If you’re a Muskoka cottage owner, chances are good that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered your summer plans. While the province continues to reopen for business, large gatherings at concerts, festivals, midways, and other local celebrations still appear to be quite far away, meaning that you’ll have to get creative when it comes to enjoying your downtime this summer. Thankfully, the Muskoka region is home to dozens of trails that offer gorgeous sights and sounds, giving you and your family a perfect way to connect with nature while staying safe and socially distant. Here are just a few of Muskoka’s beautiful trails we feel are worth discovering this summer.
Don’t forget to pack smart
Before you leave for your outdoor adventure, remember to pack all the essentials. This will include plenty of water, trail food, sunscreen, bug spray, and masks. With so many summertime favourites not taking place until after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, you’ll undoubtedly meet many people along the trail. We recommend wearing a thin disposal mask, as it’ll make hiking easier than a heavier cloth mask would.
You should also wear appropriate clothing that will protect you from the hot sun and unwanted pests like mosquitos, blackflies, and ticks – long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, and long pants will keep you comfortable and protected all day long. If you’re planning on heading out alone, be sure to let somebody know where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.
Catch the sunset at Huckleberry Rock
Huckleberry Rock is one of Muskoka’s enduring scenic lookouts, serving as a local hotspot for over 100 years, featuring billion year old rock and an easy-to-navigate trail that lets you enjoy the sights and sounds of Muskoka Lakes Township. The Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is a 2.5 km loop and is considered to be of moderate difficulty. The trail begins at Milford Bay Road, with free on-site parking. White markers on trees and rocks will lead you to your destination – if you get tired, there are benches along the way that are great for taking a quick break or having a quick bite to eat. When you arrive at the lookout, you’ll be able to take in the sunset in all its glory.
Take in one of Muskoka’s wildest waterfalls on the Wilson’s Falls Trail
The Wilson’s Falls Trail is located in Bracebridge, offering a challenging hike in the forest beside the Muskoka River. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in a gorgeous view of Wilson’s Falls, considered to be the wildest and most impressive waterfall in the Muskoka region. The trail is approximately 3.6 km and is considered to be difficult, featuring steep hills and challenging terrain that can be challenging for inexperienced hikers. The trailhead is located at Macaulay Public School, with additional access points along the trail and a picnic area perfect for enjoying lunch with the family.
The Oxtongue Rapids offers a challenging but highly rewarding experience
The Oxtongue Rapids Hiking Trail is located near Dwight, following the fast moving Oxtongue Rapids and featuring breathtaking views of the Muskoka region. The Oxtongue Trail is 3.7 km long and is considered to be difficult due to the many rocky slopes and the trail’s proximity to the rapids – parents bringing their small children along should make sure that kids are by their side at all times. The trailhead can be found past the monument on Oxtongue Rapids Park Road. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in a beautiful forest, where you might catch a glance at birds and wildlife. For hikers looking to make an afternoon out of the journey, a picnic area is available.
The multi-purpose Hunters Bay Trail is perfect for cyclists, runners, and hikers
If you’re looking for more than just a great spot to hike, the Hunters Bay Trail in Huntsville offers amazing opportunities for cycling and running. The trail is 4.6 km and is considered to be of moderate difficulty. The trailhead can be found at the Centre Street bridge, proceeding along the river, under the railway, and onto Hunters Bay’s south side. This gorgeous trail features plenty of places to stop for a break or a bite to eat, offering a unique view of Huntsville’s surroundings.
Stay safe and socially distant this summer by exploring the area’s many hiking trails and spending time outdoors. The Muskoka region offers endless opportunities for cottagers and locals to get in touch with their surroundings, taking in unbeatable views, catching rare glimpses of wildlife, and creating beautiful memories with family and friends along the way.