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Spring into Rural Flavours of Almaguin Highlands

As the grass begins to peek through remaining patches of snow, and nature begins to stir in Almaguin, businesses start to re-open, filling the air with familiar scents of spring flavours!

With plenty of rivers and streams flowing through the woodlands, we recommend bringing your mosquito jacket, bug repellent and loading up the car for a day trip, 2-day road trip or multi-day road trip to take in various sights, spring adventures and flavours that Almaguin has to offer. Please remember to call ahead to make sure the destination of your choice is open for visitors.

A Foodie Day Trip

Highway 11 is a core highway connecting the north to the south, it is frequently travelled but many are unknowing to the hidden gems they are passing by. Take a detour instead of making the routine gas stops, we have some suggested locations of interest on-route through the Almaguin region where you can enjoy the sights and tastes while navigating spots where the breeze will keep mosquitoes at bay while allowing everyone to enjoy the fresh spring scents and serenity of the region.

If you’re coming from the south, Almaguin will welcome you at the township of Perry!

(1) Grab an infamous Banger to snack on while stretching your legs at the visitor centre! The Banger is a food truck that can be found near the Emsdale Visitor Center at the Fern Glen Rd turn off from highway 11. While snacking on this delicious work of art, hop back onto Highway 11 for 7 kilometres for a tasty dessert or side dish.

Picture Credit: The Banger

(2) The Katrine Chip Truck is off the Three Mile Lake Road exit. Turn left onto Three Mile Lake Road and the Chip Truck will be on your right at the corner of Katrine Road and Three Mile Lake Road. Pick up some mammoth proportioned vegetarian friendly gravy smothered fries, or a variety of other deep-fried treats. This chip truck was recognized by Cottage Life as one of nine best chip trucks in Cottage Country!

(3) If you’re looking for something to quench your thirst, head right across the street to The Katrine General Store. While you’re here, grab some fireworks or a bottle of wine for later in the evening. (They are typically stocked with bug repellant, hint, hint!)

(4) Just around the corner, behind the general store is the perfect spot to get some fresh air and let your inner kid run free at the play ground! Katrine Beach has some picnic tables and shallow swimming area for those who are seeking an ice-cold adrenaline rush with the snow recently melted. Follow Doe Lake Rd to Ferguson Rd and take a right, the beach will be the first left on Ferguson road. Take your time enjoying the serene lapping waves on the beach while indulging in your dessert, snack or drink. If you’re looking for a detour, just stay on Ferguson Rd and check out some of the artisans or antique shops who might be opening early for the summer season. At the end of Ferguson Rd you can either hop back on highway 11 and continue north, or drive straight across the overpass into the town of Burk’s Falls where you’ll find…

(5) Sandhill Garden Market which is every home enthusiast and gardeners dream! Experience its own unique atmosphere as soon as you open the doors. While smelling their beloved candles (our personal favourite is “Grandma’s Kitchen”), navigate through their designed floor to ceiling displays of décor, plants, trees and more.

(6) If you continue further into town, Circling Hawks Centre is an eclectic stop for the curious travellers, filled with décor, crystals, books and everything you can imagine to inspire all spiritual paths. If you’re lucky, the fairy garden might even be open!

Picture Credit: Curb Your Appetite

(7) Across the street, Curb your Appetite offers a unique food truck experience with some delicious pierogi dishes! Keep the busy shopper nourished with custom orders; choose from a variety of stuffed perogies and toppings to match your taste buds. Afterwards take a stroll down to the historic main street to…

(8) The Village Green which provides a perfect spot to stop at a picnic table while indulging in a dish to go and reflecting on all the places to visit in town when more time allows. If some exercise is desired, just head down Syples street behind the Village Green, at the intersection at the top of the hill you’ll find…

(9) The Burk’s Falls River Walk Trail at the bottom of the sidewalk to the right of the hilltop. This walkway takes you over the foot bridge where you can snap some pictures of the roaring waterfall during high water with the spring melt and walk through the mist.

(10) At the end of the walkway, stop in at the Burk’s Falls Welcome Centre for a delicious coffee to keep you awake for the remainder of your journey or an exclusive treat as a snack for the road. Take in the sites as you head back on the road knowing you’ve had the opportunity to experience a part of Almaguin.

A Two-Day Cultural Road Trip

If you’re looking to spend a couple days exploring the rolling hills of Almaguin, we have some spring destinations that will keep you coming back for more!

Day 1

(1) Start your morning with the comforts of home at the Burk’s Falls Café and Grill, where the warm and welcoming atmosphere will keep you energized to start a day of touring the sights! Make a quick stop at Burk’s Falls Home Hardware across the street or Kwik Way on the corner, for some bug repellant because we’ll take you off the beaten path, down highway 520 just past the Burk’s Falls town bridge, then into the wilderness.

(2) At the beginning of highway 520, you can stop at The Burk’s Falls Welcome Centre. Here, there are trail maps, local brochures, and unique treats for everyone! Pick up a coffee for the road or a treat for later. Keep heading west on the 520, until you reach Midlothian Road.

(3) Just around the corner, you’ll see Wiseman’s Corner Schoolhouse Heritage Centre where there is lots to learn about the area and some historical buildings.

(4) If you’re hoping to shake things up, the next stop on Midlothian Road can be Screaming Heads, where a local artist has transformed his home and property into 300 acres of pathways, peacocks, paintings and world renowned sculptures!

Picture Credit: Screaming Heads, Midlothian Castle

(5) Keep driving through the hills until you reach the end of Midlothian Road at Nipissing Road, you’ll spot another hidden gem, the Cornball Store. You can find home-made treats, ice cream or a meal to go. Once you’re satisfied, head back North on Nipissing Road toward the village of Magnetawan.

(6) Drop into Algonquin Fine Foods before you cross the bridge on the way into town, where an assortment of delicacies can be packed and cooked later during your trip tomorrow! You can also find fun and special souvenirs to remember your trip.

(7) If you need to gas up, stay on the 520 where you can find Magnetawan Bait and Tackle at the 520 and 124 intersection, grab some bug spray or fishing gear if you want to add some extra outdoors activities to your itinerary. To save some time, take the 510 through a route that curves northeast to avoid a large muskeg then turn east onto highway 124 from there.

(8) Once you reach Sundrige, check into the Northridge Inn for a unique accommodation and dining experience. See a one-of-a-kind airstream parked on the shore or enjoy the pool.

(9) Don’t forget to swing by Copperhead to try some local craft spirits before unwinding for the evening and taking a stroll on the beach at Lake Bernard, watching the sun set or basking in the view at the High Rock Lookout.

Picture Credit: Copperhead Distillery and Spirits

Day 2

(1) After a peaceful rest on the shores of Lake Bernard (a man-made lake), Michaels on Main has some lovely breakfast options to start the second day.

(2) Just north of Sundridge, Machar Strong Boundary Road can take you through the winding fields to Park Road South for a drive around Eagle Lake, then a right hand turn onto Eagle Lake Road gives you the option to visit Eagle Lake Narrows Country Store for a souvenir or slice of pizza, before heading east again into South River.

(3) There’s a perfect opportunity to wet the palate at South River Brewing Co. with great hospitality and unique brew options!

(4) Take Ottawa Ave to Howard Street where you’ll take another left after the Swift Canoe and Kayak Factory to visit Tom Thomson Park. Walk some trails or enjoy their ultimate frisbee course and snack on some of the great food that was stashed away from your visit to Algonquin Fine Foods.

(5) Northern Edge would be a great spot to stop in while you’re in South River to check out their package deals for another day.

Picture Credit: Northern Edge

(6) Before heading back south, stop at Danny’s Justa Pasta for an early pasta dinner and ask for a coffee to-go before watching another Almaguin sun set at Richard Thomas Memorial Park or Stirling Falls.

(7) Treat yourself by stopping by Sterling Hill Farm, and picking up fresh local meats and produce to take home. Make your favorite dishes or try something new knowing you’ll have a tasty reminder of your road trip.

Photo Credit: Sterling Hill Farm

We hope you come back soon!