Located 2.5 hours north of Toronto, the Haliburton Highlands is sure to steal your heart and leave you longing for a more laid-back lifestyle. While the lakes and forests in the area tend to be the focus, the Haliburton Highlands also has a thriving arts and culture community, making it ideal for family retreats or quiet getaways. A great place to escape the everyday, Haliburton Highlands is packed full of interesting and affordable things to do.
If you love old town charm, art, and the outdoors this might be your ideal getaway.
I. Arts and Culture
1. The Haliburton Sculpture Forest
The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is located in Glebe Park near the village of Haliburton in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario, Canada.The Sculpture Forest is home to a unique outdoor collection of sculptures by Canadian and international artists. It is sure to amaze and delight guests of all ages.
Hours: Open Year-round from dawn to dusk (including holidays).
Cost: Free (Spring, Summer, and Fall); Trail Pass required for winter skiing ($ 0-$20) Dog Friendly(on leash)
Address: 297 College Drive, Haliburton
Phone: 705- 457-3555
2. Haliburton Highlands Museum
The Haliburton Highlands Museum was founded in 1967 as a pioneer museum and was created to provide education, inspiration, and aesthetic enrichment for all. Today, the museum continues to collect, preserve, research, house, exhibit, and interpret all the objects of cultural and historical value that reflect local heritage throughout history.
Summer Hours: Tuesday to Sunday & Holiday Mondays from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Cost: By donation
Address: 66 Museum Road, Haliburton, Ontario
3. Catch a Film at The Highland Cinema
The Highland Cinema is a historic relic in the area of Haliburton. A museum and theatre all in one, Highland Cinema makes for a great way to spend the afternoon. The cinema is full of historic charm and is a fun-filled adventure for the whole family – just be sure to arrive early to ensure you get tickets.
Cost: Theater and Museum – Children 12 & under: $8.00, Seniors: $8.50, Adults: $10.50
Museum-Only – Children 12 & under: $5.00, Seniors: $5.00, Adults: $5.00
Address: 4131 Cty. Rd. 121 Kinmount
4. Rails End Art Gallery
Rails End Art Gallery is located in Haliburton’s landmark rail station. The Gallery is home to art, craft, and music by regional artists. They are open to the public or offer personal shopping by appointment.
Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre has an extensive collection available for viewing.
Along with some unique pieces, the gallery also offers a wide array of different art classes that run periodically throughout the year. Check their website for more details.
Address: 23 York St, Haliburton
5. Hawk Log Chute
The historic Hawk Log Chute, the only remaining log chute of its kind in Ontario. The chute is over 150 years old and has been painstakingly restored and reconstructed. A log chute is a man-made trough that was used to carry logs over rough river landscape to a sawmill. This historic site is a testament to the tenacity and perseverance of the tens of thousands of men who made their living in the logging industry, and whose courage helped forged the communities of rural Ontario.
The Hawk Log Chute is part of The Stanhope museum. Stanhope is one of the smaller museums in Ontario, but it has one of the largest archives of Ontario pioneer history.
Hours: Any time of day in the spring, summer, and fall (closed during winter).
Address: 1584 Big Hawk Lake Rd, Algonquin Highlands
6. Stanhope Museum
Explore this small museum that explores the history of the area and wander along the Heritage Garden that pays homage to those settlers who adapted their farming and gardening knowledge to this climate at the height of settlement in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Hours: Open seasonally late-June through mid-September
Cost: By donation.
Address: 1123 North Shore Rd., R.R. #2 Minden
II. Get Lost in Nature
1. Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve
Haliburton Forest features more than 100,000 acres, 100 lakes, and millions of trees, and it is home to countless creatures. Above all, and always, it is a sustainably managed forest. Perfect for family outings, the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife reserve is the ideal escape from the every day.
Visit the Wolf Forest: The Wolf Center is a 5000 square foot facility that houses exhibits, a cinema and classroom, a retail space, and a large indoor observatory. Catch a glimpse of the permanent wolf pack of the area and learn more about the animals from the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Canopy Tour: walk through the treetops and see beautiful views of Haliburton Forest from above.
The forest is a “must see” in the Haliburton Highlands!
Hours: Open Year-Round for various activities. Hours of operation may vary, contact for more info.
Cost: $0-$200 (varies depending on the season and activity)
Activities: Hiking, Biking, Walking. Canopy Tours. Camping. Wolf Center ($30 per family).
Address: 1095 Redkenn Rd, Dysart et al
2. Abbey Gardens
Abbey Gardens began as a vision to transform a large gravel pit (300 acres) into a beautiful green space. Today the project includes gardens, hiking trails, a Food Hub, educational displays, and local business partners (including a craft brewery). There is something for everyone and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. Abbey Gardens is sure to remind you of all the beauty that nature has to offer.
Hours: Year tound
Address: 1012 Garden Gate Drive, Halliburton
3. Haliburton Highlands Water Trails
The Haliburton Highlands Water Trails (HHWT) consists of approximately 30,000 hectares of provincial and municipal public lands comprised of countless lakes, rivers, trails, and continuous forest. Perfect for all types of adventures, the water trails are excellent for paddlers.
Address: 20130 Highway # 35 North, Haliburton
4. Buttermilk Falls
This interesting waterfall is not completely natural. The concrete sluiceway that directs the flow of the water is approximately 30 metres long and creates a 4-5 metre drop before firing the water out onto natural bedrock. The water is moving quite fast and has some serious force behind it. At the top of the waterfall there is a bridge that crosses over from the parking lot to a walking trail. There is also a small walking trail that runs parallel to the water flow with benches along the way.
5. Humdinger Bicycle Tours
Go for a ride. Humdinger provides premium, single, and self-guided bicycle tours of the Haliburton area. The friendly and knowledgeable guides are there to help you see all that cottage country has to offer and allow you to get the most out of your adventure.
There are a variety of tour options available to suit every level of experience from short half-day tours to week-long pub crawl adventures. If you love to explore the outdoors on two wheels, be sure to visit Humdinger Bicycle Tours website to see what tours are available.
Humdinger offers bicycle tours and can also connect you to accommodations and other events. The price of the tours varies depending on the length and location.
6. Dorset Lookout Tower
The Dorset Lookout Tower is both an amazing attraction and a historical landmark. The tower itself was built in 1967 on an old fireman’s lookout tower and is surrounded by trails and wildlife.
The trails surrounding the tower vary in skill but the incline can be steep in places, so wear sturdy shoes and prepare for a hike if you plan to explore the area. Despite the difficulty, Dorset Lookout Tower is sure to stun and amaze even the most avid outdoor adventurer.
Address: 1191 Dorset Scenic Tower Rd
7. Ski-Mazing Watersports
Enjoy life on the lake with Ski-Mazing watersports in Haliburton. Ride the wave, ski the lake, or fly high above the water. Ski-Mazing Watersport School specializes in all things water sports. They offer everything from water skiing to wakeboarding, para sailing to water flight adventures for all ability levels. With Ski-Mazing, there truly is something to amaze everyone.
The summer events run from April to September and there are options available for all ages and skill levels.
Cost: Prices vary depending on activity, length, and location.
If you are not afraid of the water and are looking for a good place to fish, Haliburton offers an excellent array of fishing adventures. The plethora of lakes in the area are packed full of a variety of different kinds of fish ready for you to catch. Cast a line and see what you find. Personal adventures and private tours are available through a range of partners including Yours Outdoors.
9. Haliburton Skyline Park
This moderately trafficked back trail park features 0.5 km of trails and is great for all skill levels. The view from the park is breathtaking and the hike there is manageable for all ages. The trail is open year-round and is pet friendly as long as dogs are leashed and cleaned up after.
The park itself features a magnificent view of Haliburton and surrounding areas. There are places to sit and rest along the way and trails are clearly marked. This area is perfect for families looking to connect with nature and take in the natural beauty of the area.
Address: Hwy 118 East of Haliburton Village, Haliburton
10. Get Paddling
If you are looking to explore the deeper corners of the Haliburton area, canoeing maybe the option for you. The Happy Camper, a misadventure of Kevin Callan, explains that the wilderness in and around Haliburton Ontario is a paddlers paradise.
There are plenty of rivers and lakes to explore in the area and guided tours are available through Yours Outdoors and other outdoor adventure programs.
11. Haliburton County Rail trails
The County of Haliburton is rich with multi-use trails. Whether you are a hiker, biker, paddler, skier, or snowmobiler, there is something for everyone. The County’s Rail trail system is perfect for biking, hiking, or motorized sports.
Permits are required if you are operating a motorized vehicle and can be obtained through the Roads and Signs Permit Center of Haliburton City.
Cost: Prices vary depending on the season and personal needs.
10. Relax on the beach
There is no better way than to spend the day lounging on a beach with the wind in your hair and sand at your feet.
Places such as Kashagawigamog Lake – 1866 Wigamog Road, Haliburton Lake – 1267 Hodgson Road, Eagle Lake – 2661 Eagle Lake Road, and West Guilford – Pine Lake – 1064 Kennisis Lake Rd are perfect for a fun family day.
11. Get on the water
Dysart et al is a great summer town to visit. Not only do they have ample beaches available to the public, but there are also many public boat docks to help you get out on the water as well.
With close to 20 different docks available for public use, you are sure to find something to spark your interests. The various lakes in the area are excellent for boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and other water sports.
12. Camp along the water
There are many options available for camping in Haliburton Highlands. You can visit one of the many local campsites or pitch a tent by the water.
Haliburton Highlands water trails make for a great exploration adventure and allow you to get close to nature.
For more information or to plan your trip visit the trails office at the St. Nora Lake access point at 20130 Highway 35.
13. Visit Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls
Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls is a beautiful day park offering the view of Ragged Falls. The trail around the falls is only 1 km long, but it offers guests an amazing view of all the falls has to offer. The falls themselves are a magnificent sight with churning powerful water that is sure to take your breath away.
14. Fish in Paudash Lake
Famous for its largemouth bass, Paudash lake is every anglers dream. Situated in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario, Paudash Lake is home to several popular fish species and is surrounded by vast conservation areas. The wildlife of this area is ample for viewing and the trip there is picturesque. With natural shorelines of impressive pink granite and towering pines, Paudash Lake is sure to capture your heart and your lines.
For more information about fishing, Paudash Lake visit:
15. Ride through nature
If mountain biking is your thing, Haliburton has you covered. Haliburton Forest is the ideal location for mountain tours of all types. The varied terrain makes Haliburton forest a great choice for riders of all skill levels. With more than 300 km of trails to explore it is easy to turn a visit to Haliburton Forest into an adventure.
16. James Cooper Lookout Trail
If you are looking to enjoy the outdoors, the James Cooper Lookout trail is the place to go. The trail, which is 1.9 km, is moderately trafficked and features a fantastic forest setting and spectacular views of Maple Lake, Beech Lake, Boshkung, and Twelve Mile Lakes.
The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best from April until October.
17. Sir Sam’s Ski Area
Stop at this destination for a trip up the unique covered surface lift to experience the reach to the top of the hill. One of the best lookouts in the Haliburton Highlands will give you fabulous views of Eagle and Moose lakes.
If you are more interested in mountain biking, Sir Sam’s boasts of a 23km trail network with terrain for all abilities.
Cost: Trail Pass + 1 Lift Pass: $15 to 20
Address: 1054 Liswood Road, Eagle Lake
18. Epic ATV Tours
Driving through fabulous backcountry of Haliburton under maple and white pine forest on an ATV, after a short driving lesson by experienced guides.
Address: Adventure Store, 2839 ON-60 Dwight.
III. Fill Your Belly
1. Haliburton County Farmers’ Market
The Haliburton Farmer’s Market boasts a healthy and sustainable food system where healthy and wholesome food is available to all. The market offers 3 locations and operates from June 16 – October 13, 2020. Running from 12pm – 4pm every Tuesday in Haliburton. There are also 2 locations in Minden, Ontario with plenty of vendors to explore.
Address: 13 York St, Haliburton
2. McKeck’s-Tap and Grill
Originally opened in 1986 by Toronto Maple Leaf player #11 – Walt Mckechnie, McKeck’s has been proudly serving the area for over 30 years. This cozy pub-style restaurant serves traditional pub fare and creative takes on all your favorite classics.
The restaurant boasts 10 draught taps featuring local craft brews, a wide selection of wines and spirits, as well as fresh ingredient cocktails. With all it has to offer, McKeck’s is an experience you will not soon forget.
Address: 207 Highland St, HaliburtonONtarii
3. Haliburton Highlands Brewing
Have a cold one at Haliburton Highlands Brewing, an award winning micro-brewery producing handcrafted, premium ales as fresh and natural as the Highlands that inspire them!
Address: 1067 Garden Gate DrDisc