The Haliburton Highlands in central Ontario feature some of the wildest stretches of cottage country, home to vast forest expanses, glistening lakes, and abundant wildlife. The highlands truly come alive in winter, when the rivers freeze over and snow blankets over a hundred thousand acres of exquisite wilderness. 

There are many fun winter activities and things to do in Haliburton, ranging from ice-climbing and snowmobiling to exploring the Haliburton Sculpture Forest or visiting the Wolf Centre to learn more about the region’s conservation efforts. 

The Haliburton Highlands are also one of the few natural areas south of Thunder Bay where visitors can enjoy dog sledding in Ontario. 

Cross Country Skiing in the Haliburton Highlands Sculpture Forest

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is a unique outdoor garden featuring art pieces ranging from post-modern sculptures to indigenous art. The Sculpture Forest offers the chance not just to see amazing art, but to get active and explore trails for hiking and biking. 

The fun doesn’t stop in the winter. Instead of hiking and biking, visitors can strap on their skis or snowshoes on a self-guided tour of the forest. The collection takes on a whole new beauty in the winter, amidst the snow and ice. 

Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre

The Haliburton Forest is a 100,000-acre wildlife reserve featuring a variety of activities such as camping and hiking in the summer, as well as snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. However, the centerpiece of the Haliburton Forest’s conservation efforts is their Wolf Centre, a 15-acre enclosure home to a pack of timber wolves. 

The Wolf Centre offers the chance to learn about the wolves and even view their feedings through one-way glass, however visitors have no contact with the creatures and staff preserve their natural habitat as much as possible. 

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Dog Sledding in Haliburton, Ontario

There are hundreds of kilometers of trails across the highlands dedicated to dog sledding in Haliburton. From afternoon jaunts with a team of enthusiastic Huskies to moonlit tours across the snowy days, there are plenty of options for those who want to experience Haliburton dog sledding. 

Haliburton dog sled tours range from short training sessions with experienced instructors all the way to half-day and full day excursions across hundreds of kilometers. Regardless, mushers-in-training will have plenty of opportunities to play with the pups while dog sledding in Haliburton. 

Haliburton dog sledding providers include Winterdance, Your Outdoors, and Haliburton Forest.

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Ice Climbing

The Haliburton Highlands feature a number of stunning waterfalls – and once winter descends and the rushing waters freeze over, they provide an opportune spot for ice climbing. Your Outdoors offers a range of ice climbing experiences for both beginners and experienced climbers. 

Experience the thrill of ice climbing without the sheer, bone-chilling terror of hanging suspended in the air clinging to a frozen waterfall thanks to the Medeba Ice Wall. A manmade ice climbing wall ideal for novice ice climbers. 

Fur and Flintlock Snowshoe Tour 

While the Haliburton Highlands have a number of trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, the Fur and Flintlock snowshoe tour has a fun, historical twist – a 2km hike on snowshoes to an 18th century fur trading outpost. The Fur and Flintlock tour offers not only the chance to learn about Canada’s oldest industry, but also to experience the North American wilds the way the fur traders did, and even try out traditional cuisine. 

Special thanks to the staff at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, Ascend Hotel Collection for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Southeastern Ontario