Cottage country is known for its lakes, but they’re not the only stunning water feature worth checking out. Muskoka is home to some of Ontario’s most dazzling waterfalls, carved out of the unique topography of the Canadian shield.

Many are clustered around Bracebridge, making them an easy hop for a Sunday drive if you’ve a home in Huntsville, Gravenhurst or around Lake Muskoka. Others are nestled in the area’s provincial parks, delighting hikers and adding breathtaking beauty to scenic lookouts.

Refreshing in summer, shimmering in winter, these eye-catching cascades will make you fall in love with the Muskokas all over again.

  1. Bracebridge Falls

It’s hard to miss the Bracebridge Falls. For one thing, you can hear them roaring from town thanks to their convenient downtown location on Wharf Road. Covered by the iconic Silver Bridge, this is a picture-perfect scene that’s well worth a visit if you’re enjoying Bracebridge’s lively shopping scene or just feel like strolling around town.

2. Hatchery Falls

You’ll have to strap on your hiking boots to see Hatchery Falls, but you won’t want to miss this classic rock-hewn waterfall fringed by dense forest. 

West of Utterson, at the south end of Skeleton Lake, the falls are accessible off Fish Hatchery Road. Park at the former fish hatchery and follow the signs to pick up the trail across the field and into the woods. The well-marked path will lead you right to the falls within 15 to 20 minutes. 

3. High Falls

Back in Bracebridge again, this time for four waterfalls in one. 

The High Falls water park, located on High Falls Road to the north of Bracebridge, contains four waterfalls on one site making it a must for waterfall enthusiasts. 

Here you’ll find High Falls, Little High Falls, Pott’s Falls, and Muskoka Canyon Falls – all natural rapids that offer keen photographers plenty of stunning shots. The area is well signposted, with plenty of hiking trails so you can easily wander to the waterfalls, enjoying gorgeous views along the way. 

4. Ragged Falls

Just before the entrance to Algonquin Park, on Highway 60, you’ll find Ragged Falls – a stunning cascade that’s regularly named one of the best 10 waterfalls in the province.

Churning into the Oxtongue River, the whitewater rapids are an impressive sight. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the lookout so you don’t even have to break a sweat. Pack a picnic or just soak up the peace of this geological marvel, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

5. Skeleton Falls

Also known as Minnehaha Falls, Skeleton Falls is a remote waterfall perfect for when you want to escape the busy Muskoka highways and immerse yourself in the natural playground of cottage country.

It’s a steep cascade with downstream rapids so take care when visiting the site. Located off Highway 141, the high falls are just as pretty in the colder months than summer. In deep winter, the slower-moving torrents freeze over, giving a gorgeous glacial effect. In summer, it’s a good idea to bring bug spray – locals say the falls take their name from the over-zealous mosquitos who only leave skeletons in their wake.

6. Wilson’s Falls

It’s worth taking a full day to explore Wilson’s Falls in Bracebridge. These pretty falls meander down rocky layers of the Canadian shield, gently rushing into the north branch of the Muskoka river. 

There’s a picnic area nearby along with plenty of walking trails and swimming spots for lazy summer days. If you’re in the mood for a lengthier hike, take the Wilson’s Falls trail, a 3.6 km loop that takes you through deep forest, sleep slopes and rocky terrain.

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