing yoga on standup paddleboards.
Paddleboard floating yoga combines lake time with fitness and friends. Photo: @suptopia

Take your yoga practice to the water with SUP (standup paddleboard) yoga on one of Muskoka’s countless tranquil lakes. Suptopia Floating Yoga is the region’s travelling yoga studio—contact owner and instructor, Steph Ouellette, for a schedule of upcoming classes and events. In Gravenhurst, connect with Muskoka Yoga Studio. Or join hundreds of other yoga devotees and first-timers at the annual Muskoka Yoga Festival.

Enjoy the Ultimate Cruise

See the sights the way visitors have for more than a century—from the decks of an intimate cruise ship. Sightsee and dine aboard the Lady Muskoka in Bracebridge, explore the 30,000 Islands aboard Parry Sound’s Island Queen, or choose from three historic vessels—Lake of Bays’ lovingly restored steamship SS Bigwin, the Muskoka Lakes’ intimate Peerless II, and Lake Muskoka’s stunning Royal Mail steamship, the RMS Segwun (shown above) sailing out of Gravenhurst Wharf.    

Camp in a Provincial or National Park

Chose from a variety of provincial parks and a prized national park, many of which offer outstanding camping opportunities. Two of our favourites are located in the UNESCO Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.  Campers can paddle, hike or cycle to secluded sites and waterfront cabins in the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, accessible only by park or personal boat. Near Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park offers seven vehicle-accessible campgrounds, with all sites just steps from the park’s sandy beaches and bedrock shoreline.

FALL

Fall is a superb time to visit in and around Muskoka, when shorter days and crisp nights transform forest canopies into a riot of red, orange, and gold. Catch the brilliant autumn display on a scenic drive, cycling route, trail ride or canoe trip.

Three kids holding colourful maple leaves.
Find fabulous fall colours.

Catch Peak Colour at Ontario Parks

Provincial parks throughout the region offer some of the finest opportunities for viewing fall foliage. In the highlands, head to Arrowhead, Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls, or Algonquin Provincial Parks. Along the Georgian Bay coast, plan a visit to The Massassauga, Oastler Lake, Killbear, or Sturgeon Bay parks. Visit Ontario Parks for more information on each park, and be sure to check the regularly updated fall colour report before you go.

Pedal an Autumn Cycling Route

View from top of cliff looking down on cyclists on a road.
Cyclists adore the winding lakeside roads. Photo: @northernpassmuskoka

Nearly every county road comes alive with fall colours from mid-September through October. Avid cyclists will love cranking the hairpin corners and leafy Black River corridor along Gravenhurst’s 100-km Loon Lake Loop. Find more suggested fall colour routes here.

Savour a Scenic Fall Festival

There are so many fantastic festivals, it can be hard to choose! We recommend the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour, which combines a self-guided driving tour along some of the region’s most scenic backroads with visits to the studios and galleries of Muskoka’s most talented artists. The weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving, the Bala Cranberry Festival is a fun community event with the namesake cranberry harvest (and a host of culinary delights) at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery.

Take a Scenic Driving Tour

Bordering the Algonquin Highlands, the Lake of Bays Scenic Drive is a can’t-miss 80-km loop with spectacular lake views, rock cuts, charming villages, and fall foliage. Combining magnificent fall colours with another Canadian icon—the classic and comfortable Muskoka chair—the View the Lakes Chair Tour is a scenic drive with stops to stretch your legs (and contemplate the view) at 10 lakeside and lookout locations around the Muskoka Lakes.

Need more fun ideas for your next visit? Visit Discover Muskoka  or Explorers' Edge for even more great trails, tastes, adventures, and events!

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