The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is the ideal year-round vacation destination. With indoor and outdoor activities to suit every interest, you can combine outdoor adventure, amazing local food, relaxing spa treatments and unique experiences, like the Blue Mountain Film Festival, the autumn Bluelicious culinary event and the mouth-watering Apple Pie Trail.
Where is The Blue Mountains?
The municipality of The Blue Mountains is located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, on the beautiful Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve). It combines the mountainous terrain of the escarpment with woodlands, river canyons, rocky shores and small-town charm.
This Ontario treasure is only two-and-a-half hours northwest of Toronto, so it’s convenient to combine with a trip to Ontario’s capital city or the iconic Niagara Falls.
It’s home to Blue Mountain Resort, a popular four-season destination with activities for the entire family, with diverse dining, shopping and accommodation options in the lively pedestrian Blue Mountain Village.
Things to do in The Blue Mountains
There are endless options for things to do, from outdoor activities, relaxing spa treatments and delicious culinary experiences to shopping and fun seasonal festivals.
At Blue Mountain Resort, Blue Mountain Village and throughout the surrounding area you can experience the unique beauty of the escarpment. This region, recognized by UNESCO for its ecological significance, offers a wide range of outdoor activities to connect you with nature, every season of the year, including:
- hiking on trails like the Time Line Hiking Trail or the Green World Hiking Trail
- biking and fat biking (rentals available)
- cave exploring at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
- Segway tours with Mountaintop Segway Tours
- Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster
- Cascade Putting Course
- Open-Air Gondola rides
- relaxing on the sand at Northwinds Beach or Delphi Point Park
- rock climbing on The Rock Climbing Wall
- ice skating at Woodview Mountain Top Skating Trail
- skiing and snowboarding
And that’s just to name a few! The Blue Mountain Village App will help you plan your action-packed day.
After a busy day of outdoor activity, relax and reset at Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain. Experience unique, year-round outdoor hydrotherapy in a tranquil forest setting and rejuvenate with luxurious spa and wellness treatments and activities including:
- Scandinavian bath treatments
- specialty packages tailored to your preferences
- the Bistro for tasty meals and treats
- the Boutique for take-home spa essentials
- forest bathing on nearby trails
Shopping and dining
With over 40 great shops and restaurants, charming craft breweries and nightlife options to choose from, you can reward yourself with a delicious meal of local fare and purchase gifts to bring home to your family. Here are a few to try:
- Kaytoo Restaurant and Bar, for delicious Canadian food
- Northwinds Brewery, to sample local handcrafted beer
- Fire Hall Pizza Co. for family favourites like pizza and burgers
- nearby Collingwood, for a charming Ontario main street filled with shops, boutiques and cafes
- nearby Clarksburg (nicknamed “Artsburg”) and Thornbury, for a unique souvenir from their local art galleries
Unique experiences and events
If you’re planning a longer stay and looking for a truly unique experience, consider adding one of the following activities to your trip.
Follow The Apple Pie Trail by car or bike to sample the region’s delicious apple-based products. Southern Georgian Bay is a rich apple-growing region in Ontario, where you can buy fresh farm-to-table apple pies and pastries, cider, and other apple-related treats directly from local growers, farms, bakeries and eateries. You can enjoy:
- indulging in apple pie at Blackbird Pie Co. and other bakeries, restaurants and markets
- apple picking at Farmer’s Pantry and other local farms
- savouring cider at one of seven unique cidery experiences
- renting bikes from Blue Mountain Resort and cycling the 14-kilometre Thornbury Sticky Bun Cycling Loop
Keep up with the latest and greatest in national and international cinema at the Blue Mountain Film Festival, which takes place in June.
Sample special menu options at local restaurants with the Bluelicious culinary event, which takes place at Blue Mountain Resort between October and December.
See the town lit up at the Blue Mountain Village Holiday Magic event. Enjoy festive décor, music and outdoor entertainment during the winter holiday season. Follow the Holiday Magic Light Trail (daily from dusk to 10:00 p.m.), come dressed as Santa, an elf or another favourite winter character to Sleigh the Slopes on 23 December, or listen to live music at the Events Plaza.
How to get there
Car or RV (recreational vehicle)
If you’re travelling by car or RV, here are a few routes to consider:
- 2-and-a-half-hour drive from downtown Toronto
- 3-hour drive from Niagara or Buffalo
- 5-hour drive from Detroit
There is ample parking throughout the Blue Mountains area. For RV parking and hookup, try Sun Retreats Blue Mountains (Craigleith RV Resort & Campground).
If you’re flying into Ontario, consider renting a car or taking a shuttle service to The Blue Mountains. Toronto Pearson International Airport offers various options for car rental, shuttle service, ride sharing and other forms of travel.
Tour and transport providers
You can also reach The Blue Mountains by tour and transport providers:
- AUC Tours offers a daily shuttle bus service from Toronto to Blue Mountain Resort in the winter; pick-up locations are in downtown Toronto and Scarborough
- Ace Transportation Group offers airport transport services from Toronto
Once you’ve arrived in the region, consider taking a themed tour with a local provider:
Blue Mountain and Collingwood Adventure Tours offers year-round, all-inclusive trips and custom experiential tours throughout the Blue Mountains region, with themes like The Ale Trail (visits to local craft breweries), Waterfalls & Wine (with visits to two Instagram-worthy waterfalls combined with wine, cider and cheese tastings), or Crazy for Craft (an introduction to three local craft beverage companies). Check the website for full information and bookings.
Where to stay
Blue Mountain Village offers accommodations for every need and budget—from luxury hotels to cabins inspired by Ontario’s famous cottage country (rural and forested areas of the province that are popular spots for vacation cottages and seasonal homes).
Why not try:
- The Westin Trillium House, a vacation resort with beautifully appointed rooms and suites featuring kitchenettes and fireplaces
- Blue Mountain Inn, a cozy option with indoor and outdoor hot tubs and great eateries
- Craigleith RV Resort & Campground at Sun Retreats Blue Mountains, which offers camping and RV parking
- Jayne’s Cottages, which offers a wide range of accommodation types in the surrounding region, for every budget
Find a list of accommodations available in the Blue Mountains area.
The Blue Mountains Neighbourhoods & Districts
Although The Blue Mountains is relatively small, there are a few distinct neighbourhoods and districts worth a visit. As noted above, the two main hubs are Thornbury and Craigleith. The ski and mountain resorts are closest to Craigleith, whereas art galleries, museums and vineyards are generally clustered near Thornbury. Other neighbourhoods house the bulk of the town’s green spaces.
Along the coast of Nottawasaga Bay — and roughly directly between Thornbury and Craigleith — is the small neighbourhood of Camperdown. The Georgian Trail is a great cycling route that connects the main hubs and offers delightful bay views.
The eastern hub of Craigleith is home to some of the town’s mountain and ski resorts. Here you’ll also find Craigleith Provincial Park and the historic Craigleith Heritage Depot.
Lora Bay & Christie Beach
Visit these communities to enjoy time at the famous sandy Christie Beach or the Golf Club at Lora Bay.
Close to Craigleith is Blue Mountain in Ravenna. Visit this neighbourhood to enjoy the Blue Mountain ski area, the Blue Mountain Resort and many of the area’s spas and name-brand shopping. Ravenna is also home to the famous Scenic Caves Nature Adventures.
Thornbury & Clarksburg
Thornbury and Clarksburg are a charming duo of towns. Thornbury is where the Beaver River meets Nottawasaga Bay. Clarksburg is virtually connected to Thornbury upstream from the river. There’s a small marina where you can find boating activities, plus most of The Blue Mountains’ art galleries and shopping boutiques. The area also features the Sheffield Park Black History & Cultural Museum.
Victoria Corners & Redwing
These two small communities host just a few shops and services. Victoria Corners is home to the Georgian Hills Vineyards and, in Red Wing, you’ll find The Roost Winery.
Things to Know About Visiting The Blue Mountains
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to The Blue Mountains, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the area.
Delphi Point Park is a large, sandy beach waterfront at Northwinds Beach and a popular spot for non-motorized water sports and families.features a flat rock shale beach with stunning views of the side of Blue Mountain.
Favourite local beach
The large, sandy beach waterfront at Northwinds Beach is a popular spot for non-motorized water sports and families.
Where to go ice skating
Woodview Mountain Top Skating Trail is a 1.1 km ice skating loop at the top of the Blue Mountain ski hill overlooking the Niagara Escarpment.
Great lookout spot
Duncan Escarpment Lookout in the Duncan Nature Reserve offers a majestic, verdant view of the countryside, above the crevices, caves and rocky escarpment.
Insiders tip for family fun
Follow the Meaford Big Red Chair Tour to the most iconic locations in the municipality. Each chair has information about local history and other nearby attractions to add to the fun.
Last updated: January 19, 2023