- whitewater paddling
- road biking
Why Go? Huntsville’s title as the triathlon capital of Canada—the city hosts about three per year—hints at the area’s potential for recreation. Set in Ontario cottage country, there are three lakes within town. It’s also only 30 minutes to the western gate of Algonquin Provincial Park, and all the hiking and canoeing within. And it’s only an hour to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.
Play: The Canadian Shield dominates the geography around here, all rolling hills, exposed bedrock and perfect lakes. The Spin the Lake Loop, a popular 100-km road riding circuit, takes in much of it as it circumnavigates Lake of Bays via backroads. Hikers should head to nearby Arrowhead Provincial Park, where several hikes head out into the forest and around the lakes. Find another 70 km of trails at the Limberlost Forest, a private wild land open to the public. A good start: amble the Solitaire Trail with a side trip to the viewpoints above Buck Lake. Towards Algonquin, put in at Oxtongue Lake and paddle upstream to Ragged Falls, one of the nicest in the province. The rest of the river is worthy of exploration too, from deep inside the park all the way to Lake of Bays. Limberlost’s lake chain is another good canoe destination: with canoes waiting at each of the lakes, the portages are a breeze. Or launch onto just about any lake around here and paddle off into the wilderness—the options are almost limitless. This is also Ontario’s snowbelt, picking up plenty of flakes blowing off Lake Huron onto abundant cross-country ski trails and Hidden Valley Highlands, one of Ontario’s best ski hills.
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Stay: Limberlost Forest rents six lakefront cottages and cabins. Several of the campgrounds in Arrowhead Provincial Park are in the forest with great swimming beaches. The quietest might be South Lumby.
Eat: Tuck into fresh pasta at That Little Place by the Lights. Pick up a muffin and soup for later (and a coffee for now) at Lucy’s Lunchbox. On a hot day, don’t miss getting a scoop of locally-made ice cream at Kawartha Dairy.