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“Good option for first experience” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Highland Wilderness Tours

Highland Wilderness Tours
239 East Lake Road | Box 211, Maynooth, Maynooth, Ontario K0L 2S0, Canada
+1 613-338-2330
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Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Maynooth
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Attraction details
Owner description: Guided tours by snowmobile, atv, horseback and dogteam! Open all year for wilderness excursions - also children's horse camps, full horse boarding, and riding lessons. Near Algonquin Park - great trails, fabulous scenery! Our dogsled tours run on 10 kms of private trail system that is groomed for your enjoyment - our snowmobile tours run on the thousands of hectares of OFSC trails for unlimited experiences. Our horseback riding accesses BOTH of these systems for a comprehensive tour! Hope you can join us in the wilderness!
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Good option for first experience”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We had a good time dog sledding with Highland Wilderness tours. The staff was friendly and Penny was good to work with in planning the trip (some of our group also went snowmobiling). The instruction was straight forward but complete for the 'trip' we did. It was good to have the opportunity to hitch a couple of the dogs ourselves (under supervision of course).

It wasn't as fast as I was expecting. This may have been because reviews of dog sledding I had read pre-trip indicated surprise at how quickly the sleds moved and so I had a false expectation. The scenery along the closed loop trails was very nice but one gets to see the same spots 'going around the track' a few times too often.

The track we followed was well traveled. It would (I think) have been fun to get to run through some virgin snow (although I can see how that is difficult for Highland to provide). The heated cabin as a staging point was nice. Would have been a nice touch to have hot beverages available.

They have gear (coats, snow pants, gloves, balaclavas, etc.) available for use if you don't have the proper gear. A better separation between personal gear left in the cabin and gear provided by Highland is needed (someone from another group picked up a jacket left by someone in our group to go out snowmobiling in).

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Highland to someone who hasn't done dog sledding and would like to try it out, but for a second trip I'd be looking for something a bit more adventurous.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
missmutt, Owner at Highland Wilderness Tours, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Thanks for the review, Paul. I just wanted to point out to you that the reason we don't do runs through 'virgin snow' is that it is MUCH harder for the dogs to pull in deep snow. That is why we use a professional grooming machine, in order to keep it packed for the teams. Also, if speed was your desire, it would be much better to come a weekend other than family day, which is our busiest weekend of the year. Weekday runs are also much quieter, and quicker, and morning runs are the best for those desiring to pick up the pace further. Be aware that when we have children under ten driving the teams, we make sure as to not overpower them, so that it is safer for the youngsters. Your little guy looked quite nervous before his run, so we accommodated that fact with less powerful dogs. Our 10 kms of groomed wilderness trails that go through both our private system, and crown land, have sections of various levels of difficulties, and after speaking with your guide, it seems she kept you on the easier sections to accommodate the little boy that was in your group. Penny
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34 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Kingston, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

This was our first time dog-sledding and it was a fantastic experience. We had initially booked to go snowmobiling but then read about the dog sleds and requested a change. They were able to make it happen and owner Matt took us out himself for a private tour. My husband an I each had our own sled and we learned how to hook up our dog team. Penny showed us how to work the sled, to steer and to stop. It was a lot of fun! The dogs are wonderful, happy, energetic and affectionate. When we stopped for a rest Matt made sure that every dog on every team knew that he or she was doing a great job. The dogs were always eager to start again. It was a great experience that we would recommend to anyone. Penny and Matt were wonderful hosts.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great ATVing Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

My husband and I went for a weekend away to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and were staying at the Bear Trail Couples Resort. I found Highland Wilderness Tours on line two days before leaving for our weekend. Penny was so quick at responding to my e-mail request and her and her husband were more than willing to accomodate us on such short notice.
It was less than 1/2 hour away from the resort and was easy to find. We booked a four hour excursion and went out with Matt. It was incredible!!! Matt made everything seem simple and not being a very experienced ATV driver, he made me feel comfortable. My husband and I enjoyed that it was just the two of us. Unlike other huge companies in the area, they took us on a personal tour instead of going out in a large group of 10-15 people. With it being just the two of us, Matt was able to assess my skill level and took us on more advanced trails later in our trip when he knew I would feel more comfortable.
What I liked as well was that it was affordable as we saved over $100 by going with them than with another company that was over an hour away and when they said 4 hours they meant 4 hours of driving. They did not include the initial paperwork and stops into the 4 hours, which was really nice.
I know that they offer other adventures and I would definately go to them again if I were in the area and looking to go dogsledding or horseback riding. Their animals looked well tended to and were very friendly. If you ever do stop by-make sure you say hi to Buddy!!! He is a beautiful dog that makes you feel as welcomed as Matt and Penny do.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2011

First time dog-sledding so I was a little apprehensive. Owners Penny and Matt were great - put everyone at ease and clearly explained what was to happen and how to do everything. I think they only take 4 people out at a time, with a trip in the morning and one in the afternoon. They seem to have enough sled dogs to use different ones each time so that they are not running all day and getting over-tired.

We each had our own sled with 4 dogs. It had snowed the day before so lots of fresh snow - but they had run over their trails with a snowmobile and there had been one trip in the morning so trails were packed down enough that the dogs did not appear to be over-worked.

We were shown how to hitch up the dogs which is really quite easy once you get the hang of it. They explained what to do if you fall off the sled (which some of us inevitably did). My wife and I each fell off, but as long as you don't let go of the sled it is easy to get it upright quickly and back on again. It was kinda fun that part!! I guess we were on the sleds for a little over an hour with a short break along the way to give the dogs a bit of a rest - although they really seemed to want to get moving!

I can see why some people who love dogs as pets may have difficulty with this kind of activity. These are NOT pets, they do not live indoors and curl up on people's laps or sofas. These are working dogs. They live outdoors (albeit in individual "houses") and all seemed to be quite happy and friendly. Once hitched up to a sled all they wanted to do was RUN! I can understand that there may well be some operators (or outfitters I think they're called) who may mistreat their dogs. This operation - you can tell they look after their dogs and treat them properly, albeit as working dogs, not as house pets.

I would not hesitate going back here again, although my wife wouldn't - she is one that has trouble dis-associating between working dogs and house pets (of which we have one) - actually she would not want to go dog-sledding anywhere again so it is not a condemnation of this operation.

Highly recommended for anyone to try.

Visited February 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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