You don’t have to look very hard to find adventure in Canada, especially in Ontario. Hiking, kayaking or canoeing on a lake or camping by a breathtaking view are the norm here. If you want a truly memorable experience and are willing to go the extra mile for it, then take these simple pleasures to the next level. Keep reading to discover the incredible adventures of a lifetime.
A 420 million-year-old dolomite ascends through Lake Huron to form Fathom Five National Park, where ancient rock formations and cliff-edge forests come together to create this ecological site. Below the gleaming lake lie 22 shipwrecks; there are also rare species of orchids and geological formations such as caves, cliffs, and overhangs. Explore this unique freshwater ecosystem by taking a glass bottom boat tour or by scuba diving and snorkeling. Most people spend a day here, hiking the trails, swimming and picnicking, but if you’re looking to get more out of it, set up camp on Flower Pot Island. The easiest way to get to the island is by taking a boat tour fromTobermory.
Paddling “Shimmering Waters”
Ontario means “Shimmering Waters.” The province lives up to the name with over half a million lakes and rivers and a coastline spanning thousands of kilometers. Water babies can experience a breathtaking adventure by canoeing or kayaking in some of Ontario’s most beautiful areas. There are many different routes and options, depending on your experience level and the type of scenery you’re seeking. Don’t miss Algonquin Provincial Park; spending a few days here is ideal, but even if you only have a short amount of time, a paddle or two is an absolute must. Naturally Superior Adventures offers guided sea-kayak day trips, and if you like a bit of adrenaline, no matter what your level of expertise, Madawaska Kanu Centre offers the chance to do some whitewater paddling.
A boreal adventure
The boreal forest in northern Ontario is the most unharmed boreal forest in the world, covering an area the size of France. For one of the best backcountry experiences, head to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park with Red Lake Outfitters. Their self-guided trips will fulfill your wildest dreams. Accessible only by air, adventure lovers have a chance to immerse themselves deep in the forest, journey The Bloodvein River, seek out wolves, and go on a moose safari.
Thrill-seeking adventurers will love Ottawa River’s whitewater rapids. The Algonquin First Nations called it “The Great River”; flowing out of Lake Temiskaming, it runs over 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) along Ontario’s east border up to St. Lawrence. For the fearless of heart, nothing but the choppy waves and swells of Hell’s Half Mile, Lemming’s Leap and Butcher’s Knife will do. If that isn’t daring enough, then take on the 16-foot (4.8-meter) waterfall at Garvin’s Chute.
There are a few outfitters along Ottawa River to fulfill your rafting needs, including OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River, River Run Rafting and Wilderness Resort or Wilderness Tours Raft and Kayak Resort. You’ll find various sizes of rafts among the outfitters, such as a guided big raft that holds up to 13 people, a Sportraft for six to eight people and a two-person Sportyak for the true daredevils. For some much-needed relaxation after a day of exhilaration, opt-in to stay at a resort where you can indulge in their facilities; there’s no shortage of camping, cabins, cottages or suites on offer.
Hiking and backpacking
For those that like to head into the great outdoors on foot, choosing any one of Ontario’s unadulterated nature trails will be a rewarding adventure. By trekking the province’s rugged terrain, panoramic cliff sides, coastlines and peninsulas, high ridges and deep valleys, you’ll discover hidden gems and incredible views. For a remarkable hiking experience, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Bruce Trail is the first choice. Stretching from the Niagara Peninsula to the Bruce Peninsula, this is Ontario’s oldest and longest trail.
The various parks have many other hiking trails. Killarney Provincial Park has some great hiking opportunities that shouldn’t be missed, especially the La Cloche Silhouette Trail, a 73-kilometer (44.7-mile) loop that can take up to 10 days to complete. It’s also worth checking out Frontenac Provincial Park and, of course, Algonquin Provincial Park. You also have the option of following Lake Superior’s Coastal Hiking Trail, with scenery that includes hidden coves, Agawa Rock Pictographs, amazing lookout points, and sunken ships. The best way to access all of this incredible nature is via The Parkbus, which offers scheduled bus services between Ottawa and Toronto during the summer and winter.
Adventure through culture
The Great Spirit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island has nature-based adventures from an Aboriginal perspective. They offer a number of culture-rich lake and land experiences, from relaxing packages to wilderness eco-adventures and educational interpretive tours. Choose from heritage canoe rides, horseback treks, medicine walks, and hiking. The Sagamok region is home to the “Anishnawbek” (the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi people), and Manitoulin Island is one of the largest freshwater islands in the world. Whatever you choose to do here, you’ll be in one of the most beautiful and unique parts of Northeastern Ontario.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
In a country that spends most of the year in negative temperatures, cold weather brings its own sense of adventure. Do some research on Resorts of Ontario and discover plenty of places that offer unique experiences that rely on snow for more than just a scenic environment. During the winter, spend your days flying down hills and exploring frosted forests. Many Ontario Provincial Parks stay open during the colder months and have some excellent cross-country and snowshoe trails. Check out the trails at Albion Hills Conservation Area in Caledon, Stokely Creek Lodge in Goulais River, Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in The Blue Mountains or Crawford Lake Conservation Area.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.