Lock 31, one of the things to visit in Buckhorn

Things to do in Buckhorn, Ontario

At the point where Upper Buckhorn Lake and Lower Buckhorn Lake meet, you’ll find Lock 31 of the Trent-Severn Waterway in Buckhorn, Ontario.

In addition to the parkland that lies on either side of Lock 31, the main thoroughfare, Lakehurst Road, which runs through Buckhorn is just steps away. Along this road you will find a variety of things to see and do in Buckhorn which makes this a great place to dock your vessel or park your vehicle and do a little exploring of this Kawartha Lakes town.

To assist you on your adventure, we’ve put together this quick guide of what Buckhorn has to offer.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2022, Lock 31 in Buckhorn was the busiest lock along the Trent-Severn Waterway with over 8,000 vessels passing through it.

Things to do in Buckhorn on the south side of Lakehurst Road

To begin your walkabout of Buckhorn, from the parking lot at Lock 31, turn right. Here’s what you’ll come across:

Snap a selfie with the Buckhorn Buck
Since 1985 the Buckhorn Buck has been a welcoming sign that visitors have arrived in Buckhorn.

Over the years the statue has been modified slightly in particular the rear end which used to have a hole in it. No one really noticed this feature until a family of whippoorwills started flying in and out of the Buck’s butt while building a nest and raising their young. The hole was eventually plugged when nesting season was over.

Stock up at the LCBO
Wine, coolers, rum, whiskey, domestic and craft beers–whatever your favourite libation is you’ll find it at the LCBO in Buckhorn. At the back of the store is a walk-in fridge which ensures the brews and coolers are nicely chilled.

Pick up some info and swag at the Buckhorn Welcome Centre
Have questions about this Kawartha Lakes town and the surrounding area?

Want to know the name of a local outfitter?

Need a map?

The Buckhorn Welcome Centre can help you out. Plus, they have a lineup of nicely designed, reasonably priced Buckhorn-themed souvenir clothing and hats for sale too.

Look up at the Osprey nest
As you head back along the southside of Lakehurst Road look up at the top of the towering pine trees that are next to the Lockmaster building/public washroom located at Lock 31. At the top of one of those trees you’ll see a large nest stretching 3-6 feet across. This is home to a pair of Osprey birds and their young.

Watch the boats passing through Lock 31
Construction of Lock 31 began in 1883. It officially opened in 1888. It was one of the most challenging locks to build in the Kawartha Lakes. The Lock was cut out of the hard granite of the Canadian Shield, an unforgiving rock that caused the steam drills to regularly break down during the project.

Have a picnic or BBQ
Cross the yellow bridge that runs across the top of the gates of Lock 31 and you’ll set foot on a nice stretch of parkland. Picnic tables and the extensive grassy area makes this area an excellent spot to pause for lunch or dinner.

NOTE: The picnic tables that are made from very thick wood were built from materials saved from the previous wooden gates of Lock 31.

Check out the Buckhorn Dam
When you’re in the parkland area by Lock 31 you can’t help but hear the roar of the water rushing through the Buckhorn Dam, which controls the outflow of water from Upper Buckhorn Lake to Lower Buckhorn Lake. Head over and see this fluid force for yourself.

Go Fishing
Fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Buckhorn. If you packed your rod, reel and tackle box, shore fishing at the top of Lower Buckhorn Lake at the base of the dam is a good spot. If you’re lucky you could pull in a largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, musky, yellow perch, blue gill, crappy or carp.

Of course, you could always spend some time on the water and fish from a boat. There are a few public boat launches in the Buckhorn area. Need to rent a fishing boat? Check out our article “Where to rent a boat in the Kawartha Lakes.”

Dine by the water’s edge
If you didn’t pack a picnic and your stomach’s growling, head back across Lock 31, turn right and follow Lakehurst Road to the Mainstreet Bar & Grill restaurant. Here you can order a cold beverage, an appetizer and an entree and enjoy it all while watching the boats enter and exit the locks.

Hit the playground at Ode’Naang Park
Next to Mainstreet Bar & Grill is Ode’Naang Park. For the little one’s there’s a great playground that features a climbing wall, slides, a scavenger hunt, a miniature race car track, monkey bars, and an accessibility ramp. And while you’re in the park, don’t forget this thing to do in Buckhorn–take a selfie in the big red Kawartha chair!

Run out of something? Stop in at the Buckhorn General Store
Grocery item? Bug spray? Sunscreen? Need worms? Feel like an ice cream, candy or snacks? The Buckhorn General Store will have what you need.

Grab a slice at Pizza Alloro
Feel like a casual lunch or dinner by the water? Pick up a pie or slice at Pizza Alloro and sit at a picnic table in Ode’Naang Park. Want to try something new? One of the most popular pies with the locals is the Mighty Caesar. TIP: Order on the Pizza Alloro website and your pizza will be ready when you arrive.

Take a pic with the Buckhorn sign
Out front of Pizza Alloro, located on the sidewalk, is a bench and a cedar sign announcing exactly where you’re visiting. Makes a great spot for a group photo or selfie.

Shop for home décor at Style Your Nest
Looking for something unique for your home or cottage? Style Your Nest features a curated variety of décor and gift items ranging from wall pieces and furniture to jewellery, ceramics and more.

See the Adam & Eve Rocks
Step out of Style Your Nest and continue westward down Lakehurst Road till the sidewalk comes to Adam and Eve Road. Turn left and head down the street. In a few minutes you will come to a small parking lot and one of the noted touristy things to check out in Buckhorn–the Adam & Eve Rocks.

These gigantic rocks were left here by an ice-age glacier approximately 25,000 years ago. Their name came from early settlers to the area who believed if a person and their significant other could stand between the rocks, hold hands and reach out and touch the rocks, their love would last forever.

See what’s on at the Buckhorn Community Centre
After visiting Adam & Eve Rocks return to Lakehurst Road. If you have your cellphone, go online and look up the Buckhorn Community Centre. Often the Centre hosts events such as craft shows, the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts, Canada Day celebrations, classic car meetups and more. If there’s something on it’s worth walking the extra steps (about 10 minutes westward) to check it out.

Activities on the north side of Lakehurst Road

Need to see a doctor? Buckhorn Regional Health Centre is nearby
Across from the corner of Adam and Eve Road and Lakehurst Road is William Street. At the end of this road (a 5-minute walk) you will find the Buckhorn Regional Health Centre. If you require medical assistance, the Centre runs an After-Hours Clinic Monday to Friday 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM and on Saturdays 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The After-Hours Clinic does not run on Sundays.

Pop into the Buckhorn Canoe Company
If you don’t need a doctor and you’re still standing at Adam and Eve Road and Lakehurst Road, cross over to the northside of Lakehurst and head eastward. In a few paces you’ll be standing in front of the Buckhorn Canoe Company. Here the owner, Dick Perrson, restores and makes canoes. Besides the Kawartha Lakes region, he has customers from around Canada and the world including in the U.S., England, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and Turkey.

Remedy’sRX pharmacy
If you forgot your meds or need to pick up band-aids or Tylenol, Remedy’sRX, the Buckhorn pharmacy, is just around the bend from the Buckhorn Canoe Company.

Buy a unique keepsake at GeorgeyGirl Art Studio
A little ways down from the pharmacy is GeorgeyGirl Art Studio. You’ll know you’ve reached it because of the eclectic art pieces outside and colourfully decorated front porch.

Here you can find vibrant, hand-painted acrylic scenes on canvas and painted glassware. If you’re visiting Buckhorn for the week, you could even commission a pet portrait on glass of your favourite furry friend.

Pause for a scoop at Mariloo’s Ice Cream & Milkshakes
It just wouldn’t be summer without indulging in an ice cream. At Mariloo’s it won’t be easy—there are 50 fabulous flavours to choose from. Plus, they sell specialty milkshakes and decadent sundaes. Good luck deciding what to have at this favourite thing to visit in Buckhorn.

The ultimate souvenir. Get a tattoo at Sink or Swim Tattoos II
Into ink? Buckhorn is home to one of the must popular and highly rated tattoo shops in the Kawartha Lakes. Make an appointment with Sink or Swim Tattoos II online or walk in. Talk to them about the design you had in mind and they’ll set you up with the artist that best matches the look and feel you are going for.

Discover a home décor find at Boathouse Boutique
Boathouse Boutique is operated by Lakeshore Designs, the interior design firm that decorates the cottages that are awarded in the Princess Margaret Home Lottery that’s advertised on TV and radio.

Visit the store and you’ll be able to browse and buy a variety of home décor items.

Plus, if you need a coffee or tea fix, their Bikini Beans Café serves up cold, hot and iced beverages and scrumptious, fresh baked goodies.

Enjoy Chinese food from the Cody Inn
If it’s Chinese food that you crave, you’re in luck. Buckhorn is home to one of the most popular Chinese food destinations in the Kawarthas, the Cody Inn. Dine in or you can order online for pickup.

DID YOU KNOW? Established in 1905, the Cody Inn was operated as a hotel, accommodating guests from Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio until 2000. When you stop by be sure to check out the hundreds of names and dates of people who stayed here which are written on the exterior bricks of the building.

Don’t forget to venture over the bridge

While Lakehurst Road in Buckhorn is the location for most of the things to do in Buckhorn, there are still a few more things to check out if you cross the bridge that stretches over Lower Buckhorn Lake.

Get a magnificent view of the Buckhorn dam
As you take the sidewalk across the bridge, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the roaring waters as they rush over the Buckhorn dam.

Stop and admire Council Rock
When you finish crossing the bridge, on the corner across from you you’ll see a giant rock that looks similar to the Adam & Eve Rocks. It too is thousands of years old and was left behind by a glacier. Known as “Council Rock” it stands 20-feet high and was once the place where Indigenous tribes would meet to hold council meetings.

Take care of your vacation gear needs at The Lodge
Continue on your way and you’ll spot The Lodge perched up the hill just beyond Council Rock. This is the spot to shop if you need hunting, fishing, camping, boating or barbecue items as well as clothing and water floaties.

Dating back to 1836, this building was Buckhorn’s first hotel, complete with trap doors in the floor which inebriated guests could use to escape when government officials conducted surprise inspections.

Forgot the campfire axe? There’s a Home Hardware
No matter what size a town is there always seems to be a hardware store. In Buckhorn it’s Home Hardware. Besides axes they sell other things for your visit to the Kawartha Lakes area like propane and bottled water. They even do screen repair if the mosquitos are getting through your door or windows.

Treat yourself to fresh-baked goods from Country Mart Bakery
If indulging in fresh-baked goods is a thing you were planning to do in Buckhorn be sure and visit Country Mart Bakery which is just a few more steps down from Home Hardware. An award-winning baker runs the kitchen. The mouth-watering menu include six varieties of butter tarts, nine types of squares, pastries, pies, breads, and even meals if you want to take a night off from cooking.

Finish your grocery run at Foodland
Need a few more items to complete your grocery list for your Kawartha Lakes getaway? The Foodland in Buckhorn is here to serve.

Need worms or minnows? Visit Trude’s Cottage’s Live Bait & Tackle
Whether you’re getting ready for a day of fishing or a week, Trude’s is a great spot for worms, lures, fishing line and advice on Buckhorn’s hot spots for angling.

Things to do that are a few minutes from Buckhorn

If you drove to Buckhorn via car, van or truck there are a few more Kawartha Lakes activities you can see or do that are just a few minutes outside of town.

Go north of Buckhorn for water tubing and wine tasting
Nothing says summer like floating down a lazy river. You can do this just up the road from Buckhorn.

If you don’t have a tube or floatie you can purchase one at the Home Hardware in town.

To get to the starting point for tubing, drive north on County Road 36 for about as minute and half. On the east side of the road, you’ll see an access parking lot for the Kawartha Lakes Provincial Park.

Pull in, pay for parking, grab your floatie and walk the 600 m trail to the water’s edge. Drop your tube into the Mississauga River and enjoy the 1-km lazy river ride. The pace is slow and relaxing. Exit the river after the bend where there’s a big boulder on the left, and then walk back and do it again.

3 minutes north of Buckhorn on County Road 36 you’ll find Kawartha Country Wines. This winery produces over 40 varieties of fruit wines made from locally grown, farm-fresh fruit. They also produce ciders and wine coolers. Best of all they have free wine tastings. The winery is open 7 days a week from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, if you visit on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday you can also purchase wood-fired pizza. They also offer a winery tour.

Head east of Buckhorn to see the Burleigh Falls and canoe/kayak
If you enjoy seeing waterfalls take a 10-minute drive east of Buckhorn to Burleigh Falls. Here you can see the falls the community is named after. It’s a beautiful sight as the water shoots over a long stretch of rock creating rapids and a series of cascades.

Feel like going for a paddle? Head back to the main road in Burleigh Falls and pull into the parking lot at Lock 30. Here you can launch a canoe or kayak into Lovesick Lake and explore. TIP: Be sure and paddle your way 3 km to Wolf Island where you can take a break and try out the canoe ladder there.

Trek west of Buckhorn to swim in tropic-like waters
Just a 6-minute drive west of Buckhorn at A. Shearer Park on Lakehurst Road is one of the most picturesque beaches you’ll see in the Kawartha Lakes and all of Ontario.

It’s called Sandy Lake Beach and the striking turquoise colour of the water (due to the minerals in the water) will make you stop and look.

The lake is spring fed so the water is crystal clear, it’s shallow so the temperature is always inviting for swimming, and the lake bottom is sandy—what more could you want from a beach!

Drive south of Buckhorn to pick fresh berries
If your summer just wouldn’t be complete with biting into sweet and juicy fresh berries you don’t have far to go.

McLean and Buckhorn Berry Farms are both just 6 minutes south of Buckhorn.

In mid-June to mid-July, it’s strawberry picking season. From mid-July to early August it’s raspberry picking season. Of course, if you don’t feel like picking your own berries you can purchase a pre-picked basket too.

Take the “Ultimate Buckhorn” Tour

Mystical rocks. Entrepreneurs and visionaries. Roughnecks and pranksters. Curiosities and characters. Legendary landmarks. Memorable moments and milestones. Enduring can-do community spirit. There’s more to Buckhorn than meets the eye. You can get the full story of Buckhorn’s colourful past by embarking on the “Ultimate Buckhorn” Tour. It’s an online, self-guided tour of Buckhorn you can take using your smartphone and it’s suitable for all ages.

Enjoy the many things to see and do in Buckhorn, Ontario!

Looking for an activity to satisfy your artistic side?

Check out our article titled “7 artsy things to do in Kawartha Lakes.”