As we all settle into the new normal, snowmobiling and tourism is no different. Luckily for us, snowmobiling has always been a socially-distanced sport. Covid-19 has forced a lot of businesses to adapt quickly, rethink how they operate and service customers, and Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve is no different. After making a number of changes to keep riders and guests safe, they are open for business and plan to be open all winter long—seven days a week, servicing snowmobilers with over 400 kilometres of privately owned and pristinely groomed trails within 100,000 acres.
a private snowmobiling paradise adapts for a winter like no other
In the winter, Haliburton Forest has always been known for their premium snowmobiling and vast trail system. Previously, in order to check-in customers would enter the Haliburton Forest’s welcome center and office—located in a classic log cabin—and given a paper map of the whole trail network. Now with Covid-19, the welcome center is limiting the amount of people inside and limiting capacity in the park itself. The centre now offers a large outdoor tent where guests can check in and get their day passes.
One of my favourite things about the forest trail network is that at every trail intersection they have markers pointing to areas of interest—whether it is a nearby lake, cabin, or landmark. Additionally, each maker also tells you which way back to ‘base camp’ and how many kilometers—so essentially you can never get lost in the forest. This year, they will have large outdoor maps, like the paper maps that have been given out for years. These outdoor maps will be posted at the welcome center and around the base camp, as well as along the trail system and at the trail cabins. Much like everywhere else, masks will be required when inside and hand sanitizing stations will be available.
They will still be offering snowmobile rentals, which is great for those new to the sport and want to give it a try—this winter is no better time to try something new! Along with snowmobile rentals, they have always offered helmet rentals, however this year, they have purchased high-powered helmet dryers to not only dry and but completely sanitize the helmets. Cabins are open for business, making it the perfect multi-day retreat for snowmobilers because you really need more than one-day to see everything. Only one group will be allowed in each cabin, and scrupulous housekeeping and sanitation practices will be observed. The cabins are all equipped with kitchen facilities—making it easy for visitors to enjoy meals in the safety and comfort of their rooms. Additionally, premium gas, oil, and free parking will continue to be available for all guests.
Outdoor dining on offer at Cookhouse Restaurant
The Cookhouse Restaurant is also open—at 50 percent capacity and reservations are required. Instead of ordering food at your table, guests will order at the counter when they arrive and then take a seat in the dining area. They are offering the same great menu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner available. The Cookhouse is open to everyone, not only Haliburton Forest guests.
With the limited capacity in place inside the restaurant, they had to think outside the box to be able to feed all the hungry snowmobilers and guests. This year, they will have an outdoor dining area in front of the Cookhouse where there will be seating along with festive lights and elevated BBQ food and hot beverages for purchase. This is something they have wanted to do for years. After the year we have had, they figured there was no better time than the present. The new outdoor setup will make it more comfortable for guests to socially-distance outside.
plan your Haliburton forest snowmobile trip now
Look no further for your perfect Covid-19 snowmobile retreat. This winter there really aren't any limitations when it comes to having fun and hitting the trails outdoors at Haliburton Forest—they have made all of the necessary changes, along with offering customers so much more than before. So, treat yourself to a weekend, or week away and come see all that Haliburton and area has to offer—we all deserve it after the year we have had!
It’s a great family getaway retreat, with something to do for everyone besides just snowmobiling—dog sledding tours are available with no previous experience necessary and the Wolf Centre is open to see wolf packs. It is time to enjoy winter and have fun snowmobiling in the great white north, but you better book early as reservations and spaces will fill up fast, as always. All reservations for snowmobiling, accommodations, dining, dog sledding, dog sled kennel tours and The Wolf Center can be done online.