The day trip is a quintessential Canadian get-away. Nothing compares to the freedom of hitting the open road and heading out to discover something new and exciting.  If you’re looking for adventure combined with iconic cottage country landscapes, Huntsville and Lake of Bays offers a multitude of options, with hiking and walking trails that lead you to sweeping vistas, crystal blue lakes and lush green forests. Whether you are looking for an epic challenge, a walk steeped in history or simply a gentle stroll, the region has a trail for you. Top it off with unique shopping and exceptional dining and you’ve got the perfect day trip. Here’s a list to get you inspired. Next stop…Huntsville and Lake of Bays!

As an added bonus, this summer, Huntsville and Lake of Bays are participating in the Cottage Country Spirit program to give you the opportunity to fully explore the very best the region has to offer. While you’re taking advantage of the incredible hiking in the area, you can also embrace your adventurous spirit, uncover a new culinary delight and spend a couple of nights being pampered at a destination close to home. Huntsville and Lake of Bays is the perfect region to experience a day of hiking and use your travel vouchers. Scroll through to the bottom of the page for a list of the businesses waiting to welcome you and provide you with a unique shopping, dining or outdoor experience as well as the ideal place to stay if your day trip spills into a weekend or even a full week.

Algonquin Park Hiking

Algonquin Provincial Park was the first provincial park in Ontario and is world renowned for its wilderness and adventure opportunities. Algonquin has 20 interpretive hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. If you’re up for a challenge, the flagship Centennial Ridges Trail is a 10km loop with cliff-top views over the treeline and Whitefish Lake. For a gentler hike try the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail which runs 1.5km through two unique spruce bogs. From scenic lookouts to rushing rapids, Algonquin provides the opportunity to head into nature and explore the rugged terrain that has made the park famous. With beaches for swimming and restaurants/cafés for coffee and ice cream, the park has all the ingredients for the perfect day trip. If you’re looking for a guided hike, try out Algonquin Adventure Tours who are there to provide educational tours showcasing everything Algonquin Park has to offer!

Lake of Bays Hiking

Echo Valley Nature and Bike Trails are located just outside the community of Dwight. There are more than 10km of multi-use trails perfect for hiking and cycling. The Main Loop includes a boardwalk and several bridges as it winds through mature forests and a significant wetland area. There is ample parking and a map at the trailhead, and the trails themselves are well marked and maintained by the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association.

The Heritage Walking Tours located in the communities of Baysville, Dorset and Dwight are the perfect way for history lovers to get outside while learning about the region’s unique heritage. There are three walking tours available, each with downloadable guides with maps and fun historical tidbits about heritage buildings and the characters who built them.  Choose just one or follow the Scenic Drive and explore all three! Each community has unique restaurants, cafés and bakeries to fuel your trip back in time.

Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve is a publicly accessible, private year-round wilderness haven with 20 lakes and more than 10,000 unspoiled acres of mixed forest. The reserve contains more than 70km of multi-use trails that are available to the public free of charge. There are 8 principal trails that wind along shorelines and rise to scenic lookouts. Download a trail map and fill out a safety waiver online before hitting the trails.

The Oxtongue Rapids Trail winds 2km along the shore of the Oxtongue River. The rugged terrain highlights the river and its many rapids as well as mature forests and provides excellent opportunities to see birds and wildlife. There is also a picnic area and a historical monument documenting the river’s history.

The hike to Ragged Falls on the Oxtongue River might only be 1km long, but the views over the stunning waterfall have captured the imagination of settlers, paddlers and even Group of Seven painter A.J. Casson. Listen to the roar of the river and hike beside the falls to check out multiple vantage points. Be sure to snap a pic – this is one view you will want to capture!


Huntsville Hiking

Arrowhead Provincial Park is one of the jewels of Ontario’s park system, located inside the Town of Huntsville’s borders. The park has 5 official hiking trails to choose from with varying levels of difficulty. The 2km Stubbs Falls trail is perhaps the most popular as it winds through the forest and ends with a view of the Little East River rushing down a rock chute. The Big Bend Lookout trail is a gentle walk that leads to a lookout platform high above the winding Big East River. Arrowhead has a large beach for swimming and offers canoe and paddleboard rentals for exploring the lake and river. The park is the perfect place to spend a day in the classic Muskoka outdoors.

If you are looking for a gentle walk, the athletic tracks at Conroy Park and Lions Lookout offer a level surface bordered by forests teeming with birds and small wildlife. The track at Conroy Park is a 400 metre rubberized surface while the Lions Lookout track is a gravel oval located in a natural, rocky bowl. The hike up to the lookout is steep but offers unparalleled views of the town. Muskoka Heritage Place is also within walking distance of both tracks and allows visitors to travel through a restored village with original buildings dating between 1860 and 1910. With period activities such as candle making and a working blacksmith shop, Muskoka Heritage place provides an active outdoor experience that is fun for the whole family.

The Fairy Vista Trail is a 3.4km paved trail that wanders through fields, forests and wetlands. Just outside of Huntsville (with parking off of Highway #60), the trail has some moderate climbs and provides opportunities to see wildlife and waterfowl and to listen to a variety of songbirds along its multi-use route. Close to Huntsville’s amenities, the Fairy Vista Trail is an excellent addition to any day trip to the region.

The Hunter’s Bay Trail is part of Canada’s Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail) and travels 5km along the Muskoka River and Hunter’s Bay, beginning in downtown Huntsville. A must-see attraction, the trail features two long sections of floating boardwalk where you can literally walk above the surface of the bay. The trail also wanders through a stand of white birch and a section of forest so lush it feels as though you are exploring a tunnel. At the centre of the trail, Huntsville’s Avery Beach Park offers swimming, a picnic area and a public boat launch. The trail’s central location means you can also take advantage of Historic Downtown Huntsville’s quaint main street. It’s got great shopping, restaurants and more importantly, ice cream and other treats to cap off your hike. 

Hunters Bay Trail

The Group of Seven Outdoor Mural Gallery is a unique outdoor experience celebrating the work of Tom Thomson and Canada’s famous Group of Seven artists. Nearly 100 of the Group’s most famous paintings have been recreated in breath-taking size and detail and displayed outdoors in Huntsville, Algonquin Park, Dorset, Dwight and Port Cunnington. The online map provides the location of the murals in each community, including 33 that are within easy walking distance of one another in Downtown Huntsville. Take a few hours or a full day to see as many murals as possible and don’t forget to stop and indulge in a great meal or new shopping experience while you’re here.

If you’re looking for a day trip with lots to do, Huntsville and Lake of Bays has it all: majestic scenery, hiking and walking trails, unique history and tons of food and shopping experiences.  Located in the heart of cottage county, a short drive can bring you to places you never knew existed. Use this guide to create your own outdoor adventure bucket list and head to the region. Whether it’s a challenging hike in rugged terrain or a stroll through our historic communities, you’ll be inspired by the landscape and the people of Huntsville and Lake of Bays.

If you have participated in the Cottage Country Spirit Local Travel Package, Huntsville and Lake of Bays is the perfect region to use your travel vouchers. Below is a list of the businesses waiting to welcome you and provide you with a unique shopping, dining or outdoor experience as well as the ideal place to stay if your day trip spills into a weekend or even a full week.






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