Come Wander
Skiing and Snowboarding in Ontario's Highlands

Powder junkie? You don’t have to purchase a plane ticket to enjoy the snowy peaks that winter has to offer. Hit the slopes in Ontario’s Highlands and experience the thrill of downhill skiing or snowboarding on terrific ski hills, like Calabogie Peaks, home to the highest public peak in all of Ontario. It doesn’t matter if you prefer strapping on two skis or donning a single snowboard – you’ll still feel the rush of making fresh tracks in the snow as you descend down the hill on your race toward the bottom. Beginners will want to make the trip to Sir Sam’s in Haliburton to ride the covered surface lift that protects riders from harsh winds, blowing snow, and the cold – making it easier to ride longer. If it is your first time at a ski resort, lessons are available and will have you speeding down the groomed trails in no time.

Calabogie Peaks

Location: 1 hour drive from Ottawa

Get acquainted with the Ottawa Valley this winter with a visit to Calabogie Peaks Resort, south eastern Ontario’s supreme mountain, lake and wilderness destination. A winter getaway experience at Calabogie is defined by its pristine surrounding landscape: cradled in a valley dotted with heritage towns perfect for perusing on a lazy Saturday, and rolling hills laying out uninhabited landscapes waiting to be discovered.
Calabogie Peaks offers the highest summit in Ontario for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy in the winter season. There are two quads, three lifts servicing the hill, and a carpet lift for beginners. With 22 trails to explore, riders can spend all day perfecting their favourite runs. The resort also features two terrain parks and has a Snow School program for those who want to gain some confidence on the hill. When you’re done, warm up in your fireside suite in Dickson Manor.

Mount Pakenham

Location: 45 minute drive from Ottawa

Families with downhill enthusiasts of all levels will love Mount Pakenham for its programs catering to parent, tot and teen. Mount Pakenham is Lanark County’s premier family ski, snowboard, and tubing area. Getting you up is a new quad, two other chairlifts, and terrain park T-Bar lift system. Beginner skiers and riders have a handle tow and rope tow and a carpet lift to access gentler terrain. Parents love the layout that brings every skier and rider down to a central point. Finding your child is easy! Besides perfect family terrain, Mount Pakenham compliments nature with impeccable nightly grooming and lots of early-season snow making. Don’t let a dry driveway deter you from alpine fun. They are famous for their snow all season long. Mount Pakenham is nestled between the charming towns of Almonte and Arnprior where all varieties of lodging can be found.

Sir Sam’s Ski/RIDE

Location: 3 hour drive from Toronto

Bundle up and enjoy the fresh powder at Sir Sam’s Ski/RIDE , a perfect hill in Ontario whether you’re looking to feed your budding passion for skiing or snowboarding; bond as a family; or escape for a romantic winter weekend on the slopes. Located in Haliburton, Sir Sam’s ski hill features challenging elevations, breathing views and friendly staff who will welcome you to the area, and to your new favourite winter sport. The hill has a 1100 foot covered surface lift to shield riders from the wind and cold, as well as four chair lifts for all-day fun. The resort also includes a snow park, terrain hill, and food and beverage facilities. Warm up after a day of sledding and feel yourself melt during a soak at Sir Sam’s Inn & WaterSpa.

Stories

Cycling the OVRT: Smiths Falls to Arnprior

I love setting goals on the bike; It seems like this happens on a micro and macro level constantly. The first 50-kilometres, then the first century, the first overnight. On the ride, you have these little checkpoints. Energy bars, swims, coffees, calories, hours in the saddle, kilometres in a day. It’s a constant. This became […]

Local’s Take: 2 Day Cycling Staycation #InFrontenac

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycation in Ontario’s Highlands. Local: Amy Hogue From: Lanark Highlands Travelling: Frontenac County […]

Local’s Take: 3 Cabin Nights & Rafting in the Ottawa Valley

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycations in Ontario’s Highlands.  Local: Gabriel Rivett-Carnac From: Ottawa and the Valley Travelling: Ottawa […]

Wild and Wonderful Waterfalls

If there’s one thing we can agree on it’s that few of us will turn down an opportunity to see a waterfall. Whether it has something to do with the mesmerizing whitewater cascade or the white-noise that comes with it, a waterfall is a universal attraction. It can be the reason for a hike or […]

Get the Most Out of a River Experience

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Getting to know a river is almost like embarking on a wet and wild love affair. You forge a connection, learn everything you can, and then strengthen it over time. Sounds like a relationship, doesn’t it? The connection you have with a body of […]

Secret Swimming Holes

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Shhh…we’re not supposed to tell you about these swimming holes…some of them don’t even have names and you may never find them without a map, but we understand that when it’s 40 degrees out with the humidity and the public beach is packed the […]

7 of Ontario’s Best Paddling Routes

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. This summer is the year to be on the water, to cast off on an epic paddling adventure that will take you along winding rivers, past shorelines crowded with towering trees, and where the ripples on the water draw you forward with each pull […]

Carving her Course on the Madawaska: Stefi Van Wijk

“The river is where I’m my best self. It doesn’t care who I’m pretending to be.”- Stefi  Van Wijk, avid paddler. It’s no exaggeration to say that water is in the blood for whitewater paddler, instructor, and paddle school manager, Stefi Van Wijk. Most days Stefi looks like she’s coming straight off a paddling trip […]

3 Fun Itineraries for Water Play

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. The game is on to make the most of summer 2021 and the winner gets to spend the summer soaking wet and grinning from ear to ear. Are you up for the challenge? It goes without saying that the best warm-weather activities centre around […]

Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Making Friends and Finding Adventure: Cycling Frontenac

At the beginning of cycling season, my friend Tanner and I made a plan to bike a long loop of the old railbed. The plan was to follow the old train tracks for three days and to try avoiding the road as much as possible. We were looking forward to feeling the sun on our […]

Swimming in the Wild in Frontenac and Beyond

Imagine entering a body of water and taking it in with all your senses; the feel of your feet touching the rocky, sandy or muddy bottom, the sensation of cool water on your skin, the smell of pine trees in the air, the taste of lake water on your lips – this is what swimming […]

5 Foodie Adventures That Will Get You Somewhere

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you’re dreaming of having the best foodie experiences in Ontario, we’ve got your back. Where else can you visit and sample products from craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries, cheese makers, and award-winning eateries that reflect the diverse flavours of Ontario’s Highlands? […]

3 Ways to Play on the Ontario Water Trail

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Spending time on the water gives the world an almost magical feel. The minutes drift past at the pace of the current around you, and the sun slows the passage of time to a trickle. You are hyper-aware; you are present. When you’re on […]

9 Awesome Bikepacking Routes in Ontario’s Highlands

Stepping into your local outdoor outfitter or bike shop last year to find nothing but empty shelves was a good indication that bikepacking, the activity that combines backcountry camping and off-road cycling, will be a popular option for a COVID-friendly outdoor getaway this year. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran ready to take on multi-day tours […]

9 Sweet Summer Treks

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. These days the warm weather is telling us summer is here and we don’t need to be told twice to get out and embrace the outdoors and the freedom it offers through physical distancing. The best summer hikes not only take us into the wild […]

Thinking of Camping in 2021? Read This.

The ground may be covered by snow right now, but we’re dreaming of the warm weather and the camping season to come in the wild places in Ontario’s Highlands. Camping reservations have recently opened at provincial campgrounds across Ontario and if last year was any indicator spots will book up fast. You can book a […]

Ontario Snowmobile Loops & Trips

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you have been longing to cruise along snowy trails where the winter forest towers over you and the rush of the frosty wind fills your ears, this is the year to get out and explore the landscapes close to home. COVID-19 has made […]

Coming Home

Discover the story of Sarain Fox and her journey home to the Ontario’s Highlands, relieving memories of ice fishing and snowmobiling along the way.

Shinny Rinks and Sledding Hills

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  The hill spills beneath the runners of your toboggan, plunging into a darkness made even deeper by the sparkle of snow beneath the moonlight. Your nose is cold but your mittened hands are warm, and your heart is pumping in anticipation of careening downhill […]

Fall in Love With Winter

Unique winter experiences in Ontario’s Highlands that will give you something to brag about.

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next […]

Recharge in the Snow

Disconnect from the everyday with a snowmobile trip through Ontario’s Highlands.

Brighten the Darkest Months

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the days start getting shorter and the sun becomes something you crave more than chocolate, you know you are entering into the darkest months of the year. It can be easy to feel a little down and dreary at this time […]

Get on Board with Charcuterie

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You’ve heard the word and maybe you’ve even seen Instagram pics of colourful charcuterie boards, and if you’re lucky you’ve sampled this meaty treat yourself (in case you wondered, it’s pronounced shahr-ku-tuh-ree). Charcuterie is originally a French word that literally translates to […]

The Skinny on Fat Biking and Other Extreme Winter Sports

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you were sad to pack away your bike for the winter, are lamenting the loss of beautiful weather for an early morning run, or regretting all the days you could have been churning through whitewater this summer but weren’t, we have […]

Discover the Beauty of Winter Camping

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You waken to the sound of new snow drifting onto the top of your tent or cabin, landing light as a feather one snowflake at a time. The world is hushed and the air snaps with cold but you are warm and […]

Embrace the Norwegian Concept of “Friluftsliv”

Friluftsliv (free-lufts-liv): Free air life *Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you’re worried about being stuck indoors this winter, the Scandinavians may have the solution with this hard to pronounce and consonant-filled word: friluftsliv. Loosely translated, friluftsliv means “free air life,” a concept that was coined by […]

Cache in with Geocaching in Haliburton

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You wander through rural communities, along rugged trails, or gravel sideroads, fixated on one thing and one thing only: your next cache. When you are geocaching, you can’t help but become fully immersed in the moment, setting your sights on an outdoor […]

After Turkey Burn

*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 […]

Tiny Cabins, Yurts, and other Glamping Getaways

So you’ve seen the Instagram posts of friends or family seated around a rustic campfire, enthusing on the beauty of nature and a rugged camping experience, but you’re thinking “That’s totally not for me?” Hey, don’t sweat it, you are not alone. Camping isn’t for everyone, and who says it should be? If everyone were […]

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

Beer, Butter Tarts & Burritos (By Bike)

Could this be Ontario’s tastiest bike route? A natural backdrop of Canadian Shield, shimmering lakes and lush Crown land forests surround you as you pedal down a 50/50 mix of quiet paved roads and gravel rail trails that traverse a series of communities. These small towns and rural hamlets are now known for art and […]

Cycle Through Fall

In my humble opinion, there is no better time than fall to hop on my bike and hit the roads, gravel, and trails of Ontario’s Highlands. I don’t have to worry about overheating, nor will I find myself pushed to my limit while trying to outrun a swarm of deer flies for 20 kilometres (true […]

Cozy Up to Fall Camping

So you’re not ready for camping season to end? Here’s a tip: It doesn’t! Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean we need to head indoors, when it comes to camping experiences, fall is where it’s at. Fall camping is an entirely different (and some would say better) experience from summer camping –no bugs, […]

The Best Fall Canoeing

Discover these top lakes and rivers in Ontario’s Highlands to discover the beauty of fall colours from a canoe.

Best Highway 60 Hikes

So, you’re ready to hit the road. The King’s Highway 60 is calling your name – and who could blame you? The vistas on this route are stunning, from the Ottawa Valley to the Madawaska Valley. Every kilometre is a captivating experience. It may seem like you could cruise forever on this roadway, but everyone […]

With Love, to Frontenac County

Now more than ever we are drawn to our community, and the places that help us to unwind and get outdoors. To get away from the crowds and reconnect with our roots. Frontenac County tempts us to sit back, unwind and check into vacation mode, to rediscover a world of countless lakes and a region […]

With Love, to Haliburton Highlands

We are so lucky to come from a place that has it all: phenomenal views, rugged landscapes, abundance of trails, and infinite opportunities for recreation, all enticing you to leave your comfort zone and step into the wild. Here, endless forests meet cool, clear lakes and rivers to create incredible vistas that reach out to […]

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

With Love, to Hastings County

The deep lakes and meandering rivers here are ripe with life, both on land and in the water. This land is known as a region rich with minerals, and we haven’t forgotten how our communities were settled by the gold rush, where miners flocked, eager to delve into the earth to unearth its riches. Thick […]

Feel Like a Kid Again

Remember when your whole summer was devoted to swimming, playing, catching frogs, and finding adventures? At one time, this was an entire season fueled by ice cream, Freezies, and hot dogs. August always felt so short, and by the time it rolled around you’d scramble to finish your summer bucket list, savouring each shortened day […]

Cycle Haliburton

What’s your favourite flavour of cycling? Do you prefer digging in off-road, pedaling hard for speed and distance, or just a light taste with a short meander? A bike ride can be what you want to make of it, which is part of the fun, isn’t it? Haliburton Highlands’ varied terrain calls cyclists to explore […]

Bikepacking in North Frontenac

Imagine a weekend of backcountry camping in a quiet forest just a few hours from Ottawa or Toronto. As you settle down at camp, you think back to the fresh moose tracks you saw earlier that day and the amazing swim you had when you stopped for lunch. The scenery feels familiar but something’s different. […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Go Backcountry

You waken slowly in the early morning, the high-pitched warble of birdsong drifting lightly through the trees overhead. The sky is faintly brightening with the coming of dawn, and the natural world is gradually blossoming to life. Around you there is no trace of human activity, no murmurs of voices, clanging of dishes, or whir […]

An Ode to Summer

A throwback to summers gone past, with inspiration for this year’s adventure.

Just Show Up

Hit the water and take advantage of these easy kayaking and canoeing opportunities in Ontario’s Highlands.

Highway 7 Hikes

Stretch your legs by exploring these nature hiking trails along Highway 7.

Spring is Calling

Hanging around the city when the scents of spring are tantalizingly tickling your nose is tough. This is when you yearn to get away from the slush, pack the car and head out for an almost-spring getaway to the countryside, where baby animals, maple syrup, G-rated fun, and fresh air are calling. Get out of […]

Spring Break

The sun is warm, the air smells like spring, and the birds are singing their special warm weather songs. It’s official; spring has sprung. After a long Canadian winter, spring getaways are a time-honoured tradition for families here in the great white north, and haven’t we earned a little fun in the sun? This is […]

Winter Just Got Awesome

Learn to climb or brush up on your skills with an epic ice climbing adventure at SOIceFest 2020 in Maynooth, ON.

Ultimate Après-Ski Experiences

Meet up with friends after a day well spent on the slopes or on the trails. Discover these top places in Ontario’s Highlands to celebrate the Apres Ski!

Climb a Wall of Ice

Challenge yourself to reach new heights with an ice climbing adventure at these places across Ontario’s Highlands.

Embrace the Dog Days of Winter

If you can’t beat winter, join it with an epic dog sledding excursion through some of the most beautiful forests in Ontario.

GPS Guru

Meet Mary Barker, the Wilberforce woman who’s making Haliburton world-renowned for geocaching.  Wilberforce, Ontario, County of Haliburton The roads to Wilberforce are winding and majestic, flanked by high pine trees and birches, nestled between the hard rock and calm lakes that make up the Canadian Shield. Mary Barker knows these roads and waterways well, having […]

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Where Am I?

Climb to new heights at the Medeba Ice Wall and enjoy the unique view from the top.

Where Am I?

Make fresh tracks along premium snowmobile trail, the RAP Tour Loop.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

One Last Ride

Watch JR Alli’s video and see what he discovers when he allows himself to just wander.

An Action-Packed Weekend

Read how Will Tang from Going Awesome Places raced muscle cars and experienced thrills on the rapids with whitewater raftering in the Ottawa Valley.

Whitewater Rafting as a Family

Read about how one family took on whitewater rafting on the Madawaska River and why they can’t wait to do it again.

The Freedom Finder

I’m a Freedom Finder. I wander with speed! I seek out opportunities to make fresh tracks, blaze new trails, and get my adrenaline pumping.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

All Terrain, All the Time

Pack your saddle bags and press the throttle for an ATV adventure like no other in Ontario’s Highlands.

Raging the Rapids

SUP Instructor Courtney Sinclair takes her passion for paddle boarding to the whitewater.