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Muskoka in Winter: 8 Can’t-Miss Winter Activities in Muskoka and Beyond

Muskoka in Winter

Muskoka in winter: the fluffy snow of the Muskoka winter can do much more than bury chairs (Photo: John Maddin)


Ontario’s cottage country is a popular summertime destination, but devotees of fresh-air fun know Muskoka in winter can be a blast too. Head up north for the snowy scenery, but stay for the snowshoeing, dogsledding and other wonderful activities offered in the region when the temperature drops. Below, we’ve picked the eight top activities to take advantage of Musoka in winter, and recommend places that you can sign up for all them.

See the list of 8 can’t-miss activities during the glorious Muskoka winter » 

#1 & #2 MUSKOKA WINTER ACTIVITIES: Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
The absolute best way to enjoy the Muskoka winter landscape is to bundle up in your warmest clothes and clip into a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes. Numerous trails crisscross the region, giving you easy access to nature, and a great cardiovascular workout to boot. Among the top spots are Algonquin and Arrowhead Provincial Parks. Near Dorset, the Frost Centre Ski and Snowshoe Trails also offers ample space for an outdoor adventure, with nine track-set ski loops of varying difficulty, plus nearly 40 kilometres of backcountry hiking trails through the Muskoka winter wonderland. If you’re in need of equipment, the trusted gear gurus at Algonquin Outfitters and Muskoka Outfitters offer myriad rental options.
• Frost Centre Ski and Showshoe Trails, Hwt. 35, south of Dorset, skithefrost.ca
• Algonquin Provincial Park, Hwy. 60, east of Huntsville, algonquinpark.on.ca, map and reviews
• Arrowhead Provincial Park, Hwy. 11, exit 226, website, map and reviews
• Algonquin Outfitters, 218 Highland St., Haliburton, 705-457-3737, algonquinoutfitters.com, map and reviews
• Muskoka Outfitters, 271 Ecclestone Dr., Bracebridge, 705-646-0492, muskokaoutfitters.com, map and reviews

[RELATED: 15 Things We Love About Muskoka: a To-Do List of the Region’s Most Memorable Experiences]

An exhilarating way to experience the Muskoka winter is snowmobiling through the forest. Sure, it’s noisier than skiing or hiking, but it also allows you to cover a lot more territory. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs manages a 1,200-kilometre network of tracks, stretching across the Muskoka winter landscape, offering virtually unlimited touring opportunities. To ride in Ontario you must have a valid driver’s license and purchase a trail permit, but you need not own your own sled. Check out Dwight’s HSR Ski-Doo Rentals, or visit the OFSC’s website for a list of snowmobile rental and tour companies.
• HRS Ski-Doo Rentals, 25888 Hwy. 25, Dwight, 705-754-3667, skidoorentals.com, map and reviews
• Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs,
various locations, ofsc.on.ca  

Ontario isn’t exactly bristling with mountainous terrain, but there are enough peaks and valleys to take advantage of the Muskoka winter on the slopes. In Huntsville, the Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area features a dozen runs (plus a snowboard terrain park) with options for all skill levels. If you’re travelling from Toronto, note that some of Ontario’s best skiing is available on the way to Muskoka. Just north of Barrie is popular Mount St. Louis Moonstone and its 36 slopes, and Horseshoe Resort, which features 26 downhill runs as well as 35 kilometres of Nordic skiing trails.
• Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, 1755 Valley Rd., Huntsville, 1-800-395-9555, skihiddenvalley.ca
• Mount St. Louis Moonstone, 25 Mount St. Louis Rd., Coldwater, 877-835-2112, mountstlouis.com
• Horseshoe Resort, 1101 Horseshoe Valley Rd., Barrie, 705-835-5578, horseshoeresort.com, map and reviews

[RELATED: 16 of Muskoka’s Best Nature Trails and Hiking Destinations]

You needn’t travel to the Arctic Circle to experience the thrill of dogsledding. Huntsville haven Deerhurst Resort offers visitors the opportunity to “mush!” with a team of Siberian and Alaskan huskies. Step-by-step instructions are provided if you want to give it a go on your own, or choose to ride in a guided sled with other adventurers. The five-kilometre course may be compact, but it’s enough to provide an excellent introduction to a classic northern activity with some new canine friends.
• Deerhurst Resort, 1235 Deerhurst Dr., Huntsville, 705-789-6411, deerhurstresort.com, map and reviews

The region’s most popular on-water activity doesn’t have to halt just because the lakes have frozen over. In the Huntsville area, Hooked Young provides all-inclusive ice fishing experiences in mobile shacks or in a large cabin with cooking facilities and a washroom. Knowledgeable guides take you to where the fish are, maximizing your chances to hook a lake trout, northern pike or pickerel, while enjoying the company of fellow anglers.
• Hooked Young, Lake Vernon, Huntsville, 705-788-4220, hookedyoung.com

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It’s not the most convenient cold-weather activity, but winter camping can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors while cozying up with family and friends. Algonquin Provincial Park, one of Ontario’s best-loved sites for summer camping, draws guests as the snow begins to fall. Its Mew Lake campground is suitable for setting up a tent. For a slightly more modern experience, reserve one of seven roofed yurts.
• Algonquin Provincial Park, Hwy. 60, east of Huntsville, algonquinpark.on.ca, map and reviews

A day on the slopes or in the woods can take a toll on your body. Fortunately, Muskoka is home to a number of prime spas. Among the most luxurious is the Spa at the Rosseau, which offers facials, body treatments, couples packages and more in a calming space overlooking its namesake lake. Elsewhere, Touch Spa and Spa Taboo feature equally diverse treatment packages and calming ambience—perfect for a bit of rejuvenation as your trip winds down.
• Spa at the Rosseau, 1050 Paignton House Rd., Minett, 866-240-8605, jwrosseau.com, map and reviews
• Touch Spa, 1869 Muskoka Rd., Bracebridge, 705-764-5353, touchstonemuskoka.com, map and reviews
• Spa Taboo, 1209 Muskoka Beach Rd., Gravenhurst, 705-687-2233, tabooresort.com, map and reviews

4 responses to “Muskoka in Winter: 8 Can’t-Miss Winter Activities in Muskoka and Beyond”

  1. A good example is Solace Spa which has all sorts of packages which
    include, Couples Romantic Getaway, Vino Therapy, Solace Signature Divine
    Bride, New Mom’s Renewal. (If you run a spa in a highly competitive
    area you have to think of new and focussed treatments which make your
    spa unique. Plainly Solace has worked very hard on this aspect of spa

  2. Nova Scotia is filled with beautiful pristine lakes and rivers as well
    as being blessed with the ocean. Two bodies of water are protected in
    Cape Breton, and only one river, the LaHave, is protected in mainland
    NS. Without water, life does not exist. Harper is interested only in
    foreign companies, not in Canadian citizens. He must be stopped!

  3. The worlds deepest water port is found to the east of the
    Georgian Bay house assets. Midland and Penetanguishene cities ar placed at the
    southern finish of the bay and that they ar very hip for summer cottages.
    Tourists visit these places in summer. A reconstructed Jesuit mission is
    associate degree historic park placed within the province of Ontario.
    “Manitoulin” and “Giants Tomb” depict the made culture that
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  4. Olivia Simpson says:

    Muskoka Discovery Centre January 5-7th has an animal show going on! It’s located in Gravenhurst and the admission includes the animal show, museum, and KidZone. Check them out! Great place to visit in Muskoka for the whole family

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