Huntsville is located just 2.5 hours from Toronto and offers the opportunity to see the best the Muskoka region has. Huntsville is a great place to visit for a weekend or day trip. It has beautiful lakes and rolling hills and a lively downtown. It is known for being the gateway to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, which is one of the best parks in the province.
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Nearly 20,000 people call this town home. It is a four-season resort with tons of activities.
Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures. The leaves turn to a rainbow of colors, making it a popular season for leaf-peepers. Huntsville is quieter in winter. However, Hidden Valley Ski Resort is open to downhill skiers. Arrowhead Nordic Center, a popular spot for cross-country skiers, is nearby. The snowmobile trails in the area are a great option for motorized adventure.
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Algonquin Provincial Park: Hike or Sightsee
Algonquin Park, located 42 km from Huntsville, is one of the most popular parks in Ontario. This 7,653-square-kilometer area of forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains has long been a destination for outdoor adventurers. The park offers something for everyone, no matter what your interests are.
Camping is a popular activity in the park. Through the years, families have set up camp at one of the campgrounds along Highway 60. You can find beautiful sites under tall white pine trees with beaches and lakes just a few steps from your tent or caravan. Three rustic, but luxurious lodges offer a more refined accommodation option.
Algonquin Park is a great place to canoe in Ontario . You can enjoy a wilderness experience with extensive canoe routes and backcountry campsites. Outfitters around the park will provide all the equipment and food you need. You can also take a 2-day tour with a guide to see the best of the park.
The park also offers challenging mountain biking trails and amazing hiking trails . A pleasant way to spend an afternoon is to visit the Algonquin Art Centre and the Algonquin Logging Museum.
Official site: https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/algonquin
Enjoy the Arrowhead Provincial Park’s Beaches and Activities
Arrowhead Park is located at the northern end of town. Arrowhead Park is less well-known than Algonquin Park. However, it’s close and convenient and offers many of the same amenities. Arrowhead Lake is one of the most popular attractions in the park. It’s home to four beaches. This lake of moderate size is completely unmotorized, so it’s a great place to take your floaties and practice your stand-up paddleboarding skills.
Campinghere has over 500 sites, and offers a variety of electrical and un-electrical options. Nearest to the lake are the sites at North, South Lumby, and Roe Campgrounds.
There are some short hikes that you should check out. One of the most popular is the two-kilometer trek up to Stubb’s Falls where the Little East River plunges down a rocky chute. Another must-see is the short stroll to the Big Bend, which offers a view of the Big East River making a U-turn on a sandy ridge.
Make sure you bring your mountainbike and all other gear. You will be challenged and have your heart pumping on the 4.5-kilometer Arrowhead Lake route and three kilometers of the Lookout Trail.
Arrowhead does not take winter off. The park turns into a winter activity centre once the snow melts. Cross-country skiing is a popular activity in this park. There are 44 km of trails, split between classic (28km) and skate (16km). Have you ever wanted to try Snowshoeing. Arrowhead offers eight kilometers of trails that you can try.
The skating trail, which runs 1.3 kilometers through the forest at night, is perhaps the most unusual winter activity. The tubing hill is a must-see for thrill seekers. The park provides tubes for all abilities.
Official site: https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/arrowhead
Explore Downtown Huntsville
Huntsville’s historic downtown is a great place to shop, stroll and pick up gear for your trip to Algonquin Provincial Park. There are many shops, restaurants, and boutiques along the main street. As you walk along, keep an eye out to the famous Group of Seven paintings.
Behind the buildings on the street’s north side is River Mill Park. You’ll find a nice open space with picnic tables and a boardwalk. There is also a bandshell that hosts summer concerts.
A riverfront patio is a great place to relax after all the walking around downtown. Relax under an umbrella, take a seat and enjoy the steady stream of boats that move along the river.
Take a look at the view from Lions Lookout
Huntsville’s most popular activity is The Lions Lookout. It requires little effort, but offers incredible returns. Take a cup of coffee or a snack with you and get up. It is a short, steep climb to the top of the large hill above downtown. From there you will have amazing views over the surrounding countryside.
You can see out to the east over Fairly lake. If it is a busy weekend, you’ll find plenty of entertainment from the boaters below. The gazebo is located at the top. From here, you can see the eastern part of downtown. The plaque near the large rocks gives you a good idea of the view and also provides some historical information.
Visit Muskoka Heritage Place
You may occasionally hear a steam whistle as you stroll through Huntsville. This is the sound of the steam train at Muskoka Heritage Place. This is one the most popular family activities in Huntsville. You can visit the four main attractions to see Huntsville’s early days. These include the Muskoka Museum and the Steam Museum. Also, take a ride on an fully operational steam train.
The Pioneer Village recreates the way life was in the early days. Costumed interpreters go about their daily duties. Highlights include a blacksmith shop, candle dipping, wool carving demonstrations, as well as fresh-made bannock and Scones. Ringo and Paul, two of the resident pigs, will be a hit with young children. Abigail, the donkey, and three sheep, Dolly, Layla and Daisy, will also be a popular stop. There are also a variety of chickens on-site, which are unfortunately unnamed.
The steam train, the Portage Flyer, dates back to 1904. Today’s ride takes approximately 30 minutes, starting at the Fairly Lake Station and ending at the Rotary Village Station. The open-air carriage will take you along a scenic route alongside the Muskoka River. You are welcome to visit the engineer’s cabin – go in and look into the firebox and see all the gauges and handles.
You can visit the Steam Museum at Rotary Village Station before or after you ride to learn more about the train’s history and the importance of steam-driven transport in the development and growth of the Muskoka, Algonquin and surrounding areas.
Official site: https://www.muskokaheritageplace.ca/en/index.aspx
Book a Stay at Deerhurst Resort
The large Deerhurst Resort is located just to the west Huntsville. This resort has been operating on Peninsula Lake since 1896. It is one of the most popular places to stay in Muskoka. The resort covers 760 acres and has everything you need to have a relaxing weekend or longer.
There are two well-respected golf courses on the property, as well as areas where you can swim , paddle, bike, walk, cycle, and hike . You can also enjoy disc and foot golf as well as treetop trekking and waterskiing. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowmobile trails.
There are many accommodation options available, from standard hotel rooms to waterfront suites and homes. There are two restaurants that offer dining options: the Antlers Steakhouse and the Eclipse Restaurant & Terrace.
Go to the Beach
Huntsville is surrounded with clear, warm lakes. Many of these lakes have great beaches. The beach at Port Sydney is one of the best, located just south of town. The beach is backed with sloped lawns and the Rocky Island is just offshore.
If you enjoy calm waters and shallow water, this is the place for you. The beach faces east, and is protected by the prevailing westerly winds. A boat ramp is located just left of the beach. There is also a large pier that allows you to launch your boat. If you’re a competent swimmer or confident in deep-water swimming, the pier is a great place to swim. The pier is also popular with teenagers during summer.
If you feel hungry after a day of swimming and sunbathing, walk back to the beach and stop by Jamieson’s General Store to get a pizza or ice cream.
Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area offers the opportunity to get out on the slopes\
Huntsville’s Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area offers excellent facilities for downhill skiers. The slopes are filled with white wonderment, boasting an incredible 343 cm of snow and a 90 percent snowmaking coverage.
Three quad chairs and a handle-tow can transport 6,500 people to the top of the vertical drop, which is 100m. It’s spread over 15 runs. Night skiing is available on the best runs.
You can enjoy all the terrain park features, including a quad chair that is dedicated to you.
Official site: https://www.hvmuskoka.com/
Snowmobiling is a great option
Huntsville is a hot spot for snowmobiling in Ontario. The trails stay covered throughout the season due to the consistent cold temperatures and the abundance of snow. More than 2,000 km of groomed trails are waiting for you and your machine.
You can feel the freedom of running through pine forests, rivers, and along lakes. You can bring your own device and navigate the trails, or you can join a guided tour that includes all the gear and clothing. You can do this through the Deerhurst Resort.
Follow the Hunters Bay Trail
The Hunters Bay Trail is a unique walking trail that runs through Huntsville’s southwest. It is composed of paved, gravel, as well as floating sections that can be used for walking, running, or cycling.
The highlight of the trail is the floating section close to Orchard Park. The trail’s highlight is a long section that floats along the shoreline, and at certain points extends to a swimming platform. This is a great place to access Hunters Bay’s summer waters.
Algonquin Theatre Shows
Huntsville’s citizens have created an active cultural scene that attracts artists and free thinkers from all over Canada and the province. The Algonquin Theatre, which seats 408 people, is at the center of these cultural pursuits. This contemporary performing arts center hosts performances of all kinds, including musicals, comedy, and rock shows.
The Partners Hall, located on the main floor, showcases the work local artists. The doors are open during normal box office hours and are free to enter.
You might want to plan a Huntsville winter getaway.
Official site: https://www.algonquintheatre.ca/en/index.aspx