The Muskoka region is known for its breathtaking views and natural beauty. This is true no matter the time of year. In spring and summer, the lush, abundant greenery and gorgeous lakes make for the perfect getaway into nature. During fall, the foliage turns its colour, creating a vibrant tapestry across the landscape, full of rich colours. Last but certainly not least, winter.
Muskoka during the winter months is the definition of a Canadian winter wonderland, and for a good reason: We get snow. Lots and lots of snow!
While the abundance of snow and cooler temperatures may deter some, if you’re wondering where to buy a cottage in Ontario for the best winter paradise, it’s us!
Muskoka winters set the scene for an abundance of recreational activities and had proven to be a favourite destination for both year-round permanent residences as well as seasonal visitors. Reliable Muskoka Real Estate agents will tell you that the desire is not just for the views either! There are so many winter activities in Muskoka that are certain to keep every member of the family engaged and entertained all season long.
Below are six different Muskoka winter activities that show that there’s truly no exception to the appeal of Muskoka, even in the wintertime.
One of the most popular and traditional Canadian winter activities is ice skating. Muskoka in winter is one of the best places in Ontario when it comes to ice skating, whether it be for family skating or hockey events. This is because, in addition to an abundance of skating rinks like the Lake of Bays Community Centre Arena (See: Muskoka cottages for sale on Lake of Bays), we also are known as the capital of outdoor skating trails.
If you’ve never heard of a skating trail before, it’s exactly as the name implies: combining the activity of outdoor ice skating and taking it from the rink to the trails of Muskoka. Ice skating trails allow you to glide your skates along the lakes and through the forests of Muskoka for a true Muskoka adventure.
Muskoka is home to four ice skating trails, including Ontario’s longest man-made one: Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail located at Arrowhead Park in Huntsville. This outdoor skating trail boasts a “Fairy Tale Skate Through the Canadian Forest” along its 1.3 kms of groomed ice. On special occasions, Fire & Ice Nights, illuminate the trails with endless Tikki Torches, granting users a unique and enchanting experience under the stars.
Skiing is another popular winter activity that you can take part in while living or vacationing in the Muskoka area. The region is home to hundreds of kilometres of cross-country skiing trails for both experts and beginners alike. These cross-country ski trails can be found among provincial parks, resorts and there are local membership clubs who offer lessons and guidance for those eager to learn more.
Arrowhead Provincial Park provides some of the best cross-country ski trails in the region and conveniently have on-site ski rentals for those without their own equipment.
If downhill skiing is more your thing, the Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is for you. The resort is home to 15 groomed trails and also offer lessons, night skiing, snowboarding, terrain park, children’s camps, as well as any equipment rental you may need.
Historically, dog sledding was used during times of heavy snowfall to reliably transport people and goods across the snowscape.
Today, you don’t need to head up to the frozen tundra to be able to go dogsledding; you need only to travel to Muskoka in winter! Huntsville is home to North Ridge Ranch, which features an impressive fleet of over 60 Alaskan Huskies who guide dog sledding tours for guests. These tours are offered in a one-hour sitting or a half day tour, extending approximately 20 km across the region. All trails used are owned privately by North Ridge on their impressive 500 acres of land.
A list of Muskoka winter activities would be incomplete without snowshoeing. Snowshoeing through Muskoka in winter is an increasingly popular way people have been traversing the frozen landscapes and backcountry of Muskoka. Hundreds of Kilometers of trails exist in the region, allowing you to trek through areas you’d never thought possible on foot. Some trails can be covered with up to two whole feet of snow, making them nearly impossible to traverse without snowshoes.
Many Muskoka resorts include packages that offer snowshoeing or other winter activities in Muskoka, so if you’re just visiting before you commit to owning your own Muskoka winter cottage, these plans might be for you.
Ice fishing is an age-old Canadian tradition and an incredibly popular pastime for those staying in and around Muskoka in winter. Ice fishing involves cutting an opening into thick layers of ice that sit above frozen bodies of water and sinking a fishing line into the hole.
Lake trout and whitefish are commonly found in the lakes of Muskoka, and many catches are taken home to enjoy freshly fried up!
Muskoka Stay n’ Play Tours, located in Bala, offers guided ice fishing tours that provide you with everything from snowmobiles to bait to a heated ice hut. For safety, ice depths and conditions should always be checked before venturing out onto the ice.
Just because the bike trails are covered with snow doesn’t mean the biking season needs to end during winter in Muskoka. This is where fat-tire biking (or fat biking for short) comes in. The wide tire design of these bikes reduces the pressure put into the ground by the cycle and cyclist, allowing them to ride easier over surfaces such as sand or snow without getting snagged along the way.
Fat biking allows for faster, seamless travel across a multitude of cycling trails during the Muskoka winter season. Great trails in Muskoka for fat biking include Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trail and Torrance Barrens situated near Gravenhurst.
If winter in Muskoka sounds like your ideal destination, there is a wide assortment of cottages for sale in Muskoka Ontario that we are happy to represent. If you’re looking to buy a Muskoka Winter Cottage or a cottage or property to use in any season, contact us today, and we can assist in finding you exactly what you’re looking for.
Muskoka Real Estate is dedicated to assisting homeowners with all buying and selling needs in the Muskoka region, whether during the winter, spring, summer or fall. Until then, have a happy snow season!