So, you are traveling a bit further north up Highway 35 and are wondering what you can do in Dorset? Dorset is still considered to be part of the Municipality of Algonquin Highlands and as such I have the answer here at my finger tips.
Dorset Information: The area is dotted with pristine lakes and rivers and impressive granite outcroppings whose natural beauty is simply breathtaking. Lake of Bays is the smallest of the large Muskoka Lakes followed by Kawagama Lake, the largest lake in Haliburton County, these are large, deep lakes teaming in trout and bass. Our population may grow by the thousands in the summer months but most of the area is still untouched Crown Land.
The “downtown” core of Dorset is the densest in regards to area businesses. Retail stores, restaurants, real estate offices, museums, galleries, gas/service station, post office, library, recreation centre, Algonquin Highlands satellite office, OPP satellite station, fire hall and two churches are located along Main Street and West Harvey Avenue. During the busiest seasons, both winter and summer, our revitalized waterfront is bustling with visitors enjoying the sights and sounds. Also found on Main Street is a public park with a baseball diamond, skating rink and a children’s playground currently under construction.
For more specific’s please keep reading.
- Dorest Lookout Tower – what is it you might ask? It’s a old fire ranger tower that has been opened up so that the public can climb to the top for some of the most amazing vistas around. The original tower (built in 1922), was 25 metres high (82 feet) and used as a fire lookout tower. The current tower, (built in 1967) is 30 metres high (100 feet). This fire tower also has walking trails which lead down to the village of Dorest. A copy of the trail map is available here.
- Robinson’s General Store which as per their website was voted, “Canada‘s Best General Store” This famous general store is a “must-see” for anyone visiting the Muskoka or Haliburton area. Located by the bridge on Main Street in Dorset, the store has been owned and operated by the same family since 1921, and now sprawls over 14,000 sq.ft. of retail space. Shoppers can find gifts, souvenirs, housewares, clothing, footwear (where moccasins are a specialty); a true “browser’s paradise”. Robinson’s also includes a Foodland supermarket, a Home Hardware, and “The Red Onion”, our upstairs Ladies’ Boutique.
- Dorset Heritage Museum which features museum exhibits of early pioneer life, local settlers, traditional logging practices, and historic information pertaining to pioneer settlement of the Dorset area.
- Algonquin Park – Only a 30 minute drive from Dorset, Ontario, Algonquin Park provides attractions for all family members from hiking, fishing, camping, educational visits to its Interpretive Centre, and others. It is readily accessible along the scenic routes of Muskoka Road 117, Highway 35 at Dorset then Highway 60 from Dwight. Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada’s first provincial park, established in 1893 and named a national historic site in 1992. It covers some 7700 square kilometers and contains over 2400 lakes and 1200 kilometers of streams and rivers within its borders. Algonquin Park contacts – 705-633-5572 www.algonquinpark.on.ca or www.ontarioparks.com/english/algo.html
- Bigwin Steamship – Come and visit the newly refurbished Lake of Bays Marine Museum located on Main Street, by the bridge. You can relive history by taking a cruise on the SS Bigwin during one of its scheduled cruises or for a special event. Learn more about the history of the lake, check out some remarkable local art, and purchase some novelty SS Bigwin items. Go to www.ssbigwin.com for more information on donations, public cruises, private events and our calendar of events.
- Haliburton Highlands Water Trails – with over 24,000 hectares of land at The Frost Centre located about ten minutes south of Dorset. The Frost Centre serves as a year round destination for thousands of canoeists, campers, hikers, day trippers, fisherman, hunters, cottagers, snowmobilers, skiers and snowshoers providing significant backcountry recreational and conservation values. Permits are required. Algonquin Highlands Trails Department – 705-766-9033