When maple season comes each spring it’s a chance to celebrate this short, but sweet season. Once the sap starts to flow in early spring the race is on to make the most out of maple before the season ends when the warmer weather settles in for good. Use this five-day, four-night itinerary as your framework to explore Ontario’s Highlands’ sweetest spots.

Tip: Don’t delay or you might miss maple season altogether! Strike while the sap boiler – er, iron – is hot.

5-day, 4-night Maple Immersion

Start Here: Lanark Highlands

In Lanark Highlands, the unique topography makes for some unique syrup and fabulous road trips. Travel winding, hilly roads towards McDonald’s Corners to reach your first stops on your maple adventure.


  • Check out the maple museum at Wheelers Pancake House, Sugar Camp & Museums, home to the Guinness World Record of maple artifacts, and filled with some pretty cool stuff that relays the history of maple syrup production in the region.
  • Wander Wheelers’ maple trail and participate in their scavenger hunt.
  • Visit with Wheelers’ on-site sheep, alpacas, and miniature horses.
  • Watch maple syrup being boiled right on site (in season).
  • Stop for a pancake lunch in the pancake house.
  • Make the short drive to Temple’s Sugar Bush to try one of their buttermilk pancake breakfast (open only in March and April).
  • Stock up on maple syrup from either Wheelers or Temple’s.
  • Call ahead and order some maple cider/wine from Ugly Apple Cider and pick up at their farm, just a short drive from McDonald’s Corners.
McDonalds Corners
Lanark County
From Toronto: 317km • 4 hr From Ottawa: 95km • 1 hr 20 min

Visit the McDonald's Mills Farmers Market every Saturday from May to October.  While getting your fresh veggies and local meats, the wood-fired oven pizza is a must!

Time Spent Here: Plan for a few hours here to take in the museum, the grounds and trails, and production facilities. If you will be eating here or at Temple’s Sugar Bush that will also add to your time.

Last Stop: Clyde Hall Bed & Breakfast

Tucked away on a maple forest in Lanark Village is a luxurious bed and breakfast that loves to incorporate maple into its experience.

  • Chat with the owners, Robert and Liisa Salzmann, about their experience in the hospitality industry and Robert’s background as a chef.
  • Tour the beautifully appointed grounds whose beauty is still evident when the ground is covered with snow.
  • Walk into Lanark Village and browse Village Treats to pick up some artisan chocolate (yes, they have maple flavours, too!).
  • Order pizza from Lanark Pizzeria, a local favourite pizzeria that promises plenty of cheese and toppings on a handmade crust.


Lanark County
From Toronto: 325km • 4 hr 10 min From Ottawa: 80km • 1 hr 5 min

Time Spent Here: Plan to arrive at Clyde Hall before it gets dark so you have time to fully enjoy the bed and breakfast and the property as you will be setting out again the next morning, after breakfast.

Start Here: Clyde Hall

You are guaranteed a fabulous night’s sleep in one of the luxuriously appointed rooms at Clyde Hall. Waken refreshed and ready to further your maple adventure in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario.

    • Breakfast at Clyde Hall will no doubt feature a maple component, and the syrup served is that produced from the trees right on the property. This is one meal you won’t want to miss!

    Next Stop: Perth

    Wander through downtown and browse cute boutique shops while you let your maple indulgences settle. Don’t worry, there is plenty of maple inspiration here to keep you occupied.

    • Order a maple latte made with local maple syrup from North Folk Café.
    • If you didn’t eat breakfast at Clyde Hall, there are a few local breakfast spots that feature Lanark County maple syrup, including the popular Penny’s Place and Peter’s Restaurant.
    • Visit the local distillery, Top Shelf Distillers, to sample their Reunion Maple Moonshine, made with Lanark County maple syrup.
    • Tour the Perth Museum to learn all about Perth’s Last Duel and the local geography that produces such fabulous maple products.
    • The Stone Cellar usually has a maple creation on the menu, particularly during maple season!
    • What could be more Canadian than beer and maple syrup? Perth Brewery makes a sweetly delicious O’ Canada Maple Ale that you can sample and purchase from their Highway 7 location.
    • Located right in the downtown, Perth Chocolate Works really gets into the maple theme! Look for maple chocolate suckers, maple bars, maple candy (including a maple cream chocolate you’ll love).
    • Have you ever tried a maple bacon donut? Visit Blackfly Grub Hub to order one of these fan favourites. There will be no going back to regular donuts afterwards.
    • If you are in Perth the last Saturday of April you’ll be just in time for the pinnacle event, the Perth Festival of the Maples. This festival has been running for nearly 50 years and attracts 20,000 visitors each year!
    Lanark County
    From Toronto: 320km • 4 hr From Ottawa: 85km • 1 hr 10 min

    Perth is known as one of Ontario's prettiest towns, and once you visit you won't want to leave.  As a town older than Canada itself, it boosts over 100 designated heritage buildings, with boutique shops, specialty stores, and restaurants to suit your tastes.  Rent a canoe and explore Perth from water on the beautiful Tay Canal.

    Time Spent Here: There is so much to do in Perth you will want to make this your whole day! Expect to be busy for at least four or five hours here. Take your time and savour the sweetness of Perth!

    Last Stop: Parkside Inn & Spa

    Plan to arrive here early enough to take a dip in their saltwater pool, hot tub, and steam room or book a spa treatment in advance.

    • Book a maple manicure from the on-site spa and delight in the smoothness maple syrup adds to the experience.
    • Dinner can be had at any number of local restaurants, like Michael’s Table, Rocky River Café, Maximilians Restaurant (famous for their schnitzel!) or you can stay right at the hotel and dine on-site at The Locks.
    • Watch the sunset as you stroll beneath towering maple trees in Stewart Park, the crown jewel of Perth and located just outside the hotel’s back door.

    Start Here: Parkside Inn & Spa

    Today you will leave behind the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario but don’t worry, there are still plenty of maple experiences on your agenda.

    • Have breakfast right at the hotel or save your appetite for a full pancake breakfast at your next stop, Carleton Place.
    • Catch up on any experiences you didn’t have time for the day before.
    • Drive past Perth’s Mammoth Cheese before heading out on the road.

    Next Stop: Carleton Place

    You won’t be in the car for long this morning – Carleton Place is only 30-kilometres from Perth. Spoiler: they love maple here, too!

    • Have a hearty pancake breakfast at Freska’s on main street in downtown Carleton Place. Enhance your breakfast with a sweet mimosa.
    • Thruway Restaurant on Highway 7 features local maple syrup and makes a killer breakfast.
    • Browse maple cookbooks and local syrup at the Carleton Place Visitor Information Centre, also downtown.
    • The Cheddar Stop on Highway 7 sells delicious  homemade maple fudge as well as various cheeses and ice cream.
    • Pick up a box of donuts from Maverick’s Donuts or Holey Confections – both these locations have their own take on a maple bacon donut that you can compare to find your favourite. If Maverick's is sold out, there is another location in Arnprior.
    • Pick up a picnic lunch in Carleton Place and take it to Riverside Park to eat in your car or on one of the picnic tables beneath towering maple trees (weather permitting).
    • Enjoy a maple-inspired dish at Boulton House on the Mississippi River.
    • The award-winning Black Tartan Kitchen will no doubt have a creative twist on maple dishes, made with locally sourced syrup.
    Carleton Place
    Lanark County
    From Toronto: 360km • 4 hr 30 min From Ottawa: 53km • 50 min

    Park the car and still explore Carleton Place!  The Chamber of Commerce rents out bikes from its downtown office for $5 a day.  Call ahead and reserve to make sure one is available, and grab the free local cycling map to guide your trip.

    Time Spent Here: You will need a few hours to fully explore maple in Carleton Place. If you will be eating breakfast here, plan to head out for the rest of your journey in the early afternoon.

    Next Stop: Almonte

    Only a few kilometres from Carleton Place, Almonte has its fair share of maple fun, too.


    Lanark County
    From Toronto: 360km • 4 hr 30 min From Ottawa: 52km • 50 min

    Dr. James Naismith, the founder of basketball, was born in Almonte, where the original homestead still stands today.  Visit the Dr. James Naismith memorial statue on Mill Street, and get your picture taken with this Canadian legend.

    Time Spent Here: An hour should do it in Almonte, but if you have longer you could plan to add an extra day here and stay at the Riverside Inn to browse the shops downtown.

    Next Stop: Pakenham

    If you blink you may miss the sweet little community of Pakenham, so eyes open!

    • Each year Cartwright Springs bottles up some sweet maple sap and sells it from their brewery. While you’re there pick up a six-pack of their Maple Porter, a complex brew with a nutty finish.
    • Tour an operating sugarbush at Fulton’s Sugar Bush & Maple Shop and learn more about how maple syrup is made from start to finish. Bring your snowshoes to hike their trails; the kids will love an old fashioned horse-drawn wagon ride, too!
    • 1840s General Store is located right in Pakenham can fix you up with a picnic lunch to take with you to Fulton’s Sugar Bush.
    • Invigorate yourself with a cup of coffee from Keepers Coffee Bar and a gluten free treat from 3 Apples Bakery.
    Lanark County
    From Toronto: 377km • 4 hr 40 min From Ottawa: 59km • 50 min

    Cartwright Springs Brewery takes locally-made to a whole new level, using natural water from an artesian spring located on the property, just 15 metres away.

    Times Spent Here: Plan on two hours here in the Pakenham area. Plan to be on the road early enough for you to arrive at your next destination to check in for the night.

    Last Stop: Whitewater Inn

    End your day at Whitewater Inn in Beachburg and get snug and cozy with a delicious meal (on site if you plan ahead).

    • Plan ahead and book one of the Whitewater Inn’s specialty dinners like their Farm 2 Fork or Maple Themed Dinner to end your day.
    • If you are not lucky enough to secure tickets to a themed dinner at the inn, head to Whitewater Brewing Co.s Riverside Brew Pub to order from their delicious and seasonal menu.
    • Get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow you will be visiting more sugarbushes!
    Ottawa Valley
    From Toronto: 410km • 4 hr 39 min From Ottawa: 127km • 1 hr 21 min

    Start Here: Whitewater Inn

    Waken refreshed from your maple adventure and ready for more maple immersion.

    • Have a breakfast of champions before heading out on the road.

    Next Stop: Grants Settlement Farms

    If you can plan your trip to get in the area on a Saturday it will be worth it! Grants Settlement Farms produces wood-fired syrup and is open for tours on Saturdays between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Easter weekend.


    • Hike or snowshoe one of the sugarbush trails right at the sugarbush.
    • Sample fresh maple syrup (let it cool first!).
    • Purchase straight from the farm or stop at the Lakeside General Store in Cobden.
    Foresters Falls
    Ottawa Valley
    From Toronto: 386km • 4 hr 36 min From Ottawa: 120km • 1 hr 16 min

    Forester Falls is located just minutes from the Ottawa River, the most rafted river in North America.  Enjoy the white water paddling, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting int he area  The country roads along rolling farmland are excellent for biking tours.

    Time Spent Here: Plan for one-to-two hours to get the full maple experience here.

    Next Stop: Mapleside Sugarbush

    There is another sugarbush in the area that you will want to visit before you head out to your next stop. Mapleside Sugarbush is a family-owned small farm that produces maple syrup in an old-style sugar shanty over a wood-fired evaporator.

    • Chat with sugarmaker, Ray Bonenberg, about how he produces his maple syrup and the passion he has for the industry.
    • Watch as maple syrup is made on-site.
    • Wander the trails through a maple forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
    • Purchase maple syrup and other maple products to take with you!

    Time Spent Here: Plan for an hour at Mapleside Sugarbush.

    Last Stop: Spectacle Lake Lodge

    Whether you stay in a lodge room or a private cabin at Spectacle Lake Lodge, you will be sure of a good night’s sleep. Take advantage of their gourmet restaurant, bar, and fireside lounge to warm up in.

    • Refuel at the on-site restaurant, Lakeside Smokehouse. Their menu features smoked dishes with gluten free and vegetarian options.
    • If you are in a cabin, put your feet up in front of the gas fireplace and stay toasty.
    • Snowshoe or hike through a winter wonderland on the lodge's wooded property.
    Barry's Bay
    Ottawa Valley
    From Toronto: 315km • 3 hr 50 min From Ottawa: 185km • 2 hr 15 min

    Barry's Bay was once home to Janusz Zurakowski, the chief test pilot for the famous Canadian Avro CF-105. Visit the monument in his honour at Zurakowski Park during your visit here.

    Time Spent Here: Arrive early enough to have time to tour the property before hitting the sack.

    Start Here: Spectacle Lake Lodge

    Don’t skimp on breakfast at the lodge because your day ahead will be busy.

      • Fuel up on a breakfast from the on-site restaurant at the lodge, and have an extra pancake or two (just in case).

      Next Stop: Lavender Family Maple Goodness

      This will be your last stop for your journey, and your last chance to stock up on maple syrup and products.

      • Call ahead to make sure these folks are open, or if you see their signs out, you will know they have fresh baking on hand.
      • Browse a selection of maple baking, fudge, syrup, sugar, butter, spices and more.
      • Ask about their maple jalapeno pickles!
      Hastings County
      From Toronto: 252km • 3 hr From Ottawa: 219km • 2 hr 30 min

      Time Spent Here: Since this is your last stop you can spend as little or as much time here as you want!