*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses.
When it’s frosty outside and the ground is covered in a soft blanket of fresh snow, gliding through the forest behind a horse (or two) can make you feel like you are flying. Sounds are muffled as you sit cocooned in the magic of the moment, with nothing to break the stillness beyond the soft “whuff” of your horses’ breath as they trot.
Whether your sleigh is drawn by horses or tractor, a sleigh ride in Ontario’s Highlands is an old-fashioned wintry experience that will take you into the region’s untouched forests like no other. This is one of the best ways to experience Ontario’s Highlands diverse landscape, without making you shiver.
Bundle up and head out for these memory-making experiences that will keep you warm when the air turns frosty. The Carpenters would approve.
Location: Pakenham, ON
When: Mid-November to December 24
Time: Mon to Thurs: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fri: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat and Sun: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This is a two-for-one old fashioned holiday experience for the whole family. Bundle up on a tractor-drawn wagon ride over hills and fields to select and cut down your very own Christmas tree at Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm. They even provide the saw! When you arrive back at the farm shop, you can warm up by the fire with a delicious cup of hot cocoa while your tree is wrapped up for the trip home, and watch little ones tobogganing in the twilight.
Location: Beckwith, ON
When: November 20 to December 22
Time: Thurs and Fri: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sat and Sun: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mon to Wed: Closed
This fun, holiday-themed adventure park is a family tradition in the making! Bring the whole family to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park for a scenic wagon ride out to Ho Ho Lake, and then cozy up to the campfire with a free cup of hot chocolate. An on-site skating rink and sliding hill offer the perfect winter activities for adrenaline seekers, young and old. Don’t miss Santa’s woodland workshop, or a stroll down Candy Cane Lane to see the night lights.
Be Merry: Pick up those last few gifts to complete your list in downtown Carleton Place. Browse the one-of-a-kind items in The Dress Shop on Bridge Street or a fresh holiday bouquet from The Blossom Shop.
Location: Bancroft, ON
When: December to April, upon request
When the world is carpeted in a blanket of snow is when Rockfield Farm is just gearing up for the season. Cozy up with a sleigh ride in a sled made for two, for a swoon-worthy romantic winter adventure. Local operator, Cecil Andrus and his team of Belgian horses take guests to a secluded forest glen where couples can warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and are left together to bask in the romance of the moment. Talk about an #Instaworthy romantic experience! By appointment only. Each sleigh ride will only include members of your family or social bubble.
New for 2021 will be a holiday experience featuring an appearance by Santa Claus on Dec. 11 and 12 (children welcome).
Be Merry: Find fun items like Fusion paint, home decor, and delicious preserves at The Old Tin Shed in Bancroft.
Location: Renfrew, ON
When: January to April, upon request
An old fashioned family farm experience awaits at Whalen Family Farm near Renfrew. Sit back and cozy up beneath a warm blanket during a ride through a wintry maple bush. The experience at Whalen Family Farm is a chance to get outside and do some sledding, cross country skiing or snowshoeing (BYO, sleds, skis or snowshoes). This is the perfect experience to share with family and friends to celebrate the season.
Be Merry: Cap off a day spent in the great outdoors with a shopping excursion in downtown Renfrew. If you’re feeling peckish, you can have a delicious Mediterranean meal from the hidden gem, and local favourite, Coco Jarry’s in downtown Renfrew. Try one of their specialties, skepasti, a covered pita and Mediterranean dish made with grilled pork or chicken.
We couldn’t resist! This may not be horse-drawn, but it’s still technically a sleigh ride! If you love the romance and magic of a horse-drawn sleigh ride, consider running with the pack on a dogsledding adventure at Winterdance.