Huntsville ON Is Muskoka's Best-Kept Secret & These 8 Must-Try Winter Activities Prove it
Snowshoeing, torch-lit skating trails, spas and more.
It's no secret that Muskoka is a hot spot for tourists and celebrities looking for a little R&R in the summer, but this cottage country isn't just for the sunny months.
Muskoka is just as magical when it's covered in snow and ice, and Huntsville, a quiet-yet-bustling little town in the heart of the region, is one of the best places to experience it.
Nestled amongst lakes and trees, Huntsville transforms into a stunning snow-covered playground each winter, making it the perfect setting to get out and enjoy your favourite cold-weather activity.
Whether you like to spend winter snowshoeing through evergreen forests, seeking thrills behind a pack of sled dogs or achieving hygge with a cozy cup of hot chocolate and a good book, you can be sure that Huntsville has just the thing to match your adventure persona — and these eight ideas are just the beginning.
Go off the beaten path with snowshoe tours & backcountry skiing
Price: $69 for a half-day excursion
Address: 83 Morgan's Rd., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: If, for you, the best thing about winter is spotting wildlife, consider strapping on your skis and exploring the meadows and woodlands of nearby Algonquin with a guided tour.
Hosted by Hunstville adventure company Find Your Wild, this one-of-a-kind experience follows the unique paths made by animals. They also offer a Snowshoe Safari, where you can spend the day tracking local wildlife before relaxing with wild-harvested tea.
Get your heart racing on a dog sled
Price: $189 per adult and $105 per child (12 and under) for a one-hour tour. Children under 3 ride free.
Address: North Ridge Ranch, 1823 Williamsport Rd., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you like winter activities that get your adrenaline pumping, how about a zip through snow-blanketed forests with a trusty team of sled dogs leading the way?
You can try your hand at mushing with a one-hour tour starting at North Ridge Ranch, or go for the full half-day excursion for hours of fun among magical scenery.
Skate your way through a torch-lit forest at Arrowhead Provincial Park
Price: $21 per day, per vehicle
When: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Fire and Ice Nights run every Friday and Saturday beginning in late January)
Address: 451 Arrowhead Park Rd., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: Named one of the world's most stunning natural rinks by Travel + Leisure, Arrowhead Provincial Park's 1.3 km-long frozen trail is the perfect winter activity for anyone who feels at home on the ice.
For an extra-special experience, head here on Friday or Saturday for Fire and Ice Nights, when glowing torches light the trail.
Of course, access to the rink is weather dependent and reservations are highly encouraged to secure a spot during Arrowhead's extremely busy winter season.
Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible
Seek out the region's finest winter comfort food
Why You Need To Go: If you consider yourself a foodie, you won't want to miss out on Huntsville's many restaurants, cafés and bars. This town is bustling with locally-owned family restaurants, reasonable prices and homestyle-cooked food that will leave your belly full and your tastebuds happy.
Huntsville Brewhouse, On the Docks Pub and The Mill on Main top the list for wings and burgers. For feel-good food that supports local farmers, head to Main St. Local Kitchen.
Channel your inner hygge with a relaxing spa session
Price: Starting at $14
Address: Lower floor, 1235 Deerhurst Dr., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: If rest and relaxation is your favourite winter pastime, consider booking yourself in for a spa session at Amba Spa, located in Deerhurst Resort. Their service menu includes everything from massages and facials to mani-pedis and reflexology, so you can totally customize your visit to your self-care vibes.
The spa also offers one-, two- and five-hour spa packages for the ultimate winter pamper sesh.
Explore snow-covered forests in a horse-drawn sleigh
Price: $160 for a one-hour family sleigh ride and campfire experience
Address: 10/2572 Muskoka Rd., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: Bring the whole family along for a peaceful and private ride in a picture-perfect horse-drawn sleigh. You'll cozy up under blankets as you pass through snowy woodland trails before ending your ride at a crackling private campfire — hot chocolate and marshmallows to roast in hand.
Planning a weekend away with your beau? Couples can enjoy the same ride at night through the glittering white trails, lit with glowing lanterns.
Wander through an illuminated pioneer village
Price: $5 per adult, children 12 and under enter free
Address: Rotary Village Station at Muskoka Heritage Place, 100 Forbes Hill Dr., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: In Huntsville's interactive forest night walk, Eclipse — Walk with Light, you'll get to travel through time while exploring heritage buildings and illuminated soundscapes that represent the seasons of the year and the cycles of the day and moon.
Keep an eye out for special events too, like live music and buskers, Valentine's Day celebrations, and Thursday nights when you can walk a friendly goat under the glimmering lights — no kidding.
Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible
Traverse peaceful winter forests while Nordic skiing
Price: Around $35 for adult ski-equipment rental
Address: Various, including Arrowhead Park, Algonquin Park, and Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve
Why You Need To Go: With two provincial parks and a forest reserve not far from downtown Huntsville, it would be a shame not to strap on your cross-country skis and explore all of the trails the area has to offer, right?
Be sure to keep an eye peeled while you're out on the powder — if you're lucky, you might spot deer, white hares and other winter wildlife.
If you don't have your own equipment, you can rent what you need at local outfitters and at Arrowhead Provincial Park.
Not sure which of the above activities appeals to you most? You can find your perfect winter-activity match and customize your trip based on your vibes by taking Huntsville's adventure persona quiz.
If you feel like there's simply too much to do, don't worry — Huntsville has plenty of comfortable hotels, lodges and resorts so you can always extend your day trip into an entire weekend of fun outdoor adventure, too.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.