The best part of travel is finding those “OMG” moments. The ones that surprise, challenge and amaze you so much that they send a tingling down your spine; you know, in those moments, that you’re going to remember them forever.
In Ontario’s Highlands, moments like this are found around every corner. But in the winter time especially, they are made for crossing off a bucket list.
Check out the list below for five chilly experiences that you’ll want to mark off the list, and tell everyone about.
Winter Yurts and Backcountry Skiing
Ontario’s Highlands’ ample Crown Land territory offers a rare opportunity in crowded southern Ontario – the chance to escape from it all. Visions of city skyscrapers and sprawling suburbs will fade into memory once you’ve arrived at one of our trails, ready to explore uncharted territory. Or choose to survey uninhabited pockets of pristine winter wilderness on a groomed trail by snowshoe or ski at Silent Lake Provincial Park. Here, you’ll find more than 40 km of ready-for-you cross-country ski trails all accessible from the same entry point, including loops for all level of skiers and an 8 km trail groomed especially for skate-skiing. Warm-up huts stocked with stove and firewood dot the trails, welcoming trail-goers seeking a place to rest and exchange adventure stories. When you’re done wandering the great outdoors at Silent Lake, fall fast asleep amidst the wondrous quiet of the woods, in a cozy, classic yurt (the park has 10!)
Recharge your batteries with high-energy adventure, found around every nook and cranny in Ontario’s Highands. Quench your need for speed from the front seat of a roaring snowmobile, weaving the groomed trails of Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve or make fresh tracks riding past frozen lakes, sparkling forests and farmland on the Hastings Highland Tour anticipating each new discovery behind every bend of terrain.
Ice Climbing Adventures
Whether you go by guide or with a gang of friends, this winter ice climbing is the latest activity to get adventure seekers outdoors. For those new to the sport, try a customized guided trip with Yours Outdoors, where you can take on the challenge of climbing a 50ft man-made ice wall with the beauty of #MyHaliburtonHighlands as your backdrop. With experienced instructors on hand and safety equipment provided, nothing but the thrill of adventure will be on your mind. Afterwards, celebrate your icy feat with hot beverages in a warming hut.
If do-it-yourself ice climbing is more your style, head to the Madawaska Highlands or Calabogie areas for some of Ontario’s best and most scenic climbing. Warmer weather and salt run-off from encroaching urban development in southern parts of the province mean adventure seekers increasingly look further north for reliable conditions, meaning the cliffs and crags of Ontario’s Highlands make for the perfect climbing destination year after year.
Dogsledding in Snow Country
Feel crisp snow mixed with soft fur as you become one with the pack and try your hand at mushing with Winterdance Dogsled Tours. Located on the doorstep of Algonquin Park, there’s nothing quite like a ride with 150 purebred Siberian Huskies on 5000 acres of private rugged wilderness. Or cheer on the pros, standing ear muff to ear muff, stomping and clapping with fellow fans, as they battle one another on at Marmora Sno Fest, Canada’s longest running dog sled races.
Photo Credit: Winterdance Dogsled Tours
Ontario’s Highlands Insiders
Knowledgeable in uncovering hidden gems, making fresh tracks, embracing new perspectives, and disconnecting from the everyday, this group of experts is happy to share their wisdom with you. With a passion for local stories, a love of delicious food, and a thirst for unrehearsed days, this team is made up of creative minds and wandering souls.