Weekend in Muskoka – Ice Fishing and Arrowhead Skating Trail

Move over Bear Grylls because a new outdoor adventurer is on the scene and that would be Moi!

The Canadian celebrated a milestone birthday over the weekend and so on Friday,  school and work got ditched and we took off for a long weekend away in Muskoka.

Muskoka is located about a 2-hour drive North of Toronto and is known as “cottage country”.  The area contains approx 1600 lakes and so it is popular for outdoor activities.   Peak time is summer, however, the area has many winter outdoor activities on offer for a sporty outdoors woman such as myself (not).   As it was the Canadian’s Birthday and not mine I organised a surprise weekend full of activities that are right up his alley.

Dressed in our finest plaid, first up we went ice skating on the ice trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park Skating Trail



Arrowhead Provincial Park Skating Trail 1.jpg

At 1.3km’s in length The Arrowhead, Skating Trail winds through the snow covered woods and it’s just magical.    I skated the full length of the trail once before my legs started to turn into jelly but The Canadian and 8-year-old went around several times.   I felt like I was Steven Bradbury gliding around those corners on my blades of glory however it was suggested by the Canadian that I should perhaps invest in a zimmer frame.

Arrowhead Skating Trail

We noticed that the trail also had a row of tiki torches and festoon lighting, I can only imagine what a fantastic experience it would be all lite up at night.

Arrowhead Skating trail 1

It is free to skate the trail however you pay an entrance fee per car when entering the Provincial Park.  The car park had limited parking  and even though it was a Friday the parking was very full, I would hate to think how crowded it would get on weekends so if going I would recommend a mid-week visit if possible.  Just like our visit to the Rideau Canal Skating Trail a few weeks ago, I think we just managed to get our visit to the Arrowhead skating trail in before the season ends.

Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Skating Trail

The park also maintains cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing trails and a tubing hill in winter.

Arrowhead Skating

After skating at Arrowhead on the trail we took off in search of our accommodation for the weekend at The JW Marriott Rosseau Hotel

The drive to the hotel from the skating trail was very scenic through the cutest little towns and villages.  We  also drove past cool icicle formations on rocks.


Once we arrived at the hotel we checked in, located our room and then set out to explore the hotel.  The hotel is located on a hill and the shores of Lake Rosseau with magnificent views from the main hotel building and pool area across the lake.

Lake Rosseau Marriott

It has multiple (heated) swimming pools, a spa (that looked amazing but was sadly fully booked for treatments) and a few restaurants on the premises.  It also has easy access down to the beach (snow covered on our visit) at the lake (frozen on our visit).

Back in the bar for some drinks around the fire

stock market

The 8-year-old checked out his stock and share portfolio.

** Disclaimer** Please note his fashion choices are not my doing, he selects his own clothing, his father and I look like street urchins next to him.

An early night was had because the next morning I had organised for us to go Ice Fishing.

Nothing say’s Canada like Ice Fishing.

I had organised it through the hotel and Muskoka Sports and Recreations

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel


The 8-year-old is clearly on a brown food only diet.


We met up with Muskoka Sports and Recreation in the foyer of the hotel and they walked  us down to the lake.  Waiting for us was a sleigh filled with all of the things we would need, live bait, rods, seats,  heater, something to drill holes in the ice and a pop-up shelter.  We then got pointed in the direction of where we should walk on the ice and set ourselves up.   WALK, I guess I was expecting that they would drop us off in a Skidoo or a four wheeler or something!

We set out with the Canadian dragging the sleigh (he refused to drag it with me sitting on it).

ice fishing


We set up camp


ice fishing camp
After many attempts,  I gave up trying to sit on those stools.


Then the boys set about trying to drill a hole with the manual drill.

They kept drilling

ice fishing drill


and drilling

ice fishing drilling 2


and drilling

ice fishing drilling 3

and taking it in turns,

and more drilling.

It would be midnight before we would start fishing at the rate the hole was being drilled.

Then from over and beyond someone started walking towards us with a power drill.


This is Brad, we love Brad!  Brad took pity on us from across the lake and within seconds had drilled 3 holes in the ice for us with his mighty power drill.  Seconds I tell you!

ice fishing 3


All set and ready to go, bait on hooks and rods in the water.  We waited, then waited some more.  After more waiting and with frozen feet,  I went into the hut and made a seat out of the sleigh and warmed up my feet with the heater.

ice fishing hut

The scenery from the middle of the lake was divine.   A couple of posts ago I blogged about making a promise to start using my DSLR camera.  Well, this time,  I remembered to take the camera, the battery was fully charged and I snapped away, I have taken some pretty amazing photos from the weekend if I do say so myself, the only problem???  They are all trapped on the camera!!!  I can’t find the USB cord to get the photo’s off the camera and onto the PC.  I also don’t have a card reader!  Urgh!  … All the pictures on this post are yet again from the few I snapped on my iPhone.

After several hours and no fish, we gave up.  We packed up camp and walked back to the hotel.


Muskoka and Lake Rosseau are magnificent and I can’t wait to go back in summer and plonk my ass in one of these.

Muskoka chairs




  • womanseyeview

    Wow you are having the full on Canadian experience!! Yay for you new best friend Brad – ridiculous that you were left with a hand drill…like your son’s fashion sense and remember when my son went through a phase like that – it will pass…or not!

  • joannesisco

    Whoa – there is so much in here. Where do I start? I know! … whoever that martini belongs to is my newest best friend … as I sit here drinking a martini while typing this.

    I’ve been to Lake Rosseau but only in early summer. I even recognized the boat houses at the end!
    You’ve managed to make this winter-hating Canadian WANT to go up to Lake Rosseau and attempt to skate! That is a mighty huge accomplishment. You can be sure I’ve made notes. Next year is a significant birthday for Husband. There might be a special surprise in store for him.

    Ice fishing? Not so much. Been there, done that. Quite frankly I don’t *get* fishing, whether ice or otherwise.

    ps – GREAT photos.

  • betunada

    (all most) jes’ like bein’ there! like the idea of a skating trail. hmm: remember in MysteryAlaska when they’d “skate the river”? does the 8-year-old dress like that on his own volition?

  • mlmuldoon

    Thank for sharing! I had the opportunity to skate the Arrowhead trail last winter and it was one of my fondest winter memories (which, to be honest, are few and far between). If you get a chance next year, see if you can book one of the wee cabins they have right next to the trail. We spent the whole weekend skiing, snowshoeing, and skating, didn’t have to contend with any lines or weekend traffic, and also had the trails to ourselves under the tiki torches at night once all the day trippers were sent home.

  • Lynn

    The Muskokas are such a beautiful area to explore. I love that you are enjoying the winter & everything it has to offer. I have not been up to skate this trail but it looks fantastic, may have to consider it next year!

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