This is an excellent time to get out and enjoy some of the sights Muskoka has to offer.
Many of the amazing museums and galleries are open, albeit with limitations. We featured some of our favourites earlier this year.
But this is also an excellent time to enjoy the the trails and even explore some off-the-beaten-path drives. Be aware, though, that many other people may be thinking the same thing: last weekend, there were so many people looking to view the leaves in Algonquin Park that the park stopped selling day permits. There were reports that cars were lined up from the west gate nearly as far as Dorset!
Assuming the weather is gorgeous, expect to see similar crowds at the more popular hiking spots in Muskoka this weekend. Huckleberry Rock and Hardy Lake are both gorgeous, but it’s almost guaranteed that they will be jammed with visitors.
Fortunately, there are other options that get considerably less traffic. For a walk in the woods, check out some of these.
Resource Management Centre, Bracebridge
It’s astonishing that this centre doesn’t get more use, because it’s ridiculously easy to access. It’s located right on Hwy 11, on the northbound side just north of Bracebridge. In winter, this is a popular cross country skiing spot, but the many kilometres of trails are open year-round for hiking.
Hazelwood Trail, Port Carling
This short walk (2.5 km one way) is part of a path that once connected Port Carling and Port Sandfield. Now it goes through the woods and past granite bluffs and even a beaver pond. It’s easy to forget that you’re within a bustling village. The trailhead and parking are located at the end of Hazelwood Road.
Cooper’s Falls Trail, Gravenhurst
This is a moderately challenging trail that covers 8 km between Cooper’s Falls Road and Housey’s Rapids Road, south and east of Kahshe Lake. The southern trailhead is located alongside the Black River. Even if you just do a short section, this trail is worth visiting if only for the drive to the trailhead — Cooper’s Falls Road is gorgeous, as it winds alongside the scenic river.
The Great Trail, various areas
Also known as the Trans-Canada Trail, this trail is a diverse mix of terrain. Much of it goes along roadways, some of them less than ideal for walking with little or no shoulders. But check out the excellent trail map online and you can easily find some wilderness trails worth exploring.
Fairy Vista Trail, Huntsville
This 3.5 km trail runs parallel to Hwy 60, and as the name indicates, offers several views of Fairy Lake to the south. The terrain is a diverse mix of hardwood and coniferous forests as well as abandoned farms. As you hike it, you get to enjoy a view of all the people heading east on Hwy 60 to Algonquin Park, and know that you’re enjoying great scenery as well without the enormous crowds!