Winter in Muskoka is fast becoming as popular as any other season in the province’s favourite vacation destination. Nancy Tapley from Bondi Cottage Resort shares some ways delighted visitors are embracing snow in Ontario’s cottage country.
It’s hard to list all the great adventures to be found in North Muskoka in winter because there is so much going on, but let me give it a try! To start, a lot of people aren’t aware that Muskoka is home to a wonderful family ski hill. Book a getaway this winter for some downhill thrills at Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in Huntsville. This spot is the ‘home hill’ for slope-style Olympic gold medalist Dara Howell, who grew up next door to Cedar Grove Lodge on Peninsula Lake and at her uncle’s vacation property, Colonial Bay Cottage Resort. Families can learn to ski or enjoy an easy day on the same runs as our hometown champ.
A highlight of the season in these parts is the Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin Park, not far from Blue Spruce Resort, with this year’s event taking place on February 18, 2017. Try some great outdoor winter adventure, like snow shoe trekking and Nordic skiing – and get a taste of what winter camping entails. It’s a great event to embrace the best that winter has to offer. You’ll love it – especially the outdoor fire.
Local winter carnivals are fantastic fun for the whole family as well, including the annual Dwight Winter Carnival on February 9 & 10. The 46th annual edition of this heart-warming event will feature neat events like horse and pony rides, bodyzorbs (hilarious!), laser tag, skating, and more.
At the Dorset Snowball Winter Carnival on February 17 & 18, attend the pancake breakfasts, chain-saw carving competitions, horse-drawn wagon rides, and the polar bear dip (for heartier souls).
Once the really cold temperatures stick around for a bit, you’ll see resort owners checking ice conditions on the lakes as we are eager to get the outdoor skating rinks in shape. Various rinks smoothed out by some of the RESORTS OF NORTH MUSKOKA are a highlight of a visit for many winter guests. What an unforgettable experience it is for anyone who’s been stuck in an arena too long to glide along an extended lake shore or play a game of shinny hockey on a rink with snow banks!
Of course the most impressive outdoor rink in all of Ontario is located at Arrowhead Provincial Park.
This spectacular Ice Trail that’s a 1.3 km loop through a snow-tipped forest has caught the attention of everyone looking for an authentic, Canadian outdoor winter experience. (Be sure to ask your resort staff about the epic “Fire & Ice” nights at the Ice Trail, where you can enjoy an evening skate guided by tiki torch lights.)
Arrowhead also has 30 kms of exceptional Nordic ski trails and a fantastic tubing hill. Any of the RESORTS OF NORTH MUSKOKA that are open in winter offer great trails as well for skiing and snowshoeing – or they will gladly point you in the right direction.
Solid ice formation on the various lakes also brings out the fishermen and women, who often depart from any of the open RESORTS OF NORTH MUSKOKA to a lucky spot on the bay. Head to Dwight Bay (see photo of a Northern Pike below) where two rivers converge and the fish do too.
Trail updates from the Algonquin Snowmobile Club – which boasts of keeping the best-groomed trails in Ontario! – help us tell our guests where to find the best riding north of Toronto, and for many resorts, the trails start right at our properties. Avid sledders know that we are a great place to start and finish the famous Round Algonquin Park trail, an epic ride in one of the most beautiful parts of the province. (Snowmobile rentals can be arranged, delivered right to the resort you are staying at; just ask the staff when you book your getaway. Ask about trail pass requirements as well.)
Photo opportunities are absolutely amazing at this time of year – and winter results in some of the most stunning pictures you’ll ever take. In the mornings, when the snow is fresh, sparkling and smooth, check for wildlife tracks across the resort lawns, and watch for the action once the bird feeders have been topped up.
A wonderful thing about staying at one of the many RESORTS OF NORTH MUSKOKA in winter is that when you step outside of your fine accommodations, you can set off with skis or snowshoes, or just start hiking with your camera in hand. Open that door and all the amazing winter activities you’re wanting to experience are waiting for you. Resort staff are happy to show you the way if you’ve never tried these things before.
But perhaps best part of an exceptional winter’s day in the wilderness north of Toronto is coming back into the warm, welcoming cottages and lodges of the RESORTS OF NORTH MUSKOKA to curl up with good friends and a warm drink next to a blazing fireplace. Then to laugh and share your day, and to watch the enchanting beauty of a serene winter through the frosted window. What’s not to love!
Join us in North Muskoka – the ‘gateway to Algonquin Park’ – this winter for all the fun and beauty you can handle. See you in the great outdoors!
Resorts of North Muskoka Welcome You In Winter
Beauview Cottage Resort
Blue Spruce Resort
Bondi Cottage Resort
Cedar Grove Lodge
Colonial Bay Cottages
Logging Chain Lodge
Norsemen Walker Lake Resort
Tally Ho Inn
BOOK YOUR GETAWAY TODAY
Guest Blogger: Nancy Tapley
Nancy is the co-owner of Bondi Cottage Resort, a local councillor for the Township of Lake of Bays, international-level equestrian coach and a freelance writer who rarely has time to sleep. She lives at the resort with her family, Taffy the wonder dog, six horses, 27 chickens, and a famous cat who paints with his tail for charity.