Excursions and adventures around Madawaska Valley

Madawaska Valley is known for its wild nature.

What is there to do in Barry's Bay?

Listed below are a few of the top attractions in the area. Our cottage welcome book also lists these and countless other attractions in the area. We also provide maps courtesy of Backroad Mapbooks for use while at the resort. The Backroad Mapbook for Cottage Country and Eastern Ontario is invaluable when exploring the area. It provides detailed maps and information on fishing lakes, trails, backroad attractions and much more.

For a complete list of local events, be sure to visit Algonquin East, Madawaska Valley, or South of 60 or see some offsite excursion providers below:

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the oldest and largest established public parks in Canada. Known throughout the world as a spectacular wilderness destination, it is truly one of the Ontario’s greatest treasures. From the beautiful clean lakes and rocky hills, to the howl of the wolf or the call of the loon, this park is an outdoor recreation paradise. The park can be accessed at many areas in and around Barry’s Bay Cottage Resort. Close to the resort, interior trips can begin as nearby as the Aylen Lake access mere minutes away off Aylen Lake Road. Alternatively, the Basin Lake Road access to the east and the Shall Lake access to the west are both less than half an hour away.

If experiencing a few of Algonquin Park's more popular day attractions is on your mind, then here are some fantastic options. The breathtaking Barron Canyon and area trails can be found just under an hour away by car to the east. While to the west, a short 35 minute drive brings you to the East Gate and famous Highway 60 Corridor route. Along the corridor visitors can enjoy the abundance of trails and even spend an afternoon at the Algonquin's Visitor Centre complete with exhibits on local wildlife, an outdoor logging museum and much, much more.

If you are looking for a day or overnight canoe or camping trip into the park, Algonquin Bound Outfitters provides full rental packages, guided trips and even shuttle service to the park at discounted prices for our guests.

Barry's Bay Railway Station & South of 60 Arts Centre

The Barry's Bay Railway Station is one of the few original railway stations left in Ontario. It has been restored to its original beauty and is currently the site of the local Tourist Information Centre next to Highway 60. In addition to housing the South of 60 Arts Centre, historical items can be found inside and outside of the building. The original railway hotel, which now stands as the Balmoral Hotel, and the original wooden water tower are found nearby, while concerts, workshops and children's programs are held through the spring, summer and fall at the railway station.

Bonnechere Caves & Fourth Chute

The Bonnechere Caves are one of Attractions Canada’s Provincial Gold Medal Winners. The twisting labyrinth of limestone passages contains the fossils of thousands of 500-million-year-old coral and sea creatures. Each fall, this underground world is transformed into the largest bat roost in the Ottawa Valley. Guided tours leave every twenty minutes and last approximately an hour.

Also in the area is the Fourth Chute, which is one of five spectacular waterfalls on the Bonnechere River. This watershed provides productive farmland, substantial forests, and scenic landscape along its course. Log drivers built chutes around these obstacles, and later dams were built to produce hydroelectricity. Found about an hour away, the caves and chute are located 8 km east of the town of Eganville along Fourth Chute Road. Watch for the blue and white tourism directional signs along Highways 60 or 41.

Conroy's Marsh

Visit this provincially significant wetland that was enlarged by the damming of the Madawaska River in 1956. The Marsh is home to numerous furbearers (Muskrat, Otter, Beaver, Fisher and Red Fox), amphibians (Green Frog and Bull Frog, Snapping Turtles and Painted Turtles) and is home to thousands of migrating waterfowl each spring and fall including the Canada Goose, the Mallard, Common Pintail, the Greater Scaup, and the Green-winged Teal. In addition, the marsh is home to many other species of birds including the Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles and Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, Tree Swallows, Yellow Warblers, Red-Winged Blackbirds, the Common Yellowthroat and Common Grackle.

Crooked Slide Park

Perhaps the most photographed site in the entire Combermere area, this faithfully restored chute is an example of the engineering marvel of the logging industry in the 1800s. The two hundred foot chute and boardwalk, and the adjoining control dam rest on Byers Creek was originally used to safely route logs from Brudenell, Wilno and Barry's Bay into the Madawaska River for their trip down to the Ottawa and eventual transport to Europe. Today, the slide has today become a site for swimmers, photographers, fishermen and those simply wishing to relax and enjoy Mother Nature's gifts. The park is located east of Combermere on the Old Barry's Bay Road approximately 3 km from Highway 62.

Local Artisans and Madawaska Valley Studio Tour

Many of our local artisans have studios open year round. Their studios are full of original creations. During the sumer & fall (July & early October) the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour is a popular tour that allows free access to any of the locations on their current tour. Watch for the Maple Leaf Signs that mark each studio. Alternatively, the South of 60 Art Centre is dedicated to providing a variety of art experiences, for the residents of and visitors to the Madawaska Valley. Based out of the Barry’s Bay Railway Station, it stages exhibits, concerts, workshops and children's programs through the spring, summer and fall.

Madawaska River

The Madawaska River is justly celebrated as one of the best places in North America to learn whitewater skills or enjoy the popular Madawaska Family Float Trips. The stunning location and dependable warm whitewater is a formula that has beginner to expert paddlers returning each summer. An estimated 15,000 canoeists and kayakers paddle the Madawaska River each year. The mix of flat and whitewater appeals to beginners and experience paddlers alike. For more information of canoeing or kayaking in the area, contact either the Madawaska Kanu Centre for family rafting trips and whitewater kayaking or Algonquin Bound. The popular family rafting trips are also offered out of the Kanu Centre, which is less than half an hour away from our resort.

Backroading and Cycling Tours

Visitors should take the time to drive or cycle the myriad of backroads in the area. Madawaska roads are hilly and spectacular in their beauty. They take you past many historical sites and through small towns where you will meet unique characters. The Valley also boasts that there are few locations east of the Rockies that provide more challenging or scenic conditions for cyclists or mountain bikers. In fact, chances of seeing wildlife are much greater on a bike. Cyclists can start right our resort, while mountain bikers need look no further than the abandoned railway or B102 Snowmobile Trail to find an enjoyable biking route. A few other popular backroad routes include the Bark Lake/River Road Loop, the Barry's Bay, Wilno & Kaszuby Loop and the infamous Opeongo Line Tour.

ATV Tours

ATVers should note that they are allowed on municipal roads in the district, which makes it possible to ride from the resort to link up with the B102 or other trails in the immediate area. Across from 612 Arbor Vitae Road, there is a signed trail trail that accesses a system of old roads and trails that links to the B102. Please be careful not to cross private property when accessing the trail systems. Further afield, there is the Thomas P Murray trails south of town off Highway 62, while west of the resort, the new Spectacle Lake, Bear and Brunett Mountains Trail system offers some ATVing around Brunetts Pond and the lookout. Through Mountain ATV Tours or Back Country Tours you can travel across Renfrew County on guides ATV tours.

Snowmobile Tours

Back Country Tours and Highland Wilderness Tours are great places to contact for snowmobile tours on the B102 Snowmobile Trail.

Wilno

This hillside hamlet is Canada's oldest Polish settlement - a thriving village with real character that is found 10 km east of Barry's Bay. Established in 1864, the community flourished when the railroad was built through the Wilno Pass in 1865. Today, anchored by the towering spires of the village church and an historic roadside tavern, Wilno is a mixture of traditional farmers and loggers, and colourful musicians and artisans. As they say in these parts, if you don't know about this place - soon, you Wilno! While in town, be sure to visit the heritage park with its authentic log buildings recreating a pioneer homestead where the original train station stood. Alternatively, the Wilno Lookout offers one of the most stunning views in the valley from Shrine Hill. It is just past the spectacular St. Mary's Church, which is also well worth the look. Be sure to visit the Canadian Kashub Festival at the start of May each year.

Dog Sledding

Available through local outfitters. Contact Highland Wilderness Tours.

Horseback Riding

Available through local outfitters. Contact Highland Wilderness Tours.

Sleigh Rides

Available through local outfitters.

Golfing

Explore the different golf courses and clubs in the surrounding area. There is Barry's Bay Golf Course, which is 9 hole golf course and Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Club, which is an 18 hole golf course in Killaloe. Barry's Bay Golf Course is a 10 minute drive from our cottage resort and Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Club is 20 minutes.

There's so much to do and discover in Barry's Bay

Whether you're here to relax and escape the city or try a new outdoor activity, we offer many amenities and rentals. The town of Barry's Bay also has lots to explore, as well.