Craving outdoor adventure? Huntsville and Lake of Bays have got you covered. Here you’ll find forests to explore from both trails and treetops, on foot or two wheels; target practice, lumberjack-style; abundant waterways for both adrenaline-fueled watersports and peaceful paddling; and more!
Check out six ways to indulge your wanderlust in Huntsville and Lake of Bays this summer. Muskoka’s adventurous spirit is yours to discover.
Take a Hike
From urban trails that belie their in-town location to protected parks that preserve their wild nature for all to enjoy, Huntsville and Lake of Bays offer some of the best hiking around. Skirting pristine lakes, ascending to lookouts with stunning vistas, and meandering through the dappled sunlight of towering trees, North Muskoka’s hiking trails will satisfy the longings of every adventurer.
In the heart of Huntsville, two unique trails provide wilderness vibes just steps from downtown shops and restaurants. Lions Lookout Trail follows the shore of the Muskoka River to where it flows into Fairy Lake before circling around to join the road to the lookout. After taking in the stellar views, you can retrace your steps for a dip at Camp Kitchen. At just 1.3km, your hike will leave plenty of time to explore more of Huntsville. Or take in Hunters Bay Trail, a 4.6km section of the nationwide Trans Canada Trail. With shoreline views of the Muskoka River and Hunters Bay, a century-old orchard, and two floating boardwalks, there’s delight to be found around every bend.
Just north of Huntsville, Arrowhead Provincial Park’s five trails range from the brief but spectacular Big Bend Lookout, to an easy trek to Stubb’s Falls, to the 7km Beaver Meadow Trail with the possibility of wildlife sightings of beavers, otters, and majestic moose.
In Lake of Bays, a short drive east of Huntsville, Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve offers more than a dozen trails featuring waterfalls and quiet lakes, lookouts, rest cabins, and abundant wildlife including osprey and loons, beavers and otters, deer and moose. It’s a hikers paradise, open for free day use from 9-5. Continue east on Highway 60 for a stop at the scenic Oxtongue Rapids Park & Trail which has one of the most peaceful picnic spots in the area.
And don’t forget renowned Algonquin Provincial Park – it’s on bucket lists the world over for a reason. Twenty interpretive walking trails, most easily accessible from Highway 60, each highlight the many aspects of the park from its history to its unique landscape. Off the beaten path there’s even a crater formed by an ancient meteorite millions of years ago.
Change Your Perspective: Explore the Forest Canopy
Why keep your feet on the ground when you can play amidst the treetops?
For unforgettable forest fun, visit Huntsville’s Treetop Trekking where you and your partner, friends, or family can zip, swing, and climb in a variety of aerial games that would make Tarzan jealous. Or up the adventure ante with a thrilling night trek, where you’ll strap on a headlamp and experience the aerial course under the stars. These exhilarating experiences are suitable for ages 9 and up, but wee adventurers can become forest explorers in ground-level games with just as much excitement.
Release Your Inner Lumberjack: Axe-throwing Adventures
There’s nothing quite as primal as sending an axe flying through the forest. It’s lumberjack-approved, no plaid required.
For a unique twist on this popular activity, visit Find Your Wild Bush Poker Axe Throwing where you’ll build a poker hand with every target hit. Best hand wins: will you get the Royal Flush? You can free your inner Katniss, too, by adding archery to your fun.
At Zig Zag Axe Throwing, you can add some mystery to your axe-throwing adventure with one of four themed escape rooms – The Artist is Missing, Sven’s Last Secret, the steampunk Kraken’s Casino, and Uncle Tick Tock’s Travelling Circus. Find your escape before the clock runs out!
Pedal On: The Thrill of the Ride
If you love two wheels more than four, you’ll find energizing excitement at the Hidden Valley Mountain Biking Trails just a 10-minute drive from downtown Huntsville.
Enjoy 5km of riding on eight trails built on the slopes of Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area by local biking enthusiasts of the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association. These multi-use trails are free for public use, with options for beginners and experienced riders alike. From the top of the slopes, pause to take in the gorgeous view of Peninsula Lake, too.
Need to buy or rent some wheels? The knowledgeable staff at local bike shops can hook you up. Algonquin Outfitters has new bikes for sale at its Huntsville store, and summer rentals at its Lake of Two Rivers location in Algonquin Park, while both The Bike Shop in Huntsville and Muskoka Bicycle Pro Shop can set you up with a new ride. All three have a repair shop if your beloved ride needs some TLC, along with all the accessories and apparel you’ll need for a great day on the trails.
Ramp Up the Excitement: Watersports Galore!
If your speed is more thrill than chill, there’s no shortage of watersports to get your fill, from waterskiing to tubing, wakeboarding to wakesurfing, and even flyboarding.
SWS (Summer Water Sports) at Deerhurst Resort and the Lake of Bays Marina Watersport Academy offer lessons and sessions in all your favourite watersports and some you’ve likely never tried before. Unleash the superhero inside on a flyboard, or get some West Coast vibes with some wakesurfing. SWS even has a cable park where first-timers can learn wakeboarding and wakesurfing, or more experienced riders can perfect their skills.
The experienced instructors at both locations will have even newbies up and rocking the Muskoka waves in no time.
Find Your Zen: Paddle the Pristine Lakes and Rivers of Huntsville, Lake of Bays, and Algonquin Park
There’s nothing quite as peaceful as an early-morning paddle along the shoreline, the mist rising off the water as a loon calls in the distance.
No matter what time of day you go, there are hundreds of waterways to explore in North Muskoka and Algonquin Park by canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. From winding rivers lined by towering, centuries-old trees, to wide-open lakes, both beginners and experienced paddlers will find the perfect paddling destination in Huntsville, Lake of Bays, and Algonquin Park.
Huntsville’s chain of four lakes, linked by the Muskoka River and a historic canal, are easily accessible from the docks right downtown and many put-in points around town. The Big East River offers a water route into Arrowhead Provincial Park, where there are also two picturesque lakes to paddle and a large swimming area next to a sandy beach for a cool dip on a warm day.
On the Oxtongue River, stretching from Lake of Bays through Oxtongue Lake to the boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park, you can revel in the same sights as the famed Group of Seven painters, and paddle to not one but two spectacular waterfalls: the Oxtongue Rapids just east of Lake of Bays, and Ragged Falls near Algonquin Park. And of course, Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the world’s best paddling destinations, with hundreds of acres of unspoiled wilderness to discover.
Explore on your own with rentals from Algonquin Outfitters locations in Huntsville, Oxtongue Lake, and Algonquin Park, The Portage Store in Algonquin Park, or at the visitors’ centre at Arrowhead Provincial Park.
Want someone to show the ropes and the region’s paddling hotspots? Take a guided tour!
For stand-up paddleboard (SUP) adventures, Find Your Wild has leisurely half-day or full-day excursions on Huntsville’s Big East River, or a full-day option on the Oxtongue River. Safari & Company offers a variety of SUP adventures on Lake of Bays.
If classic canoeing is more your style, Algonquin Adventure Tours, Algonquin Bound Outfitters, Wilderness Adventures, and MHO Adventures have single- and multi-day trips that will take you off the beaten path into stunning, untouched wilderness. It’s the experience of a lifetime.
Outdoor adventure awaits! Huntsville, Lake of Bays, and Algonquin Provincial Park are the ideal destination to quench your thirst for the outdoors. Let your adventurous spirit roam free.