Transportation in Muskoka

Roads and Highways

To get to Muskoka from Toronto take highway 400 north to Barrie and then take either Highway 11 (through Orillia to Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Bracebridge) or Highway 400 (for Port Severn, Mactier, Parry Sound, Bala, Port Carling).  Within Muskoka, the primary secondary highways are:

  • Highway 60 running (east through Algonquin Park towards Ottawa)
  • Highway 141 (Parry Sound to Hunstville)
  • Muskoka Road 169 (Mactier/Highway 400 to Gravenhurst)
  • Highway 118/MR118W (MR169/Port Carling through Bracebridge and on to Haliburton and Bancroft).  Note that west of Highway 11 in Bracebridge, it is referred to as Muskoka Road 118 West and east of Highway 11 it is Provincial Highway 118 East.
  • Muskoka Road 117 (Bracebridge to Baysville/Dorset)
All of these roads were built to provincial highway standards and are kept bare of snow in the winter.  Most other "numbered" Muskoka Roads are maintained throughout the year, although most will remain snow-covered in the winter.  Not all cottage roads are maintained and/or cleared of snow in the winter.

Be aware that both Highway 11 and 400 may at times have adverse traffic conditions due to the large number of people travelling to and from Toronto.  This is particularly an issue south of Orillia and Barrie on Fridays and Sundays in the summer and winter, although traffic backups can extend as far north as Bracebridge on occasion.  Winter driving conditions are also important to consider in Muskoka.  Highway 400 from south of Barrie north past Muskoka is notable for its treacherous conditions, including blowing snow.  Whiteout conditions are also common on Highway 11 between Barrie and Orillia.  Be sure to check the driving conditions before you head out.  Current Highway Conditions: MTO Northeast Highway Conditions Report, Weather Network Southern Ontario Highway Conditions

An alternative route to Toronto that avoids the weather/traffic in Barrie and Orillia is take Highway 11 south to Washago, south on Simcoe Road 169 to Highway 12, and then south on Highway 12 past the east side of Lake Simcoe. Proceed on Highway 12 to Whitby/401 or take Highway 48 through Sutton to Highway 404 and Toronto.  Note that Highway 12 may be prone to lake effect snow off of Lake Simcoe in the winter.

There is a plan to upgrade highway 11 between Washago and Gravenhurst, bringing it up to six-lanes and full controlled-access standards.  Properties along highway 11 will lose their direct highway access and will be accessible only by service road.  (Description of recommended plan with maps)

If you are planning any major moves or construction in the spring, be aware that there is a general load restriction throughout Muskoka of 5 tonnes per axel from March through May.  There is a list of exceptions (including MR118W, MR169 and MR117).

Air Travel

Toronto Pearson International Airport (Arrivals/Departures) is approximately 2 hours by car from Gravenhurst or Bracebridge.  Northern Airport Passenger Service operates a twice-a-day shuttle bus (with free WIFI) from Huntsville, Port Sydney, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and points north to Pearson Airport ($83 to $91 one-way).  For locations south of the Severn River in Simcoe County, the Simcoe County Airport Service operates a shuttle bus service to the airport.  Alternatively, take the Ontario Northlands bus to Yorkdale, and then the GO Transit 34 Brampton Bus to Pearson Terminal 1 (GO Yorkdale-Airport Schedule PDF)

Commercial airline service is also available within 2-3 hours drive at the Sudbury Airport (Porter, Bearskin, Air Canada, Sunwing) and North Bay Airport (Air Canada, Bearskin, Sunwing).

For private aircraft, the Muskoka Airport (CYQA) is located between Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and has a 6000' runway and a secondary 2199' crosswind runway.  There is no scheduled commercial airline service, but fueling and support services are available (including Canada Customs).  Executive and Scenic charter flights are available from Cameron Air and Northern Air Solutions. Arrivals/Departures from Muskoka Airport

As well, many of the Muskoka area lakes are directly accessible by sea plane.

Passenger Rail Services

Passenger Rail Service to Toronto is provided Tuesdays and Saturdays by the VIA Rail Canadian Toronto-Vancouver train which stops in Parry Sound and Washago.  It runs also operates on Thursdays in the summer.(Prices start at $45 return from Washago)






The former Ontario Northlands Railway train along Highway 11 (Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville) is no longer in operation and has been replaced by bus service.

Bus Services

Ontario Northlands operates bus service to Barrie and Toronto (Yorkdale and downtown), twice-a-day along highway 400 via Port Severn, Mactier and Parry Sound and 4-5 times a day along Highway 11 via Huntsville, Port Sydney, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.   Free WIFI is available on most buses.  (Bracebridge-Toronto is $45 one-way and $84 return).

Hammond Transportation operates a Corridor 11 Bus (Corridor 11 Poster and Schedule) which runs twice a day between Huntsville and Barrie, stopping in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Washago and Orillia.  (Huntsville to Barrie is $22, Bracebridge to Gravenhurst is $7).
Corridor 11 Fares
Corridor 11 Bus Schedule













Note that on Jan 6, 2014, three new stops in Bracebridge were added to the Highway 11 Corridor bus (Georgian College, Dollarama Plaza and the Nest Family Resource Centre at 10 Armstrong Street, added to the existing stops at the hospital and Oliver's Coffee). 

Hammond also operates several local bus routes in Muskoka: Dorset-Baysville-Bracebridge (Fridays), Glen Orchard-Port Carling-Milford Bay-Bracebridge (Fridays), Sand Lake-Kearney-Emsdale-Scotia-Huntsville (Saturdays) - Schedules

Local in-town transit service is available Monday through Friday in Huntsville (every two hours).  In Bracebridge, Santa's Village operates a summer-only trolley to bring people to and from the park as well as around the community (2013 trolley schedule).  Bracebridge is planning to implement a year-round transit system in 2015 or 2016 (expected to be a 24-person bus 11 hours a day M-F and 10 hours on Saturday).

Taxis

Murray's Taxi (Bracebridge) 705-646-9988
Bracebridge Taxi 705-645-2277
Gravenhurst Taxi 705-687-2246
Al's Taxi (Huntsville) 705-789-2374
Century Taxi (Bracebridge) 705-645-8542
Port Carling Taxi 705-394-5038
Parry Sound Taxi 705-746-1221
Muskoka Water Taxi (Lake Muskoka) 705-706-9400

Snowmobile Trails

Snowmobile trails run throughout the Muskoka area, including major trails B (runs east from Gravenhurst), C (generally follows highway 400) and D (generally follows highway 11).  Travel on snowmobile trails in Muskoka Snowmobile Region  OFSC District 7 requires a permit ($75 for 3-day, $140 for 7-day, $260 season). Local Clubs: Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association, Muskoka Sno-Bombers (Bracebridge), Tall Pines (Dorset), Du Ya Wanna Trail Riders (Huntsville, Aspdin), Baxter Snow Riders (Port Severn, Honey Harbour), Happy Wanderers (Baysville).  Interactive Trail Guide (including trail status).  Download the MSR Trail Guide.

Boating

It is possible to travel by private boat between Bracebridge (on the Muskoka River), Gravenhurst and other locations on Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau.  Travel between the lakes is restricted by a swing bridge in Port Sandfield and two locks in Port Carling.  Note that there are fees for using the swing bridge and/or locks. 

There is no direct boating connection from the main Muskoka lakes to the Trent-Severn Waterway.  In the Muskoka region, the Trent-Severn Waterway flows through Severn River and Sparrow Lake and can be accessed in Port Severn, Severn Bridge, Sparrow Lake or Morrison Landing (off of Southwood Road).  

Public docks are available in most communities and for boaters on Lake Muskoka, there is direct boat access to businesses in Port Carling such as Foodland (open 24h in the summer) and the Liquor Store.