Dog Sledding and Snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest Makes for an Ontario Canada Winter Wonderland

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Haliburton Forest is a private 50,000 reserve that offers winter recreation like Snowmobiling and Dog Sledding.

Haliburton Forest is frequently referred to as “Ontario’s Winter Wonderland.” Consistently superior snow conditions at the top of the Algonquin Dome, aided by North America’s only mobile snowmaking assembly, and operating on more than 300 kilometers of well developed trails through some of Ontario’s most scenic wilderness has earned Haliburton Forest this reputation.

This ensures unmatched Ontario Snowmobiling ( and Dog Sledding ( conditions on a consistent basis even when the rest of Eastern North America is suffering from repeated winters of little snow.

While comments from visitors pay tribute to these unsurpassed conditions and amazing Snowmobile and Dog Sled experiences at Haliburton Forest, they had also revealed a concern about the degree and nature of traffic on the trails and its effect on the future use in this 50,000 acre private wildlife reserve. “We are trying to strike a balance between offering the attributes one would expect in a wildlife reserve and offering a managed level of outdoor recreation for Snowmobile and Dog Sled enthusiasts” says Peter Schleifenbaum owner of the 50,000 acre private forest ( that is studded with dozens of remote wilderness lakes, wetlands, and canopied forest.

Like most Snowmobiling areas in Ontario, Haliburton Forest has seen a dramatic growth in their Snowmobiling operations over the past years. Haliburton Forest is committed to Snowmobiling for the long term.

To avoid jeopardizing the development and the future of Ontario Snowmobiling or sacrificing the quality of its own Snowmobiling experience, Haliburton Forest has reorganized the way it conducts its Snowmobile operations. This change also addresses environmental and safety concerns, which are both of primary importance within the overall concept of Haliburton Forest’s year-round operation.

Under the new rules, seasonal users continue to enjoy the quality of trails, scenery, and the services they are accustomed to—unrestricted and with few encumbrances. However, daily use is subjected to a quota of 100 machines per day. This figure was established reviewing present levels of use, peak periods, and expected demand. With this new policy, Haliburton Forest is able to guarantee consistently superior Snowmobiling conditions throughout the season to visiting Snowmobiling enthusiasts, even when surrounding areas have no trails open. To obtain day access, Snowmobile trail riders will have to register by phone prior to arrival. This ensures a place on the trails for the day. It also ensures that guests are guaranteed a Snowmobile tourism experience unmatched in North America.

This policy also has an added benefit for the many Dog Sled enthusiasts who enjoy the pristine setting that Haliburton Forest provides. With less machines on the trails, those participating in a Dog Sledding excursion do not have far to go to leave the outside world behind and find themselves closer to nature than they have been before. There is nothing like the sound of the crunching cold snow under the runner of a Sled as a team of eager Siberian Huskies take you deeper into the wilderness.

In fact, most of the trails on which these Ontario Dog Sled tours take place are not shared with snow machines, which helps add to the ambiance of a true northern adventure. Whether you are an experienced musher or a first time adventurer, Haliburton Forest offers an experience which is right for you. Prior to departing on your tour you are introduced to your guides and dog team. After a brief, but intensive and comprehensive training session, one can become involved in harnessing the dogs. Then, under the leadership of the guide, the tour departs. Taking charge, you drive your own team; or, one can simply sit back in the basket of the sleigh and enjoy the trails as the dogs pull you along. The choice is yours.

For the inexperienced, an introductory tour will show you to the basics of Dog Sledding. After instructions on how to use your equipment, you will be introduced to your 4-legged team of eager and very friendly Siberian Huskies. One can then expect to spend up to two hours on the winding and scenic trails.

Those with more confidence in their ability will find that a half day tour may suit your wilderness adventure needs. These tours will stop en-route for a drink of hot chocolate to warm you up, and presents the opportunity for some amazing photography. The average distance covered in the half day tour is 20 km of rugged Canadian wilderness.

Experienced mushers will find plenty of challenge in a full day excursion. The average distance covered is approximately 40km depending on trail conditions. This route can incorporate both winding, rugged trails through the deep and silent bush to breathtaking scenic trips across frozen lakes. A stop over for a “bush lunch” on an open fire gives both sledders and huskies alike a little rest before making the journey home.

Upon returning to the Base Camp of Haliburton Forest, one should consider a visit to the world renowned Wolf Centre. Here you will find an educational program with a twist… a chance to view real wolves in an enclosed natural habitat! Although the centre does not guarantee a sighting of the resident pack, visitors are rarely disappointed as the odds of a 90% successful viewing rate are always in your favor. The Wolf Centre does open on a more limited schedule in the winter season of Friday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm so be sure to plan your adventure accordingly.

Just as trail permits are by reservation only for Snowmobile use, so to are the Dog Sled tours. Be sure to book your tour well in advance as the popularity of Ontario outdoor winter wilderness activities is ever increasing in today’s active society. Haliburton Forest can be found only three hours north of Toronto making it within reach for a one day of activities.

For more information on this “Ontario Winter Wonderland”, one should visit the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve website at


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Mark Coles
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