Things to do in Muskoka in Winter

Written By: The Planet D

“They will tear you apart if you call it The Muskokas.” As I referred to it during our lunch in Huntsville. “It is Muskoka, not The Muskokas” as I’ve been foolishly referring to it for years! There you go, and now you know. Either way, Muskoka is beautiful and contrary to popular belief, it is open all year long! Here are the best things to do in Muskoka this winter.

Sure, winter is cold. There is no doubt about it. But when you dress for it and get outdoors to play, it can be very comfortable. (See our winter packing list)

Things to do in Muskoka in Winter

We set our sights on Huntsville, Ontario for our Winter Sampler. Huntsville is in the heart of cottage country and has ranked #1 by National Geographic as the Best Trips of Summer.

We all know that Muskoka is the premier cottage country in Canada attracting celebrities like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t close up after the leaves fall.

As a matter a fact, winter in Muskoka is magical.

things to do in muskoka winter group

We started our Winter Sampler getting our energy up at 3 Guys and a Stove.

Chef Jeff Suddaby treated us to a sampler menu of fresh Pastas stuffed with Ricotta cheese, fresh blackened yellowfin tuna, pumpkin and sweet potato soup and a crisp mixed green salad among other items filling our table with a feast fit for a king.

It’s the place to be in Huntsville, the celebrity autographs on the wall prove it!

1. Stay at Cedar Grove Lodge

With our bellies full, we checked in to Cedar Grove Lodge for three nights of winter fun. Cedar Grove is a member of the independently owned and operated Resorts of North Muskoka.

It’s a welcome change to the large resorts, offering guests a more intimate setting with all the amenities of four-star service.

Our spacious cabin had a wood burning stone fireplace, a luxurious bathroom with slate heated floors, and a jet tub. Its location directly on the lake made for a picture-perfect retreat.

We didn’t have to rush out right away to enjoy the snow either because there is snowshoeing and ice skating on sight.

We caught a game of hockey before dinner too! Snuggling up on Muskoka chairs we stayed warm by the outdoor fire watching the sunset as we waited for the 6:00 pm dinner call.

winter fire

2. Snowshoe in Algonquin Park

One of the highlights of our trip to Muskoka was to be able to snowshoe in Algonquin Park.

We’ve only been to Algonquin during the summer months, but to see it in the winter is an entirely different experience.

There are several loops for snowshoers to take a hike to in the middle of this iconic Provincial Park.

We picked up our gear at Algonquin Outfitters and set out with guide extraordinaire and adventure blogger Gord Baker. Gord is our type of guy.

We just loved his laid-back attitude mixed with his heir of confidence.

His years of experience made us feel comfortable following him onto the frozen lake or along the snow-covered trails directly beside rushing waterfalls.

things to do in muskoka winter deb

Our favourite moment was when Gord jumped into the snow off the trail. If you’ve never snowshoed before, you may not know that the reason people snowshoe is so that the shoes keep them from sinking into the snow up to their waist.

The snowshoes help you stay above the snow, if you don’t walk on them you end up like this!

snowshoe

Algonquin Outfitters rents all the gear you need to snowshoe or cross country ski in the park and surrounding areas and can give you maps and recommendations on where to go.

Make sure you stop at the park headquarters on your way in and say hello to the friendly staff. They’ll let you know what’s open and what trails are in the best condition.

Snowshoeing is a fantastic workout, but some people may want a little bit of motorized power.

If you haven’t snowmobiled before, this is the place to do it. The trails around Explorers’ Edge (as the area is known) are well groomed and marked and you can choose from hundreds of km of tracks.

Snowmobiles are easy to drive and they even have a lot of modern comforts like heated handlebars.

There are no more worries about your fingers getting cold while you ride. Throw in a couple of toe warmers and you’ll be out all day feeling toasty warm!

3. Snowmobile the Muskoka Trails

things to do in muskoka winter ski doo

If you are worried about not having gear to ride, don’t be. Backcountry Tours has sleds to rent including winter coats and snow pants with insulated helmets with face masks.

Snowmobiling is the great Canadian adventure so make sure to give it a try!

What we love about the Explorers’ Edge region is all the choices. There are several provincial parks in the region, 11 to be exact covering an area larger than many European countries.

Both Algonquin and Arrowhead Provincial Parks are open all year long!

There’s everything up here from Dogsledding to cross country skiing. We got the chance to sample it’s two most unique attractions though, skating on the ice trail and fat biking.

4. Skate on the Ice Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park

Arrowhead Provincial Park packs a lot of punch in a small area and it is perfect for families and couples too!

The 1.5 km ice skating trail is the prime attraction allowing visitors to go for a skate in the middle of the forest.

They even have a zamboni taking care of the ice. When we were there, they had just re-opened after being closed for three days of grooming.

They take their ice seriously here and it’s in immaculate condition for an outdoor arena.

We’ve skated on the choppy ice of the Rideau Canal and this ice trail is in way better condition.

It’s a lot of fun too as you can stop for a rest on picnic tables, warming stations and after you are done, you can head over to a cabin for some warmth by the fire in the woodstove.

winter skating

5. Fat Biking at Arrowhead Provincial Park

Kids and adults alike love playing in the snowtubing park and maybe, just maybe by this time next year, you’ll be able to ride Fat Bikes like Dave and I.

We gave it a test run while visiting and have decided that it will be the next big thing in winter sports!

winter biking

6. Snowtubing in Muskoka

things to do in muskoka winter tubing

7. Take a Romantic Sleigh Ride

Finally, your winter sampler wouldn’t be complete without romance, and a sleigh ride with Back of Beyond Equine Centre is just the ticket.

Snuggle up with your sweetie under a blanket as you explore the beautiful forest followed by hot chocolate and apple cider by the fire roasting marshmallows.

things to do in muskoka winter horse

Dinner at the Mill on Main is a great option for a meal to get out of Cedar Grove for the night. It’s Asian/English fusion cuisine was a surprise in this small town, but it was totally delicious.

So, that’s your winter sampler in Huntsville.

There’s plenty to do here to keep winter fun and exciting. So what are you waiting for? Grab your coziest warmest clothes and get outta town! With a getaway to northern Ontario, you just may find that you will fall in love with winter!

For more information on travel to Muskoka visit Explorers’ Edge 

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

11 thoughts on “Things to do in Muskoka in Winter”

  1. Wow, you are right; winter in Muskoka does look magical! When the wintry wonderland looks as nice as it does in your photos and not like the usual slush you get in the city, it’s definitely quite easy to fall in love with the snow. And as it looks like, you found some pretty fun winter activities to make good use of the fluffy white snow. When you get to enjoy yourself in such a fun way, who cares about signing a menu or wall anyway… 😉

    Reply
    • Thanks Dennis. You hit the nail on the head, when you get out of the city, winter can be magical. I think that people who live up north enjoy winter much more because there is so much to do. They get outside, go for hikes and enjoy the scenery. Haha, it’s true, our wall menu remark was tongue in cheek. It was fun reading who had been there though.

      Reply
  2. Now those are some serious bike tires! Love the ice-trail idea too, I’ve never seen that before. Looks a lot more fun than skating a typical pond.

    Reply
    • The ice trail is such a great idea. In Canada, a lot of people go to the rinks, but this makes me want to strap on my skates more. The last thing I ever want to do is skate around in circles at an arena, but the trail is a hoot!

      Reply
    • For sure! Outdoor fireplaces are great. You stay toasty warm too and yes, very romantic, especially if you have a big blanket wrapped around.

      Reply
    • You will love it Kristy. National Geographic has already discovered it for summer fun, now people are going to start taking notice for winter adventures too!

      Reply
  3. Hey there!you two did a great job covering how much fun winter in Muskokacan be!
    Follow me on twitter @mymuskokanews
    Ill tweet you out. I fell in love w Muskoka in the winter!

    Reply