by Lorilee Craker
Adventures abound at Blue Mountain, a luxe and hidden gem of a resort in Ontario’s green Blue Mountains, some of the highest points and most glorious vistas of the Niagara Escarpment. With painterly, chalet-type accommodations, and ski-village-like shops and restaurants, Blue Mountain feels exclusive, yet boasts a welcoming, friendly vibe.
Built in the architectural style of splendid Georgian Bay lodges, The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain embodies the gracious hospitality of grand hotels past in a thoroughly sleek and modern package. The hotel features the extraordinary Oliver & Bonacini CafÃƒ© Grill, a workout room, outdoor pool, and — this came in handy — the New Balance Gear Lending Program, which provides things on loan, such as men’s closed toe running shoes, a must for most of the resort’s activities. Wi-Fi, unfortunately, is $11.95 per night, Canadian.
Especially well-suited for families with kids ages 10 and above, Blue Mountain offers good times in the great outdoors. In addition to renting mountain bikes or hoofing it on various groomed trails, families can defy their acrophobia (fear of heights) by embracing some lofty thrills and chills. There’s the Wind Rider Triple Zips, the Timber Challenge High Ropes, the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster and the Apex Bag Jump. For those who prefer their endeavors closer to the ground, the superior Cascade Putting Course and Plunge Aquatic Center provide lots of fun, too. A gorgeous private beach on nearby Georgian Bay is just a short shuttle ride away.
You’re never at a loss for what to do next at Blue Mountain, so when the action subsides for the day, families can shift gears by dining at one of the numerous onsite restaurants, browsing the 25 village shops, or maybe even watching an outdoor movie or listening to live music in the village square (known as the Events Plaza).
There’s something for every age and ability at Blue Mountain, whether the agenda is action-packed or more restful in nature. Try something new and challenging (hello, high ropes!), or find peace in a wooded stroll or the hot tub — you’ll be making memories with the ones you love best, either way.
Our Editor Loves
- Outstanding variety of outdoor adventures
- Hiking the green, lush escarpment
- Rugged nature meets resort luxury
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Deluxe Guestroom features a queen size bed, and a double pull-out sofa in the sitting area. There's a kitchenette with an under-the-counter fridge, a microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware, plus a dining table for two. Each room comes with a gas fireplace, French or full balcony, and a television with a DVD player.
The One-Bedroom Suites sleep six, with a separate master bedroom with a connecting bathroom, and a queen pull-out sofa in the sitting area. There's a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware, plus a dining table for four. Each room comes with a gas fireplace, balcony or walk-out terrace option, and two televisions with a DVD player.
One Bedroom and Den Suite
The One-Bedroom and Den Suites sleep six, with a separate master bedroom with a connecting bathroom, a queen pull-out sofa in the sitting area, and a separate den with a double pull-out sofa bed and television. There's a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware, and a dining table for four. Each room comes with a gas fireplace, balcony or walk-out terrace option, and three televisions with a DVD player.
One-Bedroom Loft Suite
The One-Bedroom Loft Suites sleep six, with a vaulted ceiling, a separate master bedroom with connecting bathroom, a queen pull-out sofa in the sitting area, and stairs to a loft area with a queen bed and television. There's a kitchenette with a stovetop, mini-fridge, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware, and a dining table for four. Each room comes with a gas fireplace, balcony, and three televisions with a DVD player.
The Two-Bedroom Loft Suites sleep six to ten people, with a separate master bedroom with a king bed and full connecting bathroom; a second bedroom with queen bed and adjoining three-piece bathroom; and a queen pull-out sofa in the sitting area. There's a full kitchen with a stovetop, granite counter tops and full sized appliances, including a dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware, plus a dining table for eight. There are two types of two-bedroom suites, one with one king and one queen bed, and one with one king and two queen beds. Each room comes with a gas fireplace, balcony, and three televisions with a DVD player.
The Three-Bedroom Loft Suites sleep eight to ten, with a separate master bedroom with a king bed, gas fireplace and full connecting bathroom with a jetted tub, plus two additional bedrooms with a queen bed in each, and a separate den area with a double pull-out sofa. There's a full kitchen with a stove top, granite counter tops and full sized appliances, including a dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, full dishware, and a dining table for eight. Each suite comes with five televisions and a DVD player, and an expansive balcony overlooking the Blue Mountain Village and mill pond.
The Trillium Suite features a two-story Cathedral ceiling in the grand room with a wall of windows overlooking the Blue Mountain Village & Millpond. It sleeps six, with a master bedroom with a king bed, gas fireplace and full connecting bathroom with a jetted tub, plus a second bedroom with two queen beds. There's a full kitchen with a stovetop, granite counter tops, granite breakfast bar sitting area and full sized appliances, including a dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, sink, and full dishware; there's also a dining table for eight. The grand room consists of a large sitting area with three sofas (one can be converted into a sofa bed), a gas fireplace, dining table and chairs for up to eight people, plus a powder room located off the grand room and a large balcony the length of the grand room. Each suite comes with three televisions and a DVD player.
The room was basic and the price was $240 including taxes plus $20.00 to park your own car. We had our dog with us and they gave us a 3rd floor room, despite the fact that the hotel was not bus. The toilet in our room was running but we thought we had fixed it by jiggling the handle. Once we went to bed the toilet continued to run all night. Along with our room backing onto the outside pool which is kept warm year round so the pool pump was very loud. We left at 5am because we couldn't sleep. I called the next day to speak with a Manager only to not hear from him, I had to call back and ask to speak with one.
This type of place is fine but not for $240 in off season.
Actually the whole Blue Mountains village is not what it used to be, very dated and stores that are very touristy with inflated prices.
The only great thing was the restaurant within the hotel, Oliver & Bonacini, great service and food.
The grounds are beautyfull and the rooms are modern. The pool area is great and lively. The staff is very professional. Perfect location right in the centre of the village. The food at the restaurant is very good.
Apex Bag Jump
Our three kids (10, 14, and 17) all tried the Apex Bag jump, and they were unanimous: It's freakier than it looks! What's so scary about walking off a gangplank and free falling from four platforms--10, 14, 18, and 21 feet--in the sky? According to those who've tried it, everything is much scarier when you're on the precipice about to take that leap of faith. Still, at least one kid named it a "favorite" activity at Blue Mountain for its major adrenaline rush. Trained staff members tutor participants through a practice jump with tips for the perfect plummet. Adults (13 and older): $15; youth: $12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cascade Putting Course
Mini-golf is mini-golf, right? Wrong. Play this 18-hole, par-67 course and you'll have big enjoyment and bonus challenges, rain or shine. Cascade is a microcosm of a real, full-size golf course with sand traps, bunkers and the extra-hard, extra-fun water hazards. The beautifully landscaped course features waterfalls, a limestone backdrop, and all-encompassing views of Blue Mountain itself. Ideal for a family of four or five, the course takes about 90 minutes. Adults (13 and older): $15; youth: $12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wind Rider Triple Zips
At the Wind Rider Triple Zips, it's possible for mom, dad and Junior to go rocketing across the two 400 feet zip lines at 30 miles per hour, sharing the thrill together on three parallel lines. Talk about a memory maker! It feels pretty close to flying, fast and way up high, with a bird's eye view of marine blue Georgian Bay. A platform in the middle separates the two zip lines, and staff safely unhook and re-hook you to your safety harness before your whoosh to the finish line. Adults (13 and older): $15; youth: $12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Woodlot Low Ropes
The two ropes courses at Blue Mountain will be your family's biggest dare and adventure -- there's nothing like facing your fears together! Ropes courses are a combination of vertical and horizontal challenges constructed from wood, cable and ropes installed above the ground and strung between trees, wood poles or steel framework. Luckily, Blue Mountain offers two courses, and the Woodlot Low Ropes course is better for beginners and those with anxieties about being suspended several stories off the ground.
Situated at the foot of Blue Mountain, Woodlot Low Ropes offers baseline coaching and encouragement along the way. First timers can start just a couple of feet above the ground, work their way up to 10 feet, and ultimately if you choose, 30 feet above-ground, on self-guided courses that feature 25 different aerial elements, including suspended logs, tires, beams, ropes, cables, and cargo nets. Guests remain attached to the cables at all times on a continuous belay, or secure fastening point. Kids must be 6 years of age to try this; lots of parents and kids try it together. Harness, helmet, and gloves are provided. Price of admission is good for three hours. Adults (13 and older): $29; youth: $23. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Timber High Ropes
"Set Your Thrill Meter to HIGH," the slogan goes. We would insert the word "fear" for "thrill," even though it's quite a thrill to finish even one "green" course. The Timber High Ropes are a hike up into the treetops, and offer seven courses ranging from Green (beginners), to Blue (intermediate), and Black (expert). Three of us tried the Green courses, and two of us ventured forth into the Blue zone. Conquering these aerial elements suspension bridges, ladders, cargo nets, wobbly balance beams 30 to 50 feet in the air, will challenge your perceived limitations and make you feel like a family of ninjas. Thankfully, mandatory "Ground School Training" is provided, and staff members holler out tips and encouragement as you defy death or just plot your course through the sky. Expensive but worth it, this is family bonding at its finest. Ages 10 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Price of admission is good for three hours. Adults (13 and older): $47; youth: $59. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Plunge Aquatic Center
With a nautical, boathouse dÃƒÂ©cor, Plunge! features indoor-outdoor pools (open year-round), an indoor water playground, hot tubs, a rope swing into the deep end, and a very tame waterslide designed for younger kids. Multiple lifeguards watch both the indoor and outdoor pools. Several of the resort's hotels also have pools free to their guests, but Plunge! offers a few more amenities, especially for families with little ones. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free for ages 2 and under; $12 per three hours or $15 per day for ages 3 to 12; and $15 (three hours) and $20 per day for ages 13 and up. Three-day rates are also available.
Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster
If you do one activity at Blue Mountain, let it be the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, a mild but invigorating roller coaster ride through the pine-scented woods. A pleasurable, slow ride up the escarpment peaks at the top, when riders pick up speeds up to 26 miles per hour, weaving and twisting through the trees for 3,560 feet of pure joy. And get this: Riders can control their own speed, so if it gets too fast, you can slow yourself down a little. To ride alone, you must be 13 years of age or older, while passengers must be 3 to 12 years old and 40 inches tall. Adults (13 and older): $15; youth: $12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Catch and Observe
Observer boxes and nets are available at Dockside and at various spots all over the resort's millpond for kids who want to wade into the cattails and catch pollywogs and frogs. Observer boxes and nets are yours to keep, so it can double as a souvenir, plus this is one of few free activities at the resort.
The Blue Mountain Bike Park, Ontario's most extensive mountain biking park, has a full fleet of comfort, trail and downhill bikes for rent, which are serviced daily. Downhill armor is also available to rent for safety on the hill. You can bring your own bike, but do check out Blue's list of equipment requirements to see what's allowed and recommended for use on the trail network. Also available are guided one-hour scenic rides ($23 youth, $29 adult; includes bike rental); two-hour guided trail rides (ages 8 and up: $49; includes lift ticket and bike rental); Introduction to Downhill (ages 8 and up: $99; includes instruction, two-hour guided bike ride, lift ticket and bike rental).
The mega-Canadian BeaverTail is a yummy pastry treat, shaped like the tail of the True North's iconic, busy critter. Snack on a BeaverTail with a decadent topping of your choice, or check out Poutine, Beaver Dogs, smoothies and frozen treats.
If you feel like the kids have been tucking away too much junk food, give them a superfood boost at Booster Juice, with signature premium smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, ready-to-go wraps, and more. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Grab a quick, hearty lunch at Chuck Burger, where the meat is 100 percent naturally raised local beef, antibiotic- and hormone-free. There's a dine-in or take-out option with gluten-free buns, too. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday.
Apres biking, hiking, or free-falling onto a giant bag, relax on the deck at Copper Blues and watch people mill about the Village Events Plaza. Mom and dad can indulge in lobster and steak, while the kids can choose from eight options on the kids' menu, including New York striploin and fish and chips.
Firehall Pizza Co.
The perfect spot for families to relax and tuck into pizza and hearty Italian-inspired dishes, Firehall celebrates the mighty firefighter with tons of paraphernalia and servers dressed up as firefighters. Even the building itself is modeled after a Northern Ontario Firehall. Grab a table on the patio and people watch on the Village Events Plaza while you wait for your meal. Try the Arancini app (Risotto bites stuffed with cheese, served in Pomodoro sauce), and you won't be disappointed. The kids menu is stuffed with pizza and pasta options, and the pizza menu abounds with novel, shareable choices, such as the Sexy Texy Mexy and the Hollywood Bollywood (perfect to take home for lunch the next day). Open daily at 11 a.m
Experience a vibrantly Canadian menu at Kaytoo, located in the charming, bright yellow Mill Pond Boathouse overlooking the millpond. Diverse and Canadian-sourced choices includes B.C. Salmon, Alberta Beef, Saskatoon Berry Pie, Manitoba Bison burgers, Ontario Ham, Montreal Smoked Meat, Lobster fresh from Halifax and PEI mussels. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Magnone's Italian Kitchen
With an open market feel, this rustic, upscale eatery spans two levels, with a floor-to-ceiling glass faÃƒÂ§ade. The menu focuses on sharing plates of fresh, homemade ingredients. There's no kids' menu, so Magnone's might be best visited on date night, maybe to share plates of Osso Bucco and Lamb Brasato. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday to Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday to Saturday.
Kikaku Sushi Bar
Whether you take out or dine in, Kikaku Sushi Bar tackles your Sashimi craving from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Menchie's Frozen Yogurt
What could be better on a hot day than ducking into Menchie's for a fresh honeydew sorbet or uber fudgy brownie batter yogurt? How about heaping your favorite flavor base with gummy worms or lychee or hot fudge sauce? At Menchie's, you pay by weight, not by topping, so you create your own yogurt magnum opus. Open 11 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays, and 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays.
MJ Byrne's Irish Pub
A warm pub atmosphere prevails with stick-to-your-ribs fare, such as Shepherd's Pie, Irish Stew, and Wicklow Beef Dip. Listen to a Celtic band perform as mom and dad unwind (they have 19 beers to choose from), and the wee lads and lassies nosh on Dublin-battered fish and chips from the kids' menu. Opens daily at 11 a.m.
Mile High Poutine
If you're Canadian, you already know what Poutine is: French fries smothered in gravy and topped with gooey cheese curds. If your family is visiting Canada, do check out Mile High Poutine for traditional poutine with fresh cheese curds from Quebec, or dolled up poutines with BBQ pulled pork or Montreal smoked meat and nacho fixings. The typical line to order is worth it. Vegan and gluten-free gravy is also available. Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Oliver & Bonacini
Created by famed Toronto-restaurateurs Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini, Oliver and Bonacini sits at the base of the posh Westin Trillium House. Indulge in its lunch and dinner selection of appetizers, seafood, steaks, chops, ribs, pasta, fire-roasted pizza and gourmand burgers, complemented by a well-chosen wine list. But don't miss the breakfast buffet, with delectable waffles, choice meats, and fresh fruits, especially if you can get a table on the pond-side terrace. Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
If it can be wrapped in a pita, chances are good you can find it at the Pita Pit. Chicken Souvlaki, tuna, Philly steak, and Falafel are just a few of the wrap fillings on order at this casual spot. Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.
The Pottery Restaurant
Located in the original Blue Mountain Inn (ie: away from the hubbub of the village), The Pottery is a free shuttle bus trip away and worth the extra effort. Inside, it's cool and calm -- you won't have to wait with hungry kids for a table. Speaking of kids, the menu for the littles is quite extensive, and features steak, pastas, salads and all the usual kids' menu suspects. For grown-ups, there's a heavenly watercress salad with strawberries, goat cheese and toffee'd pistachios to start, and lots of meaty options, such as shaved pork and steak sandwiches. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery
If you want to incorporate some fancy into your holiday, patronize the Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery. Here, you'll find a regal array of lattes, loose leaf organic teas, and hot chocolates, plus freshly made soups, salads and sandwiches. Its cinnamon rolls and croissants -- presumably fit for the Queen of the Commonwealth -- are baked fresh three times daily. Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Rusty's At Blue
When you're ready to hunker down and get serious about eating, try Rusty's at Blue. Rusty's sits at the foot of the mountain, offering prime views from its patio and a filling menu of steak, ribs, seafood and burgers. Its claim to fame: A competition grade, 10-foot meat smoker. There isn't a kids' menu here, but the large app menu (with nachos, quesadillas and the like) might do the trick. Open 11 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.
Famous for its "All Day Breakfast," Sunset Grill is a warm and friendly place to indulge in omelets, French toast, pancakes and other freshly grilled and baked starters. Juice is flown in daily from Florida. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Old-fashioned and European-feeling Tholos provides a delicious cultural experience in a candlelit, courtyard setting. Meaning "dome" or "vaulted space," Tholos describes the high ceilings featured in this Greek/ Mediterranean restaurant. Greek music plays and diners cry "Opa!" when an appetizer is flambÃƒÂ©ed. The beef and chicken Souvlaki and Mousaka are all luscious, but the sheep's milk feta appetizer is not to be missed. Open 11 a.m. to close.
Variety is the spice of life at Wild Wing, with chicken wings baked, marinated and dunked in such tangy treatments as Thai, Carribbean Jerk and Chipotle. Salads, wraps, fries, onion rings and appetizers round out the menu at this casual, country and Western-themed joint with a patio and piano for live music. Open noon until 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Blue Mountain's Original Grilled Cheese Truck, located in the orchard, serves up a variety of grilled cheese (Moroccan, Thai, veggie) sandwiches to grab and go. There's even a dessert sandwich with grilled bananas and Nutella. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Private sitters are available with three days' notice, for infants up to age 12 ($15 per hour, plus $20 service fee).
The Art of Smart Timing
The lowest rates (and least amount of people) are available during the "off" seasons of fall (after the busy summer season, but before ski season) and spring. Weekdays are typically less busy and slightly cheaper, as well.
There is a daily shuttle service from Toronto to Blue Mountain Resort only during the winter ski season. If driving, Blue Mountain is about one hour and 50 minutes from the Toronto International Airport (YYZ).
A complimentary shuttle bus runs around the resort all year long at Blue Mountain.
For Mom and Dad
Part of the magic of Blue Mountain is that it's just as much a haven for adults as it is a playground for youngsters. Grown-up escapes are steps away in the village, which has a ton of restaurants and cocktail places to sample. Try MJ Byrnes Irish Pub for live Celtic music and a beer list of 19 selections, or Magnone's Italian Kitchen for Osso Buco and a glass of vino.
If a spa getaway entices, there are two choices: Kalola Wellness Spa & Salon (services include massage therapies, medical esthetics, facials and hand and foot treatments) at the Blue Mountain Inn, and Iwa Spa, for yoga and ganban~yoku in the village.
Monterra Golf Course provides golfers with rolling bent grass fairways, 86 bunkers, ravines, creeks, lakes, and elevated tee shots, while Monterra Tennis offers four decoturf cushioned courts for tennis enthusiasts.