Thanksgiving; a time to slow down, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on the past year. After recent years spent apart; reminiscing about summer adventures, sharing new opportunities and catching up around the dinner table over a Thanksgiving feast is a tradition that most people love and missed. Why not extend those conversations to the fresh, crisp autumn air of Muskoka?
Here are 10 hikes to do with the people you are most thankful for:
Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail
Wander along some of the oldest rocks in the world on this 2.5 km loop trail, considered to be moderately challenging. Over the years, glaciation, erosion and fire have exposed the pink granite surface of the rock, creating a one-of-a kind hiking experience on the Canadian Shield. Don’t miss the scenic lookout, which is considered by locals to be one of the best places to view the sunset in all of Muskoka. Be sure to follow the white ribbons in trees and white paint on rocks to stay on the trail.
Hardy Lake Hiking Trails
Hardy Lake has some of the best hiking in Muskoka, especially during the fall. The trails range in difficulty, from beginner to experienced. Some of the more challenging trails require a moderate level of navigation skills and can take upwards of 3 hours. There are no facilities at this Park, but there is a parking lot and hiking trails. This is a non-operating park, and as such biking, motorized vehicles and camping are not permitted. There is so much to see at Hardy Lake!
Lion’s Lookout Trail
The Lions Lookout Trail can be accessed at the Forbes Hill Dr and Camp Kitchen Road intersection behind the Active Living Centre at the Canada Summit Centre. The trail follows Camp Kitchen Road along the Muskoka River to Fairy Lake. It then crosses the Portage Flyer railway tracks and heads up a steep slope to the top of the sports track. The trail continues around the track and along the roadway to Forbes Hill Dr. The view from the top of the track across Fairy Lake is magnificent. The trail is 1.5km long, and has steep inclines.
Arrowhead Provincial Park Trails
At this year-round park, hike or bicycle on trails that wind through maple forests and past waterfalls, beaver ponds and homesteaders’ farms during the spring, summer and fall months. The quiet Arrowhead and Mayflower Lakes as well as the meandering Little and Big East Rivers are ideal for paddling, fishing and swimming. Arrowhead Provincial Park features 15km of hiking trails, ranging from a number of 1 to 7.5 km of moderately challenging hiking and mountain biking trails. Return in the winter to ski on groomed trails, tube down a hill or skate on an outdoor rink!
Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve
Limberlost is famous for their high quality hiking trails. More than half of their trails are groomed and can be used by joggers as well as hikers. The trails have numerous points of interest including walking bridges, waterfront views, and a few scenic lookouts that will leave you awestruck. The trails are also open to mountain bikers. Bring your own bike or visit Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville to rent one. They can also loan you a bike rack for your vehicle. In the winter, Limberlost turns into a winter wonderland with over 25km of groomed cross country ski trails, free of charge.
Bracebridge Resource Management Centre Trails
The Bracebridge Resource Management Centre offers groomed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and mountain biking trails within a woodland setting along the Muskoka River. Mountain bikers can enjoy up to 19km of trails during the spring, fall and summer. The forest features attractive wooded areas, a variety of flora and fauna, and bird life as well as scenic vistas along the Muskoka River. Bike rentals are available from nearby Liv Outside in Bracebridge.
Cranberry Hiking Trails
The trails form a route between wetlands and hills, hardwood forests, barren stone ridges and cranberry marshes. Over 10km of trails that originate at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, in Bala – the Cranberry Capital of Ontario. This trail is a double-header, not only can you hike and take in the colours of fall, you can also have some well-deserved cranberry wine afterwards! Note: you must book passes in advance.
Wilson’s Falls Trail
Bracebridge is the waterfall capital of cottage country. Everybody knows the iconic Bracebridge Falls and Silver Bridge located right in the downtown, but just a few km upstream is Wilson’s Falls, a popular hiking trail and waterfall. Take the forested walking trail that brings you up close to the rushing waters and admire this natural scene. It is hard to believe this walking trail and waterfall is just minutes from downtown.
Jevin’s and Silver Lakes Trail
This remote trail travels through the Jevins & Silver Lakes Conservation Reserve, a significant area for rare species of flora and fauna including Ontario’s only lizard, the five-lined skink. A scenic route passing numerous wetlands, ponds and bogs between Kahshe Lake and Doe Lake, this section is also a main snowmobile route in the winter months. The trail surface is natural and uneven, and 9.5 km in length- make sure to pack some snacks, water before embarking on this long trek!
Kahshe Barrens Trail
Kahshe Barrens Trail is one of the most naturally preserved and rugged trails in Gravenhurst. Consisting of two loops, the Casey loop and Kadz loop, this trail is perfect for beginner hiking enthusiasts looking for a bit of a challenge. Both loops offer views of majestic oaks and evergreens, and offer a trail surface of uneven natural earth, barren rock and boardwalk. The Kadz loop is hilly and provides a fantastic view of the beaver pond at Lookout Ridge. Casey loop is similar in terrain but features a picturesque stream.
From well-known and beloved classic Muskoka hikes to the hidden and remote gems, there’s a hike for everyone in your family to enjoy over the Thanksgiving weekend. Make this the best Thanksgiving yet by having it in Muskoka! We hope you and your loved ones stay safe while on your Thanksgiving hike by abiding by all park rules, guides and parking instructions – please avoid parking on the highway so we can ensure a safe weekend for all.