Imagine a woodland trail, secluded deep within an ancient growth forest. It’s early morning; the tracks are fresh. The sun is starting to peek from between the leaves of the trees, creating romantic shadows that fade in and out across the pathway. Can you feel the calm come over? Are you evoking images of peaceful walks and meditative thoughts, interrupted only by the serene sounds of bubbling brooks and treetop chirpings?
As an adrenaline seeker, that’s the furthest thing from your mind.
Chances are, it’s that path that’s got most of your attention. Wild. Crisp. Perfect. And ready to punish your muscles. You’re not here to laze around, to let a perfectly fresh trail go to waste. What you’re imagining is a lung-expanding, muscle-working hike and bike ride; tattooing the landscape with new imprints – your tires, your favourite hiking boots, the memories and sweat that you will leave behind.
Sound more like your kind of getaway? Rev your adventurous spirit and check out five places to get your heart racing in Ontario’s Highlands.
1) Shaw Woods near Eganville, Ontario
Disconnect from city-imposed limits to climb over rock barrens and through ancient woods. Lose yourself in your thoughts while the rustle of the trees blend with the sound of your heart beating, and your body responds to the test of these woods on your climb to the top of Johnny’s Lookout. From here, your view of Shaw Pond (which might include some eagles) lets you cool down amidst beauty not found in any gym.
2) Algonquin Highlands Hiking Trails
Forge ahead to explore more than 38-kilometres of hiking trails. How many do you think you can handle in a day? Get your heart pumping along the towering ridge lines and stunning cliff top views of the Crests of Kennisis trail, where the varied terrain keeps you alert. Conquer Dorset Mountain’s summit — then give yourself the extra thrill of climbing 25-metres of stairs to the top of Dorset Tower. Catch your breath and let your heart rate slow down while you drink in the panorama of forest and lake. *Note: Dorset Tower is closed for 2020
3) Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride near Haliburton, Ontario
Feel your lungs expand with fresh air while hardwood forests zip past you on a heart-rate-elevating bike dash down the adrenaline-boosting trails. Bask in the breath-grabbing thrill of the downward descent and let your mind just try to keep up with your instincts when the turns appear out of nowhere and bumps rise up so that the rubbery handlebars feel like they’re fusing with your tight-gripping hands. With 23-kilometres of biking trail, you’ll never run out of challenges.
4) Haliburton Forest in Haliburton, Ontario
Race from one wilderness lake to another on 300-kilometres-worth of forest roads and trails. Trail ratings go as high as extreme, and that means one thing: you can spend your day immersed in the mixed scent of pine forest and sweat, and you’ll never run out of new ways to feel your heart leap right along with your bike.
5) Lennox & Addington Forest Trails in Flinton, Ontario
Immerse yourself in more than 120 acres of the rugged Canadian Shield landscape, and set off to explore six-kilometres of trails through this majestic landscape. These logging road or single track trails are for perfect for mountain biking or hiking, and are well marked to indicate the difficulty rating. Put your cycling endurance to the test on the Dipsy Doodle Trail and launch yourself over jumps to really get your heart racing.