Our 5 favourite back roads in cottage country

Photo by Albert Pego/Shutterstock

Heading out to Ontario’s cottage country this weekend? While taking the main roads and highways can be unavoidable, that doesn’t mean your entire commute needs to be stop-and-go. Plot some of these gorgeous, historic-filled back roads into your trek and make your trip there as enjoyable as the actual stay.

Monck Road

Monck Road, more traditionally known as County Road 45 or Hwy 503, runs through the Bancroft district and is one of the oldest provincial roads. Stretching roughly 150 kilometres, it was originally built between 1866 and 1873 as an alternative military route in case the the St. Lawrence River trek was compromised. Today the road features a scenic drive and a few notable tourist stops, like Quaker Oaks Farm with its popular Betty Boop statue out front.

Highway 141

There aren’t many stops along this two-lane highway connecting Seguin and Windermere, but there are plenty of awesome photo opportunities—including one at Bent River’s iconic turn. Sit back and enjoy the ride to Muskoka on the relatively fresh pavement while soaking in views along Lake Rosseau and Skeleton Lake.

White’s Falls Road

Also known as Route 34, White’s Falls Road in the Georgian Bay Township is a beautiful drive that winds to the Big Chute Marine Railway. Catch views of lakes, marshes, formations, and thick forest as you make your way through some of the attractions, like the bridge or the Big Chute lift. But a word to the wise: keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like beavers, black bears, and a wide variety of bird species that call the nearby Six Mile Lake home.

Muskoka Beach Road

This Gravenhurst drive is a connector to Bracebridge and comes shrouded in pretty Ontario foliage. That makes it a lovely trek well into the fall, when those leaves transform into signature autumn colours. Meanwhile, craft beer lovers will definitely want to take this route thanks to the nearby Sawdust City and Muskoka Breweries. Stock up on fare from both via their retail stores so you can savour them on the dock.

Highway 522

Despite a massive washout as a result of a crashed beaver dam in 2016, Highway 522 continues to be a favourite for relaxed motorists, motorcyclists, and cyclists alike. The quiet trek along the Loring-Restoule area features sprawling hills, gleaming lakes, and a small waterfall, making for a gentle and serene ride.