Bay Ranch Lodge and Equestrian Centre's lessons and trail rides partner patrons with one of myriad horses for traversing its more than 250 acres. British-trained instructors imbue participants with their extensive knowledge of proper horse safety and riding technique during a 30–60 minute lesson within an enclosed arena before grooming sessions and double-knotting horseshoe laces prep each equine for its ride. Once students are securely aboard, horses spend an hour trotting along trails fastidiously trimmed in summer and plowed in winter. Each trek leads riders through bountiful pastures, natural woodland teeming with wildlife, or on bayside routes flanking Sturgeon Lake. As voyages conclude, customers can warm chilled tongues with unlimited cups of hot chocolate while making snow angels with their steeds.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Parking: Parking lot
Brands Used: Kawasaki, Yamaha, BRP
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: What to bring: Long pants, closed shoes, change of clothes and shoes, bug spray, and
bottles of water
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Two-hour Extreme Mud Tour with river crossing
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
I was always a avid traveler, looking for new and exciting adventures, but was never fully satisfied with the adventures I found. Having years of experience as a young child on many motorized vehicles, I realized that Cottage Country was the perfect place to start an off-road adventure company. With ATV trails from mild to wild with epic river crossings, I knew the adventures that [we] would offer would be more than satisfactory to all ages and all riding abilities. [We offer] one- to four-hour and multiple day guided tours, rentals for ATVs, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and jet skis, waverunners, sea-doos, and overnight ATV camping adventures. Come on out and see why more people ride with us. It's a mud bogging, river splashin', good time for all.
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our staff is passionate about what they do. All of our guides have grown up riding [sport vehicles] and some have even raced. Our staff's goal is to show everyone the best time ever in a fun and safe atmosphere.
Have you ever been a patron of your own business? If so, what was the most enjoyable part?
The most enjoyable part is [that] each year our staff scouts out new ATV trails ... with bigger and better river crossings, mud roles, trail obstacles, and breathtaking scenery for trail rides, [as well as] our overnight camping trips on the beautiful Canadian shield. So, every time our clients return they are always getting something new by exploring new trails.
Though the privately-owned Haliburton Forest began as a land-clearing logging operation in the mid-19th century, the forest is now praised for its sustainable logging practices. Haliburton Forest is one of the first in Canada to earn a "responsible forest" certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. Company foresters operate on a single-tree selection process, cutting down only mature or weak trees to ensure the long-term health of the forest. In addition, more than half of Haliburton's forest revenue comes from the forest's many recreational opportunities, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, hiking and mountain biking.
Visitors can also tour the sawmill, explore the logging museum, or purchase a handmade item from the wood-working shop. At the Wolf Center, several wolves roam freely in a 15-acre enclosure. A large indoor observatory enables visitors to observe the wolf pack through one-way glass and to listen to them through special speakers. An informative exhibition area, movie theatre and gift shop provide lots of information about the life and history of wolves. Beyond the center, there are three wild wolf packs who call the forest home.
Just two hours north of Toronto, explorers get off the beaten path to explore the many natural wonders of Muskoka and Haliburton, led by the guides of Back Country Tours. During warmer months, a variety of ATV tours let individuals, couples, or groups set off into the wilderness after a quick, comprehensive lesson on how to operate their vehicles. In colder months, when the back country is awash with snow, trekkers hop onto snowmobiles to explore the untouched hills, valleys, and snowmen made by Canada's loneliest bears.