9 – Haliburton Highlands

Stanhope Heritage Cycling Tour 2012 welcomed participants aged 4 through 74.

Stanhope Heritage Cycling Tour 2012 welcomed participants aged 4 through 74.

Non-Linear section: multiple Hike Bike Paddle options • The central rail trail network of the Toronto to Algonquin Greenway (TAG) ends in Haliburton Village. Between there and TAG Zone 10 which is the Paddle to the Park section, there are many activities we’d like to suggest.

The Village Pathways Map will help you explore the parks, businesses and cultural attractions of the little town where TAG was born.

Haliburton Highlands Cycling Coalition publishes a map of on-road routes to cycle Haliburton. The attractive pocket size map offers guidance as to ability level for each route, and the gradient of hills. We’d be happy to mail one to you if you send us a request. You can pick one up at Rails End Gallery or download individual routes from the Cycling Coalition’s website.

Yours Outdoors is a unique experience broker. This imaginative enterprise keeps its focus on stimulating local economic benefits to Greenway communities. Their Pedal Your Arts cycling tours provide guided on-bike enjoyment of scenery with discovery of Haliburton Highland’s artistic talents and local flavours.

The Highlands offers exceptional mountain biking at Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride at Eagle Lake. The centre offers food and beverage service, races and events, bike rentals, and supportive staff. There are trails for all skill levels. Sir Sam’s is a family-run business with a wonderful history in the community. They have a unique covered lift which can take you and your bike to the top of the hill offering views of two lakes. The scenic wooded trails can also be hiked.

In contrast, there’s a no-frills mountain biking option – volunteers have created a network of single track in the municipally-owned Glebe Park in Haliburton Village.

Stanhope township is a particular focus of TAG. This area is classic glaciated highlands; lakes, rocky bluffs, rivers that either lazily meander or rush over rocky rapids. The network of Algonquin Highlands Hiking Trails is the best way to appreciate the lay of the land here. These are ridge trails through typical Haliburton mixed forest. Ontario’s last Log Chute has been beautifully rebuilt to original specs, as a project of the Stanhope Heritage Museum.

The area is served by several cottage resorts and restaurants. Stouffer Mill B&B is a unique twelve-sided cedar post and beam building high on forested hillside overlooking Halls Lake. With its exceptional hospitality, it is already attracting the type of international traveller that we hope will come to explore TAG.

Starting from Buttermilk Falls, the annual Stanhope Heritage Cycling Tour is an easy 10 km loop with several stops along the way exploring pioneer cemeteries, outdoor sculptures, stone architecture and a marshland teeming with wildlife. We’re working on a self-guided map for 2015.

Whitewater kayaking rentals or lessons are available through Boatwerks in Minden. If you have your own gear and experience, contact Whitewater Ontario about their world famous facility on the Gull River, the Minden White Water Preserve. This served as the kayak venue for the Pan Am Games, July 2015.

To rent a classic canoe or other paddling equipment contact Algonquin Outfitters in Haliburton Village.

Lochlin Esker Wetlands is on private property. If you can manage to join a guided hike or request one through the website link, this is a rare opportunity to experience firsthand the four types of wetlands: marsh, swamp, fen and bog. You will climb atop a 75′ tall glacier-created serpentine esker. The property is a stirring example of how one landowner has taken a stand to protect his paradise from aggregate extraction interests.