This gem of a town is best known for its artisan population that fosters an incredible arts program at the Fleming College campus there. That creative spirit spills over into the hosts of various outdoor experiences in the hills and forests around the area. Get ready to try something new as you explore Haliburton this winter.
1. Discover art along your hike
The epitome of Haliburton’s split personality is this hybrid hike and art-appreciation tour, all in one, in the Haliburton Sculpture Forest in Glebe Park. Watch out for 34 sculptures and six unique benches during your walk. Some are obvious while others peek at you from a rise as you travel the forest on foot, on snowshoe or on skis. Guided tours will resume on Jan. 23, 2021.
Address: 297 College Drive, Haliburton
2. Shred the snow at Sir Sam’s
This ski hill is a family legacy with RJ Bishop’s five children carrying his dream forward. On top of traditional hills and trails, it also boasts a terrain park where you can use boxes and jumps to get more than just fresh air – you can get big air. Rates range from $9 for kids for a full day to $59 for an adult.
Address: 1054 Liswood Road, Eagle Lake
3. Admire the view from the lookout
Get your heart rate up by climbing the slope to Haliburton Skyline Park then enjoy the scenery as it takes your breath away. (You can also drive up too!) The quiet forest offers a vantage point over the entire valley and other surrounding hills. You’ll want to come back in the autumn to see the leaves as they burst into reds and golds.
4. Cut loose and look for a moose
The 460-acre Snowdon Park Reserve near Minden provides snowshoers with the chance to explore the wetland and forest preserve and perhaps catch a glimpse of some of its inhabitants. Visitors have shared their stories of seeing moose, muskrat, owl and fox sightings.
5. Climb an ice wall
Rather than climbing the walls at home, get out for a half-day adventure and embrace the ice.
The experience is offered from December through March and costs $120 per person for the three-hour session. The required technical equipment (helmet, harness, boots and campers, etc.) is provided.
6. Explore the Canadian Shield
The Ski and Snowshoe Trails at The Frost Centre offer 22 kilometres of trekking through majestic hardwood and old-growth forests, with ice falls and a lookout from the top of a cliff along the way. Half of those trails are for snowshoeing (with rentals available). Watch for moose, deer, owls, martens, grouse and many more species. Day passes for the trails cost $14 for an adult, $11.50 for a senior and $9 for youth (6 – .17 years old).
Address: 20130 Highway #35 North
7. Mush with no fuss
Jump aboard a dog sled tour at Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve and ride through the trails across the 100,000 acres of forest. You get a brief but intensive and comprehensive training session with some of the reserve’s 100 Siberian Huskies before heading out for a half-day or full-day tour. Reservations are required and can be made through the following: Haliburton Forest & Wild life Reserve. Tours cost $190 for a half-day on a weekday and $345 for a full day. Rates are higher on weekends.
8. Ride the Rolley Polley Trail
Moose Woods Recreation Trails features the rolley polley, energizer and wolf’s loop options that range from 3.8, 6 and 12 kilometres of fresh air. From highway #11 or Bracebridge, take Highway 118 east past West Gilford to County Road #14 (Eagle Lake Road 2). Take County Road $14 about 3 km north. Moose Woods is located on the west side of the road.
9. Try zen snowga
Snowshoeing and yoga come together for a soulful experience. The three-hour session includes a snowshoe trek followed by a yoga practice. Sessions run from January to March at $125 per person, with snowshoe rental included.
10. Ski with your dog
Let world-class competitor Karen Koehler introduce you to the sport of Skijoring with assistance from your dog. The skier wears a skijoring harness; the dog wears a sled dog harness and you two are connected with a length of rope. Sessions are private ($125/person), semi-private ($80/person) and groups (3-5 people, $80/per person).
11. Scout for trout
Guided Ice Fishing tours give you the opportunity to fish for brook trout, rainbow trout and the Haliburton Gold lake trout. All required gear is provided by Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve. Groups can book up to 6 people. All gear, a tent, and a shore lunch are provided for $500. That includes a fee to keep the lake stocked for future outings.
12. Sleep under the stars
One of Canada’s premier parks, Algonquin Park, offers winter camping in your car or a yurt at its Mew Lake Campground. There are both hydro sites and non-hydro sites available. Backcountry camping is also available in the park. A security deposit is required in addition to your $100 camping fee.
Winter Fun at Algonquin Park
The birds are just one attraction of this mammoth gem of a park, so plan to spend a day or days on its trails as you hike, snowshoe and cross-country ski. It has a skating rink at Mew Lake Campground and a chance to dog sled as well. Expect to fall in love and return in other seasons.
13. Blow over the snow
With more than 400 kilometres of groomed trails, Haliburton Forest is considered one of the top 10 snowmobiling destinations in North America. Gasoline, oil, snowmobile rentals and accommodations and food are available at Base Camp which is located near Kennisis Lake. Daily trail passes cost $49 for the driver and $10 for the passenger.
14. Bond with blue jays
Many birders flock to Algonquin Park to see the gray jay, spruce grouse, boreal chickadee, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches and winter finches. For a taste before you go, check out the park’s live wild bird camera feed. A park visit costs $18 for one carload for one day.
15. Romance on ice
Skate on the lit-up rink on Mountain Lake with your sweetheart in the Winter Wonderland of Ogopogo Resort near Minden. During the day, you can join a game of pickup hockey with the kids. Guests can enjoy this and other amenities for $210 midweek or $780 for a long weekend.
Address: 1023 Ogopogo Lane, Minden
16. Second skate date
If you’re not staying at the resort, you can still lace up and enjoy an outdoor rink in Cardiff or Gooderham. The Cardiff rink is located at 2 Balsam Street and the Gooderham rink is located at 1043 Community Centre Road.
17. Get out on your fat bike
Ride for 16 kilometres along much of the Old Railway Bike Trail that traces the abandoned bed of the Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway. It begins at the comfort station near the rink at Mew Lake and ends at Rock Lake.
18. See a frozen Falls
Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls is a beautiful day park offering a view of Ragged Falls. The trail around the falls is only 1 km long, and it presents a magnificent winter sight with churning powerful water covered in snow that is sure to take your breath away.
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19. Grab a brew
The area has two highly acclaimed microbreweries that deserve a visit for a quick taste and a purchase to enjoy later by the fire. Check out North Country, Gunpowder Treason and Wallace the Fox brands for great conversation starters.
Boshkung Brewing Co.
Address: 9201 Hwy 118 (Intersection of Hwy. 35 & 118)
Haliburton Highlands Brewing
Address: 1067 Garden Gate Drive, Haliburton
20. Ride a Pony
Slow down and enjoy an amble with a calm pony around the trails at Abbey Gardens. Just 10 minutes from Haliburton, its grounds face Green Lake. Rides cost $12 per person with a maximum of six per group.
Address: 1012 Garden Gate Drive, Haliburton
Hike Haliburton Festival – Winter Edition
Though cancelled for 2021, this is an event for you to mark in your winter calendar. Held annually in February, Hike Haliburton Festival is more than just traditional snowshoeing/hiking; heavily integrating the arts, culture, heritage and foodie experiences to truly showcase the area.