Haliburton Highlands, also known as Haliburton County, is a municipality of about 18,000 people (2016) in Ontario. It offers more than 600 pristine lakes, and thousands of hectares of virgin forest and wilderness.
The Highlands are only a few hours from centres such as Ottawa, Toronto, and Barrie, yet the area has preserved its natural and wild setting. Nestled between the increasingly developed and expensive Muskoka Region and the unspoilt and vast Algonquin Provincial Park, the Haliburton Highlands are a great place for a relaxed, cultured, and beautiful vacation amongst the peaks and lakes.
Its economy is dominated by tourism. The ratio of properties occupied in the summer months to properties occupied year-round is about 3 to 1. Employment primarily caters to the needs of this seasonal cottage country population, including residential construction, resorts, services and retail.
It was named after Thomas Chandler Haliburton, author, statesman, and the first chairman of the Canadian Land and Emigration Company.
Most people enter Haliburton by car. While Haliburton residents have refined countless personal routes into the County, most visitors stick to the main highways. However, traffic congestion on weekends from May to August can try anyone's patience, and visitors should "be inventive" when planning their trip.
- From the south: Provincial Highways 35 from Toronto and 28 from Peterborough are the two main arteries from Southern Ontario
- From the west: Provincial Highway 118 from Bracebridge
- From the north: Algonquin Park's southern boundary obstructs direct road access from the north, and most visitors entering the County from this direction take the eastern or western routes.
- From the east: Provincial Highway 28 is the most common route from Ottawa and Eastern Ontario
- TOK Coach services run daily from Toronto to the villages of Minden and Haliburton.
- The Haliburton Highlands have more than 600 freshwater lakes, many of which are suitable for pontoon plane landings and take-offs
- There is also the centrally located Haliburton/Stanhope Municipal Airport
- Having, or renting, a car is key, due to the size of the county.
- Several taxi services.
- Many well groomed snowmobile and ATV trails.
- Many bicycle trails and paved road shoulders for cyclists.
- Boat routes integrated into the Trent-Severn Waterway.
- Snowmobile, ATV, boat, car, and horse rental available.
- Haliburton Highlands Museum, 66 Museum Road (take Hwy 118 heading north-west (toward Carnarvon) and turn left onto Bayshore Road). Summer: Tu-Su & holiday Mondays 10AM-5PM; spring & fall: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; winter Sa Su 10AM-5PM. The main museum and its galleries are wheelchair accessible. Accessible washrooms are available on the second floor. by donation.
- Stanhope Heritage Museum, Log Chute and Lookout, 1123 North Shore Rd, Carnarvon (from the intersection of Hwys 118 and 35 in Carnarvon, go north on Hwy 35 about 5 km to North Shore Rd. and 1 km east along North Shore Rd). Mid-Jun to mid-Sep: 11AM-2PM. Specializes in local pioneer history and is home to the historic Hawk Lake Log Chute. Hawk Lake Log Chute is the only remaining log chute of its kind in Ontario. The log chute has been painstakingly repaired and reconstructed. There is an expansive view of Maple, Beech, Boshkung, and 12 Mile Lake from the Stanhope Lookout, beside the Stanhope museum. By donation.
- 1 Haliburton Sculpture Forest (in Glebe Park near the village of Haliburton). Dawn to dusk. A unique outdoor collection of sculptures by Canadian and international artists. Free tour every Tuesday at 10AM and Wednesday at 12:10PM in July and August. By donation. In the winter, you must have a valid ski trail pass.
- Pike's Peak, cliff top lookout in Minden
- Haliburton Gold lake trout, a species of fish endemic to the glacier lakes of the Haliburton Highlands
- Tens of thousands of fish being bred at the Haliburton Highlands Outdoor Association's Fish Hatchery, on Country Rd 1 (Gelert Rd), Haliburton
- Spectacular fall colours, as the leaves turn to bright red and orange in the autumn months
- Vistas of surrounding peaks and lakes from trails such as the Circuit of Five View Points and Crests of Kennissis is Algonquin Higlands
- The mysterious Harburn Wells, deep shafts in the Canadian shield developed during the last ice age
- The many easily accessible waterfalls including:
- Buttermilk Falls north of Carnarvon on Highway 35
- Riche Falls east of Lochlin
- Highfalls north of Harcourt
- Three Brothers Falls north of Kinmount
- Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, 1095 Redkenn Rd, Haliburton, ☏ . It is a research facility, an education centre, and a sustainably managed forest. It is operated by a private company with two businesses: tourism & recreation, and forest products. Activities year-round: hiking, canopy tours, lake trout fishing, ice-fishing and dog-sledding in winter, camping. There is a resident wolf pack and a wolf education centre.
- Skyline Park (on highway 118 east of Haliburton). A wonderful view of the village of Haliburton and the surrounding landscape.
- 1 Dorset Lookout Tower, 1191 Dorset Scenic Tower Rd (located off Hwy. 35, just north of the village of Dorset). Late May to mid-Oct: daily 9AM-6PM, and F-Su through to mid-Nov depending on the weather for fall colours viewing. Viewing platform 142 metres (465 feet) above Lake of Bays. Facilities include picnic sites, restrooms, a tourist information kiosk, a gift shop and a hiking trail. Car $7-9, camper/RV $20-25.
- Minden Wild Water Preserve, 1870 Horseshoe Lake Rd, Minden Hills (7 km northeast of Minden on the Gull River via Horseshoe Lake Rd.). A natural canoeing and kayaking slalom facility in Minden that was used for the 2015 Pan American Games canoe slalom events. A 100-acre park with trails adjacent to whitewater rapids for kayaking and canoeing. 30 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits.
- Haliburton Highlands Water Trails, 20130 Highway # 35 North, Haliburton, ☏ . 28,000 hectares of provincial and municipal public lands comprised of countless lakes, rivers, trails and continuous forest. Adults $12, seniors (age 60+) $9, youth (age 6-17) $5, disabled 50% of rate, children (age 5 and younger) free.
- Haliburton Nordic Trails, ☏ . 3 ski areas with 36 km of ski trails, and 16 km of trails at YMCA Wanakita. Glebe Park: 13 km of classic & skate trails. 1.5-km lit loop for night skiing. intermediate to difficult. In the Village of Haliburton on Fleming College Drive. Moosewoods: 13 km of classic & skate trails – easy to intermediate through picturesque forest terrain – large warming hut – on County Road #14 on the way to Eagle Lake. Twin Lakes: 5 km of classic & skate trails – easy to intermediate – dog friendly. 4.25 km of snowshoe trails. 12 Mile Lake Road at Taylor Lake Rd off of Hwy #35, 5 km south of Carnarvon, 5 km north of Minden. YMCA Camp Wanakita: 16 km of intermediate, classic-only skiing. Adults $13, students (under 22, w/ID) $8, youth (7-18) $8, children (6 and under) free, family day pass $40.
- Haliburton Rail Trail. 36 km multi-use trail for bicycling, walking, snowmobiling between Kinmount and Haliburton. Trail surface: Gravel and cinders. Washrooms at Donald and Kinmount. Ritchie Falls is midway along the trail
- Take a guided wilderness tour to see animals such as bears, wolves, deer, moose, lynx, bobcat, eagles, with one of the several local tour operators 
- Go on a guided fishing or hunting trip
- The walk in the clouds: Canoe across one of the lakes and walk in the treetops on narrow boards hanging in thin ropes. For safety you are also attached to steel wires.
- Robinson's General Store (Dorset General Store), 1061 Main St, Dorset (by the bridge on Main St), ☏ . Open daily. Hours vary by season. Includes a Home Hardware, Foodland Supermarket, the Drygoods gift shop, and the Red Onion boutique. The footwear section specializes in moccasins. Free parking and accessible from Lake of Bays.
- Kozy Korner Restaurant (Kozy's), 166 Highland Street, Haliburton (On the main street), ☏ . M-W 6AM-3PM; Th-Su 6AM-7PM. Since 1935. Good food at good prices. Sandwiches $13.50-15.50, mains $13-34.
- Mill Pond Restaurant, 15526 Hwy 35, Carnarvon (Hwy 35, just north of Hwy 118), ☏ . Tu-Th 8AM-3PM, F Su 8AM-8PM. Known for their Mill burger and prime rib, homemade pies and tarts and breakfasts. Lunches $4-18, dinner mains $15-34.
- Rhubarb, 9201 Highway 118, Carnarvon (Hwy 118 at Hwy 35), ☏ . Summer: Tu 5PM-9PM, W-Su noon-9PM. Upscale casual dining in cottage country on the shores of Mirror Lake. Boshkung Brewing onsite. Closed Mondays in shoulder season. Mains $18-34.
- The Little Tart, 1035 Koshlong Lake Road, Donald (8 km south of main street Haliburton, a short drive along Gelert Road). Apr-May Sep-Oct: Sa Su 10AM-5PM, Jun-Aug: W-Su 10AM-5PM. A tiny pastry shop in the town of Donald offering baked goods from "Ooey Gooey Butter Tarts" to Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. All of thrir baking is created by hand, from scratch, on site.
- Wintergreen Maple Syrup and Pancake Barn,, 3325 Gelert Rd, Minden Hills, ☏ . March and April only: Sa Su 9AM-4PM. A timber-framed barn selling foods and preserves produced on site. View the maple syrup operation through the glass wall of the La Sucrerie Restaurant which has a French Canadian menu.
- Boshkung Brewing Co, Brewery 9201 Hwy 118, Carnarvon. Boshkung Social pub: 20 Water Street, Minden, ☏ (Brewery), (Pub). Summer hours: brewery M 11AM-5PM, Tu-Th 11AM-8PM, F 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-8PM. Pub: Tu-Su noon-8PM. Beside Rhubarb restaurant in Carnarvon, has a tasting room, growlers, and mini-kegs. Pizza and sharing plates.
- McKeck's Place, 207 Highlands Street, Haliburton, ☏ . Su 11:30AM-3PM, M-Th 11:30AM- 7:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM- 9PM. Nine draught taps, featuring local craft beer, an ample selection of wines and spirits, plus fresh-ingredient cocktails. Sandwiches and burgers $16-19, mains $22-26.
- Haliburton Forest. 300 km of hiking, mountain biking, running and snowmobile trails mapped out. Two-bedroom cabins $125, 3-bedroom cabins, $200, open loft log cabins 6-bed $200/10-bed $250; non-electroc campsites with 2 adults $49.
- Lakeview Motel, 4951 County Rd 21, toll-free: . 14 guest rooms. Licensed dining room. Free wireless internet. Direct access to trails. Heated outdoor pool & hot tubs. Outdoor patio space & BBQs. Horseshoe pits. From $180.
- Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre, 4252 County Rd. #21, ☏ . 101 rooms, suites, villas and chalets; the Wind in the Willows Spa, and 18 holes of championship-level golf at Pinestone Golf Course. From $125.
- 23Maple B&B, 23 Maple Ave., ☏ , toll-free: . Coffee and continental self-serve breakfast. Queen, double or twin rooms. Large main floor suite available with full kitchen, living room, deck, separate bath. Comfortably sleeps 4 with two Queen beds in separate rooms. High speed WiFi. Large porch, deck, and yard. One block to park and sand beach. Two blocks to 'village downtown'. From $110.