Adventure in Your Backyard: Explore Arrowhead Provincial Park

It’s not often you can get away from it all without being very far away, but you can at Arrowhead Provincial Park, just a short 8 km from Downtown Huntsville, where you can experience North Muskoka’s beautiful landscape while still having multiple amenities just minutes away.

The park opened for camping in 1966 and was officially established as a provincial park in 1971. It immediately became a popular attraction for its natural beauty, stunning waterways, and dense mature forests.


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Big Bend Lookout offers one of the most picturesque vistas in all of Muskoka. It’s part of the provincially significant Big East River Delta, which was formed millenia ago by sand and gravel deposited by meltwater from glacial Lake Algonquin. At the lookout, you can see the layers of silt and sand in the exposed glacial delta along the shore of the Big East River. Over centuries, the meandering river’s flow has formed a significant bend, one that will, many more years in the future, eventually close itself off to form an oxbow lake. 

Stubb’s Falls is an equally popular photogenic stop. Here, the Little East River cascades down a granite chute lined by towering trees. An easy two-kilometre trail loop passes over a bridge above the falls.

Both offer spectacular views in the fall as Mother Nature puts on her annual show.

Stubbs Falls Arrowhead


More Insta-worthy activities at Arrowhead Provincial Park

Don’t stop there! Arrowhead has tons to offer outdoor enthusiasts, year-round.

Camping and cabins

Why play for just the day when you can make a multi-day adventure out of it?

Arrowhead has three campgrounds with sites suitable for tents, trailers, and RVs. Or book a rustic cabin in the winter months, complete with a microwave, mini-fridge, mattress, propane or electric fireplace, and gas barbecue. It’s the perfect way to spend a few winter days.


Biking

The multi-use Arrowhead Lake Trail (4.5 km) circles beautiful Arrowhead Lake for a double-track, family-friendly ride. The single-track multi-use Lookout Trail (3 km) takes you through a mature forest with views over the park. Bike rentals are available at the Visitor Centre.


Birding

With its abundant forests and wetlands, Arrowhead is a great place for bIrding whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong bird enthusiast. Many species of birds can be found in Arrowhead ⁠— among those you might spot are: great blue heron, barred owl, pileated woodpecker, sandhill crane, osprey, cedar waxwing, Eastern bluebird, and dozens more!

A bird list is available at the main gate. Add some to your life list!


Paddling

Canoes, kayaks, and SUPs are the ideal way to explore the shorelines of Arrowhead and Mayflower lakes. With motorized boats prohibited, the waters are smooth and clear. Look for birds nesting on the shoreline, a beaver paddling toward home, or maybe an elusive moose munching at waters’ edge. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and PFDs are available for rent at the Visitor Centre.

Paddling Arrowhead


Fishing

If angling is your thing, Mayflower Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, while Arrowhead Lake is a great place to net some small mouth bass. A valid fishing licence and outdoors card are required for fishing in the park.


Hiking

The short Big Bend Lookout trail offers a birds-eye view of the Big East River from atop the remains of a glacial delta. 

The Mayflower Lake (1 km) and Stubb’s Falls (2 km) trails take just 30-45 minutes to complete. Mayflower is a deep, spring-fed lake where you might spot a Rainbow Trout in the shallows or a beaver swimming by. At Stubb’s Falls, the Little East River spills down a rock chute that you can observe from either the banks or a bridge above.

Homesteaders Trail (3 km) passes through an area cleared by early settlers in the 1870s. The farm has been long-abandoned and reclaimed by forest, but you can still see remnants of the lives that once called it home.

Arrowhead’s longest trail, the Beaver Meadow Trail (7 km), circles a large beaver pond where sightings of beavers, otters, moose, and great blue herons are a possibility. Look for remnants of the old Oke homestead, including building foundations and apple trees and imagine what life might have been like here more than a century ago.

Hiking Arrowhead


Swimming

There are three quiet, clean, sandy beaches on Arrowhead Lake to enjoy, including two beach areas where you and your pup can make a splash! Ramp up the fun for the kiddos by renting a water pad from the Visitor Centre.


Winter fun

Be sure to make Arrowhead a stop for your winter adventures! 

From 28 km of classic cross-country ski trails and 16 km skate ski trails, Arrowhead is an incredible venue for beginner and expert skiers alike. The annual and fun Muskoka Loppet takes place here every January challenge yourself!

Explore the park’s 8 km of snowshoe trails, or make your own tracks through the forest.

Arrowhead’s most well-known attraction is its 1.3 km ice trail, and its ever-popular Fire and Ice Nights when the trail is lit up for a magical night-time skate.

Ice skates, snowshoes, classic and skate-ski rentals are available at the Visitor Centre, where you can also warm up post-fun next to the fireplace.

Snowshoeing Arrowhead


Even if you don’t need rentals, be sure to stop in at the Visitor Centre, summer and winter, and check out the park store for camping supplies, snacks, and souvenirs from your stay.

An Ontario Parks permit is required for day use at Arrowhead. Day use activities are included with your camping permit.

For more information, visit https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/arrowhead.

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