10 things to do in Dryden, Ontario

There's so much to do in this Northwestern Ontario wilderness city.

Come discover Dryden, a unique destination, with abundant natural beauty where tourism and recreation facilities abound. The city is known for fishing and hunting opportunities, but it offers so much more. Dryden is centrally located in Sunset Country and is easily accessible from the Trans Canada Highway. It is situated on Wabigoon Lake about halfway between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The following is a list of 10 things to do in Dryden. There's such a variety, you can do one or do them all:

1. Cross the Suspension Bridge over the Wabigoon River. The Roy Wilson Suspension Bridge can be accessed through Johnston park which is just off the Trans Canada Highway. The park is also a starting point for some of the urban trails in Dryden. You'll find the beautiful 'Pieces of Dryden'  tile mosaic among the trees. Head down towards the river and you'll find the bridge. Cross the bridge to get a great view of the rapids on the Wabigoon River. Depending on the season, they'll either be rushing strongly or gently flowing down. After you view the rapids, head down one of the walking trails and then finish up with a picnic lunch in Johnston Park.

2. Visit the Laura Howe Marsh Conservation Area. Wetlands like the Laura Howe Marsh are home to a wide variety of wildlife including insects, frogs, great blue herons, red foxes, and more. Aquatic plants such as reeds, cattails, arrowheads, water lilies, and pondweeds can also be found. The marsh provides a spawning and nursery area for fish and amphibians, a winter refuge for deer and songbirds, and a food source for beavers and hunters such as snakes, foxes, and birds of prey. From the parking lot on Van Horne Avenue, you can choose either a short 0.4 km or a longer 2 km hike. Don't miss the viewing platforms within the marsh.

3. Explore Dryden Urban and Wilderness Hiking Trails.  There are many opportunities for hiking or strolling through the urban or wilderness trails in Dryden. There are three urban trail systems ranging from 5.4-12.3 km long. Aaron Provincial Park on Thunder Lake and Blue Lake Provincial Park in Vermilion Bay also over trails within their parks. Check out the remnants of the terrific wind storm of 1973 and see the bare rock surfaces scarred by glaciers that melted 10 to 15 thousand years ago in Aaron Park. For the intermediate and advanced riders, the Ghost Lake Trails offer a sense of freedom and complexity in the wilderness on existing bush roads and forest trails. There is 22 km of trails that run through many different terrains such as rocky bedrock outcrops, wetlands, and swamps mixed in the forest. Ghost Lake is also a staging lake for up to 200 Common Loons. There are also the Dryden Area Trans Canada Trails. The City of Dryden has maps of the trail systems on its website.

4. Watch a Pow Pow. Neighbouring First Nation communities are host to annual powwows which are colorful, lively celebrations of local Indigenous culture. Complete with the ceremonial dress, drums, and Indigenous cuisine, the pow-wows are packed with exciting and exhilarating sights and sounds. The Eagle Lake First Nation Pow Wow is one of the largest in Northwest Ontario. 

5. Visit the Museum, home of 'the Dryden Buck'. Centrally located, the historic Hambleton House is the home of the Dryden Museum with over 10,000 artifacts in its collection. They have both permanent and travelling exhibits. The famous 'Dryden Buck', the unofficial Ontario record whitetail deer shot in 2003 scoring 192 7/8 on the Boone and Crockett scale stands proudly in the museum.

6. Go canoeing or kayaking. The Dryden Kayak and Canoe Club meets weekly in the summer to explore the lakes and rivers around Dryden. You can discover local area canoe routes such as Aerobus Lake Loop or the Beaverhouse Canoe route. You can also rent canoes at Aaron Provincial Park. 

7. Experience Aaron and Blue Lake Provincial Parks. Nearby Aaron Provincial Park provides recreational opportunities for the whole family, from camping, fishing, boating, and canoeing in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter. Blue Lake Provincial Park is just 45 km (28 mi) away. It boasts a long, sandy beach and water so clear you can see the bottom at six meters, and now in a sheltered cove on the northern shore, the sport of rock climbing has been introduced.

8. Treat yourself to nightly entertainment. The Dryden Regional Training and Cultural Centre, or "The Centre" as it is called, is the home of entertainment in Dryden with a state-of-the-art 500-seat auditorium. The Dryden Entertainment Series hosts performances throughout the year. Pappy's Cafe in Wabigoon is also a magical place of music and entertainment. Some of the best live music is played in an atmosphere that will make you feel like you are sitting in your own living room.

9. Play a round of golf. Dryden has two golf courses. In 2024, the City of Dryden took over the responsibility of the operations for our municipally owned golf course and has rebranded it, naming it Sandy Beach Golf Club. Sandy Beach Golf Club, is located at 400 Sandy Beach Road, just a few minutes drive from downtown Dryden. Anderson's Homestead Golf Course is the second golf course in Dryden. It is a 9-hole, par 36 course.

10. Have fun at the Dryden Days of Summer. Held most Thursdays in the summer, the Dryden Days of Summer takes place on King Street between 3 & 6 pm. There are vendors, artisans and crafters, a farmers market, and various entertainment and activities each week. There's often free admission to the Dryden Museum too.

If you need a place to stay in Dryden, there are hotels and resorts nearby. For more information or book a tour, contact the Dryden Visitor Information Centre at 1-800-667-0935.

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

Recommended Articles

Looking for somewhere new to fish?

The Morson area of Lake of the Woods is fantastic!

Has not having a passport kept you from vacationing in Canada?

It's easier to get than you may think!

Discover The Winnipeg River

From fur traders to trophy anglers, the beauty hasn't changed.

A Guide to Sunset Country Museums

Learn while you visit!

Going fishing in Ontario?

Your lodging has just the boat you need!

10 Reasons to Avoid Ontario

Haters of wilderness, wildlife, and quiet: best steer clear.

5 Amazing Sights You Can Only See By Boat

From mermaids to boat-in museums, the Northwest corner of Ontario has some of the coolest sights to see on water!

5 Essential Boreal Experiences in Ontario's Sunset Country

Freshwater fishing, forest hiking, and sunset views await in this pristine paradise

5 Obscure Facts About Northwestern Ontario: Were You Aware of These?

Here are 5 facts that most people don't know about Sunset Country.

Outdoor Medicine

Here's why experiencing the natural world is good for you—and your health.

Bringing Your Pet to Canada

What You Need to Know

Heading Across Canada?

Here's what you need to know about Sunset Country (from the giant moose statues to the even bigger waterfalls)

Tips for Spring Walleye Fishing

Find out the best places to find walleyes.

There's more than just fishing in the Red Lake Region

Although the fishing's pretty good too!

Outdoor Adventure in Ontario's Northern Paradise

On the links, on the trails, and on the water–discover why Kenora has it all this fall!

Plan your trip

Book the the trip you never got to take this summer

5 Amazing Things About Spring

Spring is a welcome sight after a long winter in Sunset Country!

Spring Fishing for Northern Pike

Northerns are hungry after the spawn and are ready to bite!

Tips from a Fishing Legend

Big Bass, Walleye, Muskie and So Much More

Going Fishing in Canada?

Get the answers to your questions

What makes Wabigoon such a great lake to fish?

Well for one, it has potential for the next world record muskie!

Search Sunset Country