Starts Bala and ends in Torrance
Approx. 12 km / 7 miles
About 5 – 5 1/2 hour driving tour depending on number of stops and length of time spent at each
Bala IS the cranberry capital of Ontario, and they’re darn proud of it! Local chefs, bakers and grocers all get behind their beloved berry, especially during harvest time from September 24th – October 31st. This tour will take you to the town’s most active spots, a local well-known hiking trail, and the chance to spend a night at a one-of-a-kind Beer Spa.
Tour Directions & Highlights:
- Start at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh to experience the one-of-a-kind Bog to Bottle Discovery Tour. Feeling adventurous? Then you’ll have to book a spot on their famous Cranberry Plunge during the cranberry harvest season (September 24-October 31). Suit up in a pair of farm-supplied hip waders and plod into the sea of floating berries and don’t forget to snap a photo of the iconic moment! While bookings must be made during the weekday, this experience is included as a part of their All-Access Weekend Pass. The Pass also gives you access to a guided wagon tour, tutored wine tasting, and full access to the cranberry hiking trails. Afterwards, stop in at the farm’s cozy gift store to bring home some of their cranberry wine and cider. From there, take the Frank Miller Memorial Route Hwy 169 into the town of Bala.
- The shopping in Bala is eclectic, unique and elegant. Be sure to patron all the shops along the main road as you make your way through the cranberry route. Pick up some fresh cranberry sausages at Bala Freshmart to cook on the BBQ when you get back home.
- Stop in at Bala Bay Takeaway for a hearty lunch and choose from several cranberry items on the menu. Items include Cranberry Chicken Clubhouse Wrap, Halibut & Chips with Cranberry Tartar Sauce, Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings, Cranberry BBQ Pizza and Cranberry BBQ Chicken Breast on a Ciabatta. Pair any one of these cranberry cuisines with an assortment of delicious cranberry beverages! After lunch, take a short walk to Wander & Waves Coffee Co. Trailer located at Muskoka Wake for some local Cranberry Apple Herbal Tea. Also in walking distance is Jack & Stella. Their cafe will be serving up a special Cranberry Loaf, Stella’s Lounge will have cranberry inspired cocktails, and Georgie’s Li’l Doughnuts will delight you with cranberry flavoured doughnuts. Now that you’re fuelled up and feeling toasty – thanks to the tea – you are ready for the next stop on the #CRANROUTE…
- Drive to Hardy Lake Provincial Park for a gorgeous fall hike on one of Hardy Lake’s trails. Choose between moderate or difficult trails and admire the changing fall colours as you trek through Hardy Lake Provincial Park. Fall provides some of the best hiking conditions in Muskoka.
- Following your hike, head back towards Bala, but not before stopping in Torrance. The Torrance General Store is full of delicious snacks and will have an assortment of cranberry pastries as well as a special peameal on a bun with a cranberry twist!
- As the sun starts to set, head to the Muskoka Beer Spa in Torrance and treat yourself to the 2 Beer Cranberry Pedicure! Settle in for a cranberry infused foot soak, scrub and massage. Spend the night in reimagined glamping cabins complete with in room draught taps, complimentary junk food, delivered morning pastries and more! After a long day, relax and be sure to look up for some spectacular nighttime sights. The Beer Spa is located just a few kilometres away from the Torrance Dark Sky Reserve, a designated Dark Zone for some out of this world star-gazing.
- Not looking to stay overnight? Check out the Clear Lake Brewing Co., also in Torrance, and just minutes away from the Beer Spa. Enjoy one of their refreshing cranberry radlers. The Cranberry Radler is a refreshing beverage made with Muskoka cranberry juice. Pair this radler with any one of the delicious cranberry featured menu items!
If you want to gain a true appreciation for cranberries, make sure to include the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery on your driving tour. Their Bog to Bottle Tour is the only one of its kind in the world, and has been designated a Canadian Signature Experience.