A visit to Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery is a delightful day trip to enjoy the outdoors. Visit in the Fall to see the gorgeous colours and check out the cranberry harvest at Johnston's Cranberry Marsh.
Autumn in Ontario is the perfect time to get outdoors, see the fall colours and revel in nature.
On a trip to Parry Sound to teach a couple of workshops, I extended my stay to visit Johnston's Cranberry Marsh located in Bala, Ontario. I was expecting a short tour of the cranberry marsh and was delighted to find some beautiful hiking trails along with the marsh.
Instead of a hotel I opted to stay in a cute 1 bedroom cottage in Parry Sound with a private dock. Peaceful, quiet and away from the hustle, this little oasis was the perfect place to decompress after teaching.
Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery
Johnston's Cranberry Marsh is located about 3 hours from Toronto and about 45 minutes from Parry Sound in Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery. It's open 363 days a year for skating or snowshoeing in the winter, wagon tours, hikes to the sugar bush in the spring for maple syrup season, or a simple hike to enjoy the fall colours.
I visited with a friend just a couple of weeks before the Cranberry Harvest and it was fairly quiet, with most people spending time at the marsh. We started our day with a self-guided hike through the trails and didn't see another person the entire time!
With over 10km of easy trails you could spend hours just wandering in a nature.
There are 6 different trails that take you through wetlands, past the old marsh and cranberry beds, past picnic sites and waterfalls. We did a big loop and spent a couple of hours enjoying nature.
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh
Bala, known as the Cranberry Capital of Ontario, has been home to the farm for three generations. Cranberries, most often consumed at Thanksgiving, are a fruit native to Canada. A little bit tart, cranberries can be white early in the growing season and turn red later in the season.
With sustainable growing practices, the farm grows 27 acres of cranberries in the wetlands which amounts to about 300 - 500,000 lbs of cranberries per year! The cranberry harvest happens once per year so Fall is a great time to visit.
Don some hip waders and get right into the midst of all the cranberries for a fun experience and some great photos at the Plunge, or just walk the trails.
Right off the path you can get up close to the beds to see how cranberries are grown. I hadn't really thought about it but down low in the marsh wasn't quite how I expected cranberries to grow.
If you are just visiting the store there is no charge but the activities, including trail access, requires a ticket for a small fee or you can go all in and get an all-access pass on weekends. It's definitely worth a visit!