The warmer weather of spring is an invitation to get outside and celebrate the change in seasons and the launch of maple syrup season in Ontario. From Toronto, finding a maple experiences means making a short drive north, into the maple forests of Haliburton Highlands, and the mineral rich regions of Hastings and Frontenac counties.


Spring is one of the shortest seasons of the year, and we can feel the urgency to make the most of it before it is gone. Set off on a three-day maple-inspired road trip to celebrate spring in all its glory.

2-night, 3-day Sugarbush-hopping Road Trip from Toronto

Start Here: Wintergreen

Bring a cooler with you because you will want to stock up here at Wintergreen! This sugarbush is open weekends only in March and April so time your visit well to be there on one of those days.

  • Watch maple syrup being made and have a sugar bush tour of the property and production equipment to learn more about how maple syrup is made.
  • Browse their online shop and stock up on the fresh crop of maple syrup and maple products.
  • Pick up a breakfast-to-go to be enjoyed the next day (see Day Two). Wintergreen offers frozen breakfasts of pancakes, French toast, waffles and sausages.
  • Sample maple taffy! (check ahead for when this will be available at the sugarbush)
Haliburton County
From Toronto: 190km • 2 hr 33 min From Ottawa: 310km • 3 hr 45 min

Paddlers will love the Minden Wild Water Preserve.  With 100 acres, the park includes campsites with picnic tables and firepits.  When you're not canoeing or kayaking, take advantage of the 3-kilometres trail system on foot or on your bike.

Time Spent Here: Plan on two-to-three hours at Wintergreen. Take your time, and savour the fresh spring air!

Next Stop: Minden

Head west from Wintergreen to get to Minden, a small community worth exploring if you have the time in your schedule.

    • Stop for a bite to eat at Molly’s Bistro & Bakery – if you haven’t already eaten for the day, their breakfasts are out of this world. Naturally you’ll want yours to come with maple syrup.
    • The thermometer may be hovering around zero but it’s always the right temperature for an ice cream. Swing past Kawartha Dairy for a cone featuring their famous ice cream.
    • Pick up a six-pack of beer from Boshkung Social to enjoy once the sun sets and you’re snug in your room at your accommodation. While not made with maple syrup, their Crème Brulée Dessert Stout is a unique alternative to your standard brews.
    • To get a scope of the lay of the land head to Panorama Park, a lookout that’s easily accessed in winter as well as in summer.

    Time Spent Here: You have a full day ahead so make sure you keep an eye on the time here in Minden. Plan for about an hour before heading to your next stop. 

    Next Stop: Carnarvon

    If you blink you might miss the small community of Carnarvon, just north of Minden.

      • Browse the on-site gallery while also stocking up on maple syrup at Colour of Wood sugarbush. Call in advance to make sure they are open.
      • Stop for lunch or dinner at Rhubarb Restaurant, an unexpected fine dining find in a small community. Rhubarb focuses on sourcing local ingredients when possible so it’s likely you’ll find maple syrup on the menu in spring.
      Haliburton County
      From Toronto: 205km • 2 hr 45 min From Ottawa: 310km • 3 hr 40 min

      Time Spent Here: Plan for two-to-three hours if you are able to visit both the sugarbush and stop for a meal at Rhubarb.

      Last Stop: Heather Lodge

      You’ll need to backtrack about 5 kilometres down Highway 35 from Carnarvon to reach Heather Lodge, tucked away on the shores of Twelve Mile Lake.

      • If you elected not to eat in Carnarvon, you’ll be in for a treat with a made-from-scratch meal at the on-site restaurant, prepared by Chef James.
      • Relax in your room at the lodge – if you reserve the Lakeview Studio you’ll have a wood-burning fireplace to cuddle up in front of after dinner.

      If there is no room at the lodge, some other options are Ogopogo Resort on Mountain Lake, or if you’re willing to drive a half-hour you can stay at one of the beautiful Maple Creek Cabins, in Dorset.  

      Start Here: Heather Lodge

      Just for couples, Heather Lodge is the perfect place to regroup at the end of the day. Enjoy a breakfast of champions prepared by culinary wizard, Chef James, so you will be prepared for your day ahead. 

      • Have a luxurious breakfast on-site and make sure it includes maple syrup.
      • Take an hour or so to get out on the spring trails at nearby Dahl Forest. The lodge includes snowshoe and cross country ski equipment in your accommodation package.

      Next Stop: Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve

      Haliburton Forest spans 100,000 acres and 100 lakes, and is home to millions of trees, much of which are the coveted sugar maple, the resource for our beloved maple syrup. Sustainably managed, Haliburton Forest offers a wealth of activities to experience. Plan for a full day here!


      • Book Yours Outdoors Maple Slurp experience, that takes you through the on-site sugarbush to the old sugarshack where maple syrup was once made. Learn about the journey from sap to syrup and end your experience with a pancake meal at Truss Foodworks.
      • Kids will love this one! Yours Outdoors offers a Family Maple Magic two-hour experience that teaches youth the ins and outs of maple syrup production that includes a pancake meal.
      • Stop for a warm and smokey lunch at the on-site Truss Foodworks.
      • Rent a set of snowshoes from Haliburton Forest and explore the lengthy trail system at the forest.
      • Browse the Paddle Shop and see if they have any sugar maple paddles available for sale. Once you use a handcrafted paddle you won’t be able to go back to a regular one!
      Dysart et al
      Haliburton County
      From Toronto: 285km • 3 hr 16 min From Ottawa: 316km • 3 hr 49 min

      Time Spent Here: There is a full-day of maple adventure here. If you don’t want to leave you can also book one of the forest’s cabins and spend the night in the midst of maple syrup country.

      Next Stop: Haliburton

      The small town of Hailburton is en route to your accommodation, so why not take the opportunity to explore a little? If you didn’t grab your dinner at Truss Foodworks in Haliburton Forest, you’ll find a few options here.


      • Learn about the history of the area, including its lumber industry that flourished thanks to the wealth of diverse woodland that contributes to the region’s maple heritage at the Haliburton Highlands Museum.
      • Pick up some cool swag to remember your trip at Up River Trading Co. in the heart of Haliburton.
      • If you’re not all outdoors-ed out, explore outdoor art at the Haliburton Sculpture Forest.
      • One of McKeck’s Tap & Grill’s artisan pizzas will be the perfect ending to a perfectly sweet day.
      • The Dominion Hotel is offering a total maple blitz on April 6 and 7, 2024, in honour of Maple Weekend. Try their maple glazed salmon, sugar maple pulled pork sandwich, taphouse poutine with maple BBQ sauce, or even a maple hot chocolate. 
      • In honour of Maple Weekend, April 6 and 7, 2024, Hook, Line & Sinker is offering cheesy bacon French toast or cedar plank maple salmon, finished off wtih mini maple donuts, and a maple bourbon fizz cocktail. 
      Haliburton County
      From Toronto: 215km • 2 hr 55 min From Ottawa: 285km • 3 hr 15 min

      In addition to its' stunning scenery, Haliburton is home to a thriving arts community.  With plenty of galleries dotting the countryside, a must-visit is the renowned Haliburton Sculpture Forest, a unique outdoor collection of sculptures by Canadian and international artists.

      Time Spent Here: Plan on one-to-two hours here, especially if you will be stopping for a bite to eat.

      Last Stop: Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa

      This will be your last night on this maple immersion so make the most of it! Relax and enjoy your evening in a beautiful inn tucked away on scenic Eagle Lake.

      • Swing past the Eagle Lake Country Store on your way to your accommodation to pick up some Winterdance maple syrup, produced a few kilometres north at Winterdance Dogsled Tours.
      • If you haven’t already had your dinner, Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa’s on-site restaurant, Twin Fires, is worth the wait.
      • If you plan ahead you can book a spa service to relax with on the day of your arrival, or to start your day before you leave tomorrow.
      Eagle Lake
      Haliburton County
      From Toronto: 266km • 2 hr 52 min From Ottawa: 298km • 3 hr 30 min

      With a rich history in the Haliburton Highlands area, Sir Sam's Ski/Ride is every adventure's dream in both the summer and winter.  This picturesque ski hill overlooking Eagle Lake is perfect for mountain biking for every skill-level, with a walk-on, walk-off covered lift perfect for beginners.  You can ride, run, or hike over 100 acres of ancient Canadian Shielf and hardwood forest.

      Start Here: Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa

      Enjoy a breakfast of champions at Twin Fires before heading out for the day. Take your time enjoying the luxury of your room as you will be spending a longer amount of time in the car today.


      Next Stop: Esson Creek Maple

      Esson Creek is another sugarbush you will enjoy visiting – chat with the owners and learn all about how they use reverse osmosis and a state-of-the-art tubing system to make their syrup. Book an appointment ahead of time to make sure they are available to welcome you.

      • Take a guided tour of the sugarbush to learn how these folks make maple syrup (book in advance). Each tour includes taffy and a bottle of maple syrup to take home with you.
      • Visit the sugarhouse in March and April to watch syrup being made from the 2,200 taps located on their untouched maple forest.
      Haliburton County
      From Toronto: 245km • 2 hr 55 min From Ottawa: 265km • 3 hr 10 min

      At Greenmantle Farm, experience land that has not been touched since the ice age.  Book a guided tour to see rare minerals on undisturbed land.  While there, purchase some of their local maple syrup from Esson Creek Farm, and find out how minerals in the soil create the best tasting maple syrup.

      Time Spent Here: Tours are between one and one-and-a-half hours, but you could spend much longer here.

      Next Stop: Madoc

      At the crossroads of highways 7 and 62 sits the small community of Madoc – worth a stop since you will be passing through on your way to Sharbot Lake.

      • Take a walk through the trails at O’Hara Mill Homestead – see if you can find one of the three geocaches in the conservation area.
      • If you will be passing through on March 16 you can take part in their sugarbush demonstration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
      • 7/62 Brewery is named after the crossroads of highways 7 and 62, and their brews are as local as their name. Any one of them would pair well with maple syrup.
      • See what they have on hand featuring local maple syrup at Hidden Goldmine Bakery, located right in the heart of Madoc. You won’t go wrong with one of their famous butter tarts.
      Hastings County
      From Toronto: 210km • 2 hr 30 min From Ottawa: 195km • 2 hr 20 min

      A trip to Madoc isn't complete without a stop to the Hidden Goldmine Bakery for a delicious cinnamon roll or butter tart.  Get a flavour for Madoc's gold rush history at this quaint bakery nestled on the historic main street.

      Time Spent Here: You should be able to explore the mill and also pick up a six-pack of beer and some fresh baking in two hours here.

      Last Stop: Sharbot Lake (Optional)

      The town of Sharbot Lake divides the lake itself into two halves and is a great spot to stop for a few hours, if you have the time.

      What to do here

      • Try the Cardinal Café’s homemade donuts, especially their maple bacon donut, a local favourite that’s made with syrup locally produced by Conboy Maple Syrup.
      • A visit to Sharbot Lake in maple season isn’t complete without a stop at the local sugarbush, Conboy Maple Syrup. Call ahead to make sure they are open for visitors that day.
      • Trek the K&P Trail that runs through Sharbot Lake; bring snowshoes if you have them although frequent traffic on the trail keeps it manageable on foot as well.
      • Stop for lunch or dinner at The Crossing Pub – try the local favourite, Frontenac Sweet and Sour Sandwich.
      Sharbot Lake
      Frontenac County
      From Toronto: 290km • 3 hr 20 min From Ottawa: 120km • 1 hr 35 min

      Time Spent Here: Plan for a few hours in Sharbot Lake, especially if you are able to include a visit to Conboys.