This summer, we recommend trading in the hustle and bustle of the city for something much more serene and green. Leave behind concrete buildings and paved streets for towering trees and winding trails; and get a sense for nature in Ontario’s Highlands.
Engage all five senses – taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound – in the natural world as you expand your mind and delight your soul during one of the following experiences.
Indulge in the Taste of Nature
Forage the woods, wetlands, and roadsides of the Haliburton Highlands to truly get a taste of nature during a Wild Edibles Experience with Yours Outdoors. Discover incredible ingredients covering the land and learn how to identify and harvest the choicest parts of wild edibles before enjoying a fresh meal made from your harvest. Taste the golden notes of cattail pollen, sip in the healing goodness of Chaga tea, and indulge in the tart notes of pickled day lily buds.
Insider Tip: Make a day of it! Add on to your Wild Edibles Experience to do a full Stray Cats Tour with Yours Outdoors and spend time discovering more natural wonders, wandering the back roads, and embracing the warm hospitality of locals.
Marvel at the Sight of Nature
Discover the sparkling night sky, free from light pollution, at the Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area or the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve. Wonder at the realm outside our planet and let your eyes trail over the constellations and celestial beauty above. Want a little expert guidance? Visit during a stargazing event to take in a laser light tour.
Insider Tip: The beauty of these observation areas is that they’re away from light pollution, which essentially means: they’re dark. Pack a small, dim flashlight to see where you’re walking and try to visit on a moonless or close to moonless night to see the most stars and get the best views of the Milky Way.
Discover the Touch of Nature
Be amazed by the unique geological formations and rich mineral deposits that cover Haliburton County during an Ontario Signature Experience, Haliburton Rocks, with Yours Outdoors. Follow a knowledgeable geologist to view the rare mineral fluororichterite, as well as many others, at Green Mantle Farm Mineral Occurrence – a site never disturbed by modern man. Fill up with a delicious ‘Rock Cuisine’ lunch provided by AM/PM Outdoor Gourmet before trying your own hand at rock hounding as you collect gems to remind you of your visit at Schickler Occurrence and other sites.
Insider Tip: The municipality of Highlands East makes up the Geocaching Capital of Canada so be sure to pack your GPS and make time for a treasure hunt or two during your visit.
Breathe in the Smell of Nature
Wander the plots at Abbey Gardens row by row to delight your nose with lush pollinating flowers, rich herbs, and fresh veggies, and expand your knowledge through the interpretive signage. Celebrate sustainability as you wander the trails, visit with heritage breed ponies and chickens, and explore the fresh produce in the Food Hub. Breathe in the scent of freshly roasted coffee and on Thursdays, indulge in wood-fired pizza loaded up with local and seasonal ingredients.
Insider Tip: Not only is this sustainable hub filled with lush gardens, spring-fed ponds, animal paddocks, and local food, but it’s also home to Haliburton Highlands Brewing. Pop into the brewery to delight your taste buds with local beers inspired by the natural elements of the Highlands, and keep your nose engaged with hoppy notes, malty bouquets, and the sweet scent of honey.
Sway to the Sound of Nature
Discover the dynamics of the wolf pack – how they hunt, travel, and live together – and the way they’ve been viewed by humans for centuries at the Haliburton Wolf Centre. Spend a Thursday evening in July or August becoming enthralled by these impressive creatures during a Wolf Howl Experience and feel goose bumps form on your arms from the building excitement as your guide engages the resident pack in a round of howls. Though a response from the pack isn’t guaranteed, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll be hearing this powerful group howl back.
Insider Tip: Immerse yourself in nature by walking amongst the treetops during a Canopy Tour before you become one with the pack. Breathe in the fresh air, sway with the trees, and drink in the views from the top along more than half a kilometre canopy boardwalk.