*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.
Thanksgiving dinner is something we dream about all year long – the perfectly roasted turkey dishes up with cranberry sauce, potatoes and veggies, and often paired with more than one glass of wine or a cold pint of beer or cider, not to mention the dessert.
Unfortunately, when the cranberry sauce is gone, the turkey’s been eaten and you aren’t sure you can put one more bite into your mouth, you know Thanksgiving is officially over. And if the button on your pants is undone when the turkey dust has settled, don’t sweat it.
Sure for the past few days you may have been making strategic decisions about calorie intake (otherwise known as the “wine over food” debate) but after a whole weekend dedicated to family time and ample turkey consumption, there’s still time to work off your meal.
Instead of heading to the gym work off your dinner, take your workout to the great outdoors with one of these Ontario’s Highlands’ activities. Best enjoyed with family or friends in your social bubble, you won’t need to worry about crowds out in the endless forests and waterways of Ontario’s Highlands.
Feel the Cycle Burn – (~400 calories/hour)
Putting the pedal to the metal will feel great after your Thanksgiving smorgasbord. As you pedal, imagine the turkey gravy melting from your waistline. Cycling the backroads of Ontario’s Highlands in fall will give you a fantastic and colourful view while you pedal, and the crisp fall air will feel fantastic on your skin.
Where: If you’re near Ottawa you’ll enjoy pedaling through the scenic, hilly terrain of Lanark County. For a route a little further west, the 100-kilometre Buckshot Lake tour takes you from Bon Echo Provincial Park in Lennox & Addington and through a cross-section of rugged Canadian Shield terrain.
Paddle It Off – (~200+ calories/hour)
Paddling by canoe, kayak, or SUP gives you a good workout while you are enjoying the crisp autumn air. From the water you will have the perfect vantage point to bask in the brilliant reds and golds of the shoreline in fall. With each dip of the paddle you will almost feel your waistband loosening.
Where: For a perfect post-Thanksgiving paddle head for the York River in Hastings County. Launch your canoe, kayak, or SUP at Millennium Park in Bancroft and head out on the river wild. A little further north you can explore the rugged interior of the North Frontenac Parklands on the lake or river.
Off Road It – (~550 calories/hour)
If you are feeling like a ride on paved roads is too tame for your calorie burn, no problem. Ontario’s Highlands isn’t called the “Highlands” for nothing, and there is plenty of terrain that will offer a real challenge for even experienced mountain bikers.
Where: Head to Silent Lake Provincial Park in Bancroft and push yourself on 19-kilometres of rugged hiking and mountain biking trails. The park offers two mountain biking loops, an easier 11-kilometre loop or if you really need to burn off a few pounds, the more challenging 17-kilometre trail. In the Lennox & Addington region you can traverse six kilometres of biking or hiking trails at The Pines, a brand new trail network.
Hike the Highlands – (~300 calories/hour)
If you think the fall colours will be over by Thanksgiving, you’re wrong – depending on what part of Ontario’s Highlands you are traveling you will still be able to enjoy fall’s brilliance. And for the uninitiated, hiking in fall is not the same as during the summer; once the leaves have dropped from the trees you can see further and get a better sense of the vastness of the forests here.
Where: The Griffiths Uplands Trail in Renfrew County is a challenging 10-kilometre hike that leads to a spectacular lookout. Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve has more than 300-square kilometres crisscrossed with trails to help you break a sweat and burn off that second piece of pumpkin pie.