Muskoka waterfalls

A walking guide to Muskoka’s five most beautiful waterfalls

Waterfalls are some of the most stunning natural wonders to explore. If you’re enjoying some R&R in Muskoka, you may want to check out some of the several cascading waterfalls in the area. Muskoka’s trail network covers close to 4,000 square kilometres of rugged terrain and while some of these hikes are easy, others are a little more on the adventurous side. But, they all — sooner or later — lead to some of the most beautiful waterfalls that are sure worth your time and effort. They are also just a couple of hours outside Toronto.  

High Falls

 

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Located along the north branch of Muskoka River, this 50-foot high and tremendously steep falls is easily one of the most magnificent in the region. The trail leading to High Falls follows an old road through a red pine plantation and points to a breathtaking view of the rapids. The trail is quite rocky, so proper footwear might be a wise idea. A day permit comes at $12 per vehicle, and can be purchased at the Pine Grove Point. Fun fact: The trail system leading to High Falls is actually part of the Trans-Canada Trail (The Great Trail).

 

Stubbs Falls

 

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Just north of Huntsville, this beautifully cascading waterfall comes with a 3.9 km loop trail. Located within Arrowhead Provincial Park, this year-round attraction is your one-stop answer to enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you are hiking or biking, its winding trails – cutting through maple forests, past the waterfalls onto the beaver ponds across homesteaders’ farms – will leave you yearning for more. The meandering Little and Big East Rivers leading to the falls will also take care of your paddling, fishing, and swimming needs, should you opt for more relaxing activities. The cherry on top? Your furry friends can also enjoy this trail!

 

Bracebridge Falls

 

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If anything, this is Muskoka’s focal point of civic pride. Here, the north branch of the Muskoka River empties itself into Bracebridge Bay. Surrounded by parkland on both sides, the view of Bracebridge Falls from the top is pretty impressive, especially when lit up at night with coloured floodlights. For the gallant and fearless, Bracebridge also offers one of the region’s only treetop trekking adventures, allowing you to shriek through the air almost 15 metres above the ground. For the rest, located 10 minutes west of Bracebridge is Santa’s Village, where you can enjoy a tête-à-tête with the big guy even in summer.

 

Bala Falls

 

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The Bala region is most famously known for the Kee to Bala and the Bala cranberry marshes. You can begin by marvelling at the gorgeous waterfalls pouring over the rocky shoal into Bala Bay, which is part of the Muskoka Lakes and then stop over for a quick lunch at the Bala Falls pub. If you’ve had a rough week, you might also want to consider checking into the Active Turtle Retreat and go on an inspiring journey of self discovery to restore your body and spirit. 

 

Skeleton Falls

 

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Situated at the bottom of a deep gorge by the Skeleton River, this quaint and beautiful waterfall has somewhat of a lore surrounding its name. Apparently, it gets its name from all the skeletons that mosquitoes leave behind once they are done ravishing on unsuspecting hikers. That aside, this one is a treat for sore eyes. With its white-barked trees contrasted against the most unnaturally green moss and the darkest of rocks, the view is a riot of colours that will most certainly unleash the artiste lurking within you. 

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