Throughout Ontario’s cottage country, you’ll find a great range of mountain bike trails to suit all levels of off-road cyclists, from technical riders to long distance haulers to recreational weekend warriors.
Where to Ride
For experienced peddlers looking to challenge themselves, there are several exceptional options to consider. Some of the region’s most technically demanding trails can be found in Bracebridge’sPorcupine Ridge Mountain Bike Park. Located across the parking lot from family amusement park Santa’s Village, the trails are filled with man-made obstacles, bridges, “skinnies” and more. For those who make it there’s also a scenic vista overlooking stunning Lake Muskoka.
Algonquin Park offers a pair of challenging trails for the adventurous rider. The Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail consists of several loops from 5 to 23 km in length. The trail is filled with steep uphill sections and rocky, root covered surfaces. Riders up to the challenge are rewarded with back country isolation and the opportunity for multiple wildlife sightings. Also in Algonquin, the Byers Lake Mountain Bike Trail is a 13 km out and back trip located at the park’s southern edge. This trail features steep and aggressive grades with rocks, obstacles and muddy sections. There is also a short side trail providing access to Gut Rapids, a narrow, picturesque canyon on the York River. Not far from Algonquin Park, near Dwight, Muskoka, be sure to check out the new Echo Valley Nature Trails, a welcome addition to riding around Lake of Bays.
Buckwallow Cycling Centre, located in Gravenhurst, is a privately owned trail system providing more than 30 km of dedicated mountain bike trails of varying difficulty. The majority of the trails are winding single track riddled with roots, exposed “whaleback” rocks and natural and man-made obstacles. Buckwallow has been called Muskoka’s best marked and maintained mountain biking trail system and every season it hosts a stop on the Ontario Mountain Bike “O-Cup” racing tour.
Linking Killbear Provincial Park to Algonquin Park, the The Park to Park Trail system boasts 230 km of off-road and mixed-use trails. The Park to Park Trail links individual trails and trail systems across this distance to create a continuous cycling option between the parks. The best known section of the trail is the Seguin Trail, 80km of off-road that follows the historic rail bed of the Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway. This makes for a relatively flat ride that wanders through forests interspersed with rocky and wet terrain that carries riders into theAlmaguin Highlands region.
Starting on the shore of Georgian Bay, the 6 km Rose Point Trail also follows a section of the same rail bed. In Algonquin Park itself, the Old Railway Trail is a 16 km off road stretch along the abandoned rail bed that connects five of the park’s campgrounds.
Restoule Provincial Park in the northern part of the Explorers’ Edge region has two trails suitable for mountain biking. The 5 km Angel’s Point Trail is an easy ride showcasing the park’s natural beauty. Also check out Gibs Trail, a backcountry route of moderate to difficult terrain that heads outside of the park in the adjacent Crown land toward the French River.
Other cycling favourites include the 15 km, single track style Muskiig Trail in Parry Sound, The Loxton Beaver Trail near South River in the Almaguin Highlands, and the trails of the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre.
In Parry Sound some of the best mountain bike riding happens on the trails of the Georgian Nordic Ski & Canoe Club, including group rides. Check with Parry Sound Bikes and Ontario Trysport for dates and times, and follow along with the folks at Get Outdoors Parry Sound.
Rentals and Services
Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville, Muskoka Pro Bicycling Shop in Hunstville, LivOutside in Bracebridge and The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst rent and service all types of mountain bikes. Riders heading specifically to Buckwallow can rent one of the Ecclestone Cycle fleet stationed directly at the Centre’s trailhead (or rent to ride in other areas).