We Found Variety In The Outdoor Fun In Huntsville Ontario
We found some great variety in the outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario. There were some great sights around the town. And a day trip to Arrowhead Provincial Park added many more.
After we explored the waterfalls around Bracebridge when we stayed in Gravenhurst, we headed further north to Huntsville. We had 3 days planned to check out this new part of Ontario north of Toronto.
Wander In The Town Centre
It was great to have elite status and points with hotels and airlines. But we never forgot that the points expired. So for this trip we re-set our IHG Rewards status for another year with a stay at the Holiday Inn Express Huntsville. The hotel was located right off the highway and was a great base for exploring around Huntsville. A free buffet breakfast was included for our stay. But we missed the full kitchen we had on our stay in Gravenhurst.
It was a quick drive from the hotel to the downtown area in Huntsville. The town sat on the East River that flowed from Algonquin Provincial Park. We found lots of watercraft for rent on the water. And the most colourful artistic display of painted canoes.
When we wandered along the streets in Huntsville, we found colourful artwork everywhere. Much of the art was part of the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery. Throughout the region the collection included over 90 murals that celebrated the classic works of the Canadian Group of Seven artists. We found many of the outdoor scene pieces located in Huntsville including a statue of the Canadian painter Tom Thomson at work.
We enjoyed exploring the town looking for outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario.
A Family Visit To Minden
When we travelled we loved when we got the chance to visit with friends and family. So when we planned a trip to Huntsville we planned a day trip to Minden to see family. We asked the hotel staff for a bakery recommendation so we would not arrive empty handed. The Windmill Bakery had so many great treats it was hard not to fill a full box of treats.
It was about an hour drive along twisty roads through the many lakes in this part of Ontario. Just the kind of road trip we loved! We found my brother’s house on the lake and settled in to enjoy the company and the lovely spot. When they took us for a boat ride out around the lakes, we got a chance to see the landscape from the water. Everyone enjoyed the trip!
After a short family visit, we headed back north. But we had one detour on our travel plan. When we stayed in Gravenhurst, we loved the chance to explore the waterfalls around Bracebridge. So we mapped a few waterfall stops on the route to Minden. When we saw the sign for Buttermilk Falls, we could not resist pulling in.
We followed the sound of the rushing water and picked our way through the forest. We saw the water rushing by in a very narrow channel. There was no clear path in the forest so we were careful. We certainly did not want to end up in that water flow.
Even when we did not plan for outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario we found many options as we travelled on a day trip.
Visit Arrowhead Provincial Park
There were two large Provincial Parks in the Huntsville area. The largest was Algonquin Provincial Park. The vast Algonquin Park covered 7,635 square kilometres of forests, bogs, rivers and thousands of lakes. Arrowhead Provincial Park was a bit closer and quite a bit smaller. There were 15 km of hiking trails, beaches and a few sights we really wanted to see. So for this trip to Huntsville we chose to do a day trip to Arrowhead Provincial Park.
It was a short drive from our hotel to Arrowhead Provincial Park. We drove in and the main gate was not manned. The sign directed us to the Visitor Centre to get a park pass. There were camping facilities at the park and passes were required for day use for hikes and beach visits as well.
When we checked on the day pass fees we were delighted when we found out that passes for ex-military people were free. So that saved us some money. We did not get a tag for our car as the license plate numbers were recorded for verification of fees paid. The day pass fee covered a vehicle plus a small fee per person. It was really not expensive for outdoor fun for a day. The passes were available online.
We spent some time looking at the park map to plot our visit. Our first activity this day for outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario was a hike to Stubbs Falls.
Hike In Arrowhead Provincial Park For Stubb’s Falls
We drove through the park and found parking lots for Stubb’s Falls on either side of the Little East River. When we asked about the hike at the Visitor Centre, it was suggested we start with the easier path on the east side. The total loop to the falls and back was about 2.3 km.
The path in was largely flat. A few times we found openings over the river and looked down. The river was mirror flat and we found it hard to believe we were walking to a waterfall.
When we finally reached the metal stairway going down, we heard the waterfalls roaring. But the view upriver was still flat calm.
Stubb’s Falls cascaded down over multiple levels of rocks. To get close to the water we scrambled around and over a series of rocks. With no railings at all, we got right up to the water as it rushed by. We found a steep path through the forest and went down to the bottom of the falls.
After we enjoyed the view of Stubb’s Falls, we decided to take the tougher forest hike back on the west side. As warned, the path was very wet and muddy. The mosquitos sure loved this path! When we reached the park road we got one more look back at the calm waters that led to Stubb’s Falls.
We were glad we planned to start our visit to Arrowhead Provincial Park with a hike to Stubb’s Falls. Definitely great outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario.
Panoramic Views Over Big Bend For Outdoor Fun In Huntsville Ontario
We had one more key sight on our plans for our visit to Arrowhead Provincial Park. We backtracked through the park and stopped at the sign for the Big Bend Lookout.
It was a short walk to the large viewpoint platform over the Big Bend. As soon as we looked down, it reminded us so much of the views we got over the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. We got a stunning view of the meandering Big East River and the park terrain. The slow moving river provided great reflections of the clouds as they moved in. Information boards provided more information about this interesting feature in the park
We wandered along the path beside the river for a different perspective on the Big Bend. A rough path led through the forest towards the edge. And it rewarded us with yet another great panoramic view. Back in the distance we saw the viewpoint platform.
We were so glad we saw the two incredible sights we planned for Arrowhead Provincial Park. The clouds started to descend and the winds picked up. So we decided to leave the park. We knew one day we would be back to explore more of this outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario.
Take A Ride On The Huntsville And Lake Of Bays Steam Train
The rain started soon after we returned to the hotel and continued into the next day. There were still a few sights in Huntsville we did not want to miss. We had an adage about taking photos when you see them – because the view might not be the same when you returned. Visiting some of Huntsville’s sights might have been better when the sun was shining but we did not let the rain stop us.
Headed to the panoramic Lion’s Lookout, our timing was perfect and we found the Huntsville And Lake Of Bays Steam Train chugging out steam at the train platform. The steam train ride was about 30 minutes along the Muskoka River to the Fairy Lake Station. There was even a Steam Museum at the Rotary Village Station to visit.
We watched the train pull out of the station and head along the water. The train was almost full. The rain had not deterred these steam train fans either. Check out the video to see how much fun the steam train was – even in the rain!
We had the steam train ride on our plans for outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario. Even if we did not get a ride, we were excited when we saw the train in action.
Get A Panoramic View At The Lion’s Lookout
Our last stop before we left Huntsville was a stop at the Lion’s Lookout. We followed the road and meandered our way along the steep road to the parking lot at the top. There was a large parking lot at the bottom and a 1.3 km trail provided a hike to the top if you did not want to drive. But this was considered an intermediate level trail because of the steep inclines. And we were not doing that hike in the rain!
Once parked we headed to the viewpoint out over the Muskoka River and Fairy Lake. We read the information plaque and took in the view. Even in the rain, it was the perfect panoramic spot.
We saw the gazebo sitting up on the rocks and checked out the view from there. Through the trees we looked back towards town.
We had planned to visit the Lion’s Lookout for a sunset view. The rain the night before ruined those plans. But we were still glad we made a stop at the Lion’s Lookout for the views. We would definitely head back on a sunny day for this outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario.
A Short Stop In Orillia
The final stop on our trip north was on the way home in Orillia. We sometimes planned stays and met hotel elite status promotion requirements. The Marriott Bonvoy program offered a free night hotel certificate if you completed two stays. The free night certificate was worth far more than a one night stop cost us for the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orillia. We used it for our coming trip to Sicily and Malta for a one night stay at an expensive hotel in Naples, Italy.
While we booked an extra night to meet our hotel elite promotion needs we planned to leave Huntsville early and spend a little time in Orillia. But when we left Huntsville, the forecast had the rain following us for at least 24 hours. Luckily we made our planned lunch stop at Lock 42 Grill at Lock 42 on the Trent Severn Canal on Lake Couchiching before the rain hit.
We loved exploring the fascinating locks on the Trent Severn Canal. So after we ate we spent a little time watching the busy locks fill with boats.
While we only chose the Fairfield Inn as a quick stop, we were quite surprised by how nice this newer roadside hotel was. The room design addressed many of the issues we often had with hotels. We found lots of plugs, a great sunshade with blackout curtains that worked and enough room to spread out. The free breakfast selection was great and even included fresh strawberries and banana loaf. Not a standard buffet for this level of hotel.
Our plans to explore were dashed as the dark clouds and high winds came in. Accompanied by tornado warnings for the area we were in. We settled in for a quiet stay to finish this trip for outdoor fun in Huntsville.
Visit For The Outdoor Fun In Huntsville Ontario
We had a 3 night stop and the days were filled with outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario. We found lots to see and do in the town of Huntsville. And were glad we visited Arrowhead Provincial Park for some amazing sights.
But we did not see everything that a visit to Huntsville offered. Next time we will plan a longer visit and not miss a few days exploring Algonquin National Park. We might even look for a cabin to rent within the park. The other thing we wanted to do was visit the Deerhurst Resort. We had hoped to visit for lunch or dinner on this trip but simply ran out of time. Maybe we add in a luxury escape on a return to Huntsville.
From Huntsville we headed back south towards home in Toronto. We had a one night stop planned for Orillia. But we huddled in our room when the tornado warning blasted on our phones. Our short road trip north of Toronto was at an end.
Did you find outdoor fun in Huntsville Ontario? What was your favourite adventure?
Copyright Notice: All material on this travel blog site is the sole property of RetiredAndTravelling. This includes blog posts, pages, design and all photos (whether watermarked or not). Any use of materials from this site without express written consent will be considered copyright infringement.