Nestled between Arrowhead Provincial Park and Algonquin Provincial Park, Huntsville is the largest community in the Muskoka region and has rightly been dubbed ‘the adventure capital of Ontario.’
Whether you’re looking for skiing, hiking, bicycling, good food, art exhibits or top-notch entertainment, you’ll find this city is ripe for adventure year-round.
Where is Huntsville?
The charming city of Huntsville is located in the heart of Muskoka in the hilly terrain of the Canadian Shield. The town is 42 km from Algonquin Provincial Park and less than 10 km from Arrowhead Provincial Park. Numerous lakes surround Huntsville, providing additional water and boating access to the towns.
Huntsville is located off Highway 11 and Highway 60, Muskoka (Regional) Road 3, with buses running daily to and from Toronto.
Things to Do in Huntsville
The beautiful town of Huntsville is best known for its love of the great outdoors and access to many nature trails, parks and lakes. You’ll also find delicious food, amazing local artwork, fabulous shopping and many other points of interest.
Thanks to the terrain and climate, outdoor activities in and around Huntsville are available year-round, ranging from hiking, camping, paddling and bicycling in warmer months to skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter.
Just over a half hour drive east Huntsville, you’ll find access to Algonquin Provincial Park. Experience Ontario’s cherished wilderness through camping, backpacking, boating, canoeing, fishing, skiing, swimming and wildlife viewing. The park provides education programs and interpretive workshops and hikes for those interested in an in-depth understanding of the region’s natural beauty.
10 minutes north of Huntsville is Arrowhead Provincial Park. The smaller park offers many similar activities, including treed campsites, sand beaches, hiking trails, canoe, kayak, paddleboard and mountain bike rentals, as well as outfitting for snowshoes, ice skating, sit-skis and more during the winter.
Several trekking and adventure-focused companies offer equipment rentals and guided adventures for visitors eager to hit the trails, ski slopes or bicycle paths.
Huntsville has been attracting visual artists for more than a century with its vivid landscapes and picturesque charm. Such famed painters as Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven were inspired by the area. Today, you’ll find outdoor Group of Seven murals and a statue of Tom Thomson in town. And other galleries, museums, and shops feature visual arts and handicrafts by local Huntsville artists.
Consider planning your visit around the Huntsville Festival of Arts, one of the region’s top visual and performing arts festivals. Events sponsored by the festival take place year-round, with the main bulk of performances and public displays happening each summer.
For train and history buffs, the Muskoka Heritage Place makes for a fun afternoon of exploration. Learn about the local history at the Muskoka Museum, watch demonstrations, learn handicrafts, dress up like a pioneer, and try some scones or bannock at the Pioneer Museum. Take a ride on the century-old Portage Flyer steam train.
For panoramic views worthy of any Instagram account, take a walk along Lions Lookout Trail. The 1.5 km long trail can be accessed via Forbes Hill Drive and Camp Kitchen Road, and climbs up over the Muskoka River and Fairy Lake, with an overlook offering spectacular views of the city beneath and the surrounding hills.
Another path worth hiking is the 4.8 km long Fairy Vista Trail. On the lightly trafficked path, you’ll spot wildlife and wildflowers. Bring your dog along or rent some cross country skis in winter.
While in town, try the many restaurants serving up classic Canadian fare, familiar standards and a selection of international cuisines. Many restaurants feature local artists and live music throughout the week.
Huntsville Neighbourhoods & Districts
Huntsville’s nearby neighborhoods with the most popular attractions include those near lakes and art districts.
Find many shops, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and public art and attractions for the whole family.
Enjoy this small, private island with cottage rentals.
Home to many waterfront and outdoor attractions including a public beach and waterfall.
Residential neighborhood with cottages along the waterfront.
Things to Know About Visiting Huntsville
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Huntsville, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the city.
The Muskoka Chair Tour will take you to some of the most beautiful outlooks in the city. 10 Adirondack chairs are scattered throughout the city, spot them and you’ll end up experiencing gorgeous views, and maybe a fun hike or two.
HuffPost named Huntsville the best place to experience fall colours in 2016.
Insiders tip for family fun
Where to get great city views
HuffPost has also previously ranked Muskoka as having the best fall colours in the country.