Mountain Biking in Central Ontario North
 
Mountain Biking

The Central Ontario North region has some of Ontario's best mountain biking. Hardwood Hills outside Barrie in the Simcoe region is considered by most enthusiasts to be the best trail system going. The center is dedicated to mountain biking (cross country skiing in the winter) and the variety, condition and design of the trials reflect this. Just a short distance from Hardwood is another of Ontario's finest, the Mansfield Outdoor Centre. The trail system is well designed and challenging with a lot of variety. Like Hardwood, many of Ontario's races are held at the centre. To the west an array of other challenges await you in the form of the Kolapore Uplands, the Loree Forest and the Three Stage area. To the east, in the Algonquin/Muskoka regions, head for the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre, Buckwallow Cycle Center, the Minnising Trail or our favorite Porcupine Ridge.

 
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The last five to ten years has seen the ski hills make a real push in the area of MTB trail development. The world class resort at Blue Mountain is one example. Further afield in the bordering regions you'll find excellent biking at the Haliburton Center, and the Durham and Ganraska Forests, each of which offers a variety of other outdoor activities as well.

Note: The Mansfield Outdoor Centre is closed to the public for mountain biking. Many of the events are still held here. Contact them for more information.

Blue Mountain - The resort has a number of trails coming off the mountain and many more nearby. The mountain has chairlift access (fee) for mountain bikers on summer weekends. Onsite you'll find repairs, rentals and a mountain bike school. You'll also find fine restaurants and accommodations in the village and in nearby Collingwood. Take the 400 north to Barrie and exit to highway 27, take the 26 east passed Collingwood about 11km to Blue Mountain Road and the resort. It's about 2hrs drive from Toronto. Collingwood, Simcoe County

 
 

Bracebridge Resource Management Centre - 15km, Beginner/Intermediate, Loops. The trail system is composed of double track loops with interconnecting single track over rolling terrain in a forested area. You'll find fixed maps on the property. The trails are multi-use. The trails are located about 8km north of Bracebridge on the east side of the 11, about 2.5km passed the intersection with the 117. For more info see Ecclestone Cycle. Bracebridge, Muskoka

Brant Track - This is a large reforested area of pine and spruce recently open up for a variety of outdoor activities. The riding consists of both jeep track and single track. The single track trails were designed for mountain biking, which should tell you a lot. From Owen Sound, take the 21 west to the 3, where you head south to Paisley. Continue on about 6km passed Paisley along Brant Concession Road 12 to the entrance. Associated Clubs - Owen Sound Cycle Club. Paisley, Bruce County

Buckwallow Cycle Centre/KOA Nordic Trails - 20km, Beginner-Expert. (705) 687-8858 The trails consist of easy double track on hard packed surfaces, connected with challenging single track which weaves through the area. From exit 175 north of Gravenhurst follow Doe Lake Road east to the Gravenhurst Parkway, then take a left. The entrance is a very short distance from the intersection. Gravenhurst, Muskoka. Associated clubs - Muskoka Mud Slingers. For more info see Ecclestone Cycle.

Hardwood Hills - 70km, Beginner-Expert. Perhaps Ontario's best mountain biking area, the trails are well maintained with a wide range of riding available. Repairs, rentals and all the amenities are available onsite. Take exit 111 on Highway 400 and head east on Doran Road, then head east again for about 5km along Edgar to the center.

Kolapore Uplands - 50km, Intermediate-Expert, Interconnected Loops This is an excellent area to ride with lots of variety and challenges, including climbs, technical sections and steep descents. Note: This is a very large tract of forested land and you can get lost in the area, be prepared (clothing, food, water and tools) and make sure you're back at the parking lot well before dusk. Don't ever ride alone. The map is available at the Ravenna General Store 6km north of the parking lot. Buy it! From Highway 10 take the 4 east to Grey County Road 2 where you head north. Drive for about 15km and watch for the The trail entrance on your right.

Loree Forest - Beginner-Intermediate, 8km. The area is single track, with a few spurs that provide some even more technical riding. The trails are located in the Grey County Forest at the top of the Georgian Peaks Ski Hill, providing some excellent views. From Highway 10, take the 4 east to Grey County Road 2 where you head north. Follow the 2 to Victoria Corners and head east for about 4km where you'll find the small parking area on your right. The trail entrance is across the street.

Mansfield Outdoor Centre - 40km, Beginner-Expert. This is a great trail network with something for everyone. You'll find easy rollers along with difficult technical trails and steep climbs and descents. From the 401 take highway 400 north and exit at highway 89 west. From the 89 take Dufferin Road 18 north to the center. Simcoe County

Closed to the public for Mountain Biking but open for events!

MacGregor Point Provincial Park - 15km, Beginner. The park is great introduction to trail riding. There are a number of trails to choose allowing you to explore dunes, forest, field or lakeshore.

Minnising Trail/Algonquin Provincial Park - 4.7km - 23.4km, Beginner-Intermediate. The trail is set aside for mountain biking in the park with varied terrain ranging from sandy flats to rolling hills along with some good extended climbs and some technical sections. The trail consists of four overlapping loops with distances of 4.7km, 10.1km, 17.1km and 23.4.km. The longest loop will take you north of Canisbay Lake, around Linda Lake and back around the west side of Polly Lake. The longest loop is arduous unless your in great shape, there are a number of extended climbs that sap you as the kilometres pile up. In the winter the trail is used for cross country skiing. The trail is in the southern sector of the park, off the main corridor on Hwy 60, with drive up access. This is a wilderness park be prepared, carry appropriate clothing, food, water and tools and never ride alone. Out-There's Algonquin

Porcupine Ridge/Santa's Village - 25km, Intermediate-Expert. Don't let "Santa's Village" fool you, this is one of the knarliest areas in Ontario and for advanced riders, one of the best. The area is very technical, modeled it seems on north shore style riding. You'll find steep drop offs, narrow squeezes and nearly impossible ledges to try and hop. From the 400, follow the 11 north of Barrie to Bracebridge and take exit 118 and head west. The next street on your left is Santa's Village Rd which you follow for about 4km to the centre. For more info see Ecclestone Cycle.

Three Stage - 40km, Intermediate-Expert. A technical area with singletrack, drop offs, tough climbs and wild descents. From the 400 follow the 25 passed Collingwood to the 19. Take the 19 south and watch for the Bruce Trail on the right side of the road. You'll find an unnamed road across from this on the other side of the street which will lead you to the small parking area and the entrance to the trails.

Torrence Barrens - See Ecclestone Cycle.

Bruce Peninsula Mountain Bike Adventure Park - 20km of trails, easy to advanced with lots of north shore stuff thrown in for those who care to try. Bruce Peninsula

Lindsey Trails - Coming Soon - Bruce Peninsula

Carrick Track - 300 acres of forest, 10km, easy to intermediate - Bruce Peninsula

Kinloss Trails - Coming Soon - Bruce Peninsula

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Cycling - Rail Trails, Greenways & Cycle Paths

Georgian Trail - 32km, Easy, Linear, Stone Dust, Cycling, Hiking, Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing. The trail is a rail bed without any steep inclines so it's suitable for cyclists of all levels. The trail runs from Meaford, through Thornbury and on to Collingwood, following alongside the shores of Nottawasaga Bay (Southern Georgian Bay). It passes by beaches, through small urban centers, through forest and field and is easily access from the towns (parking is available) mentioned or any of almost thirty other points. Extreme care should be taken where the trail crosses roads and highways. You'll find shops, restaurants, campgrounds (Craigleith) and roofed accommodations in the towns. To reach the trail, take the 26 from the 400 just north of Barrie. Meaford, Thornbury, Craiglieth, Collingwood, Grey & Simcoe Counties

Keppel Rail Trail - 12.8km, Easy, Linear, Stone Dust (8.8km), crushed gravel (4km), Cycling/Mountain biking, Biking, Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing, Horseback Riding. The trail runs from Parkhead to Ben Allen, at the base of the Bruce Peninsula west of Owen Sound.
The trail passes through wetlands, fields, shrub and forest, as well as the town of Shallow Lake. Access is available from any of the three towns mentioned. You can also reach the trail via the Sarawak Rail Trail, which starts (or ends) in Owen Sound and connects to the Keppel Trail at Ben Allen. From Owen sound follow the 21 to the 6 north for Shallow Lake, the 21 to the 10 north for Park Head or head west from Owen Sound a short distance to Country Road 17 and head north to Ben Allen. The trail is open to snowmobiles in the winter. Grey County

North Simcoe Rail Trail/Tiny Trail - 30km (52km), Cycling/Mountain Biking, Hiking, Backpacking. The trail runs from just west of Barrie in the south, to Elmvale in the north, where the Tiny section is to begin and continue about 22km on to Midland. The trail passes through the Minesing Swamp providing a nice overlook of this impressive area. As this was written, the smooth surface runs out about 12km into the ride, but this will change over time. The trial has some sections on road and also crosses several roads and highways, where you should dismount and proceed with extreme caution. Take exit 96 on the 400 at Barrie and head west on Highway 90, where it's just short of 10km to Pinegrove Road. The trail starts just after the railway crossing (do not park on the railway crossing the tracks are still in use). Barrie, Simcoe County Note: Like many of Ontario's rail trails, this is a work in progress.

Oro Medonte/Lake Country Railtrail - 28km, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing, XC, Original Rail bed. The trail parallels Ridge Road just above the Lake Simcoe's shoreline, running from the northern outskirts of Barrie to the southern edge of Orillia. The trail is accessible at the end of Penetanguishene Road at Lake Simcoe in the south, or at Woodland Avenue and Woodland Road just south of Orillia, in the north. From Orillia follow the 12 west to Memorial Avenue and turn south to Woodland. From Barrie follow Georgian Drive passed the hospital and head south on Penetanguishene. Simcoe County

Paisley Trail - 6km, Easy, Linear, Cycling, Hiking, Snowshoeing. The trail follows along the top of flood dykes, through fields and forested areas on its way to downtown Paisley and then over the Teeswater River to the Dykes of the Saugeen. You'll find parking at Dr. Milne and Rotary Park. From Guelph follow the 7 north to the nine then pick up the 3 from Mildmay. Paisley, Bruce County

Sarawak Rail Trail - 3km, Easy, Linear, Stonedust, Cycling, Hiking, Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing, Horseback Riding. Basically the trail is a continuation of the Keppel Rail Trail which it connects to at Ben Allen. From Ben Allen, the trail continues down the escarpment to Owen Sound ending on Range Road in the cities west end. You can reach the connection point of the two trails from Owen Sound by driving a short distance west to Country Road 17 and heading north to Ben Allen. Owen Sound, Ben Allen, Grey County

Saugeen Rail Trail - 9km, Easy, Linear, Stonedust, Cycling, Hiking, Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing. The trail parallels the Lake Huron shoreline between Port Elgin and Southampton. Access the trial just north of Port Elgin at River Street or in Southampton on McNabb Street. Port Elgin can be reached from Guelph by following the 7 to the 9 to Midmay, then the 3 to the 17. Southampton is west of Owen Sound along the 21. Port Elgin, Southampton, Bruce County.

Saugeen River Trail - 5.5km, Easy, Linear, Stonedust, Cycling, Hiking, Cross Country Skiing. The trail follows the Saugeen River beside the town of Walkerton just south of Owen Sound. There are several access points on route. Walkerton can be reached from the south by following the 7 to the 9 north. Walkerton, Bruce County

Thornton-Cookstown Trail - Hiking, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing, XC Skiing, SM. The trial starts just to the west of Cookstown off the 89 and follows the Cookstown Creek passed Thornton over to the 53.

Uhthoff Trail - 25km, Easy, Linear, Stonedust, Cycling, Hiking, Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing, Horseback Riding. The trial runs through forest and field from Orillia to Coldwater, with a connection to the 6km Lightfoot Trail in Orillia. The trail is accessible in Orillia at Wilson Point Road. Orillia is located off Highway 11 north of Barrie. There are a number of road crossings with a high concentration in the Orillia area, dismount and proceed with extreme caution. The trail sees snowmobile use in the winter. Orillia, Coldwater, Simcoe County

Municipal Trails

Barrie Waterfront Trail - Hiking, MTB, XC, Snowshoeing

Midland Rotary Waterfront Trail - Cycling, Hiking, Snowshoeing, XC Skiing, Paved and Crushed Stone Dust

Penetanguishene Rotary Park Trail - Hiking, Cycling, XC, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiles, Paved and Crushed Stone - Joins with the Tiny Trail at the west end of town and leads into the port. On the outskirts it runs through forest and field.

Orillia Trails for Life - 9.5km, Hiking, Cycling, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Roller Blading, Paved.

Road Cycling

Bruce Country Road Routes are available from Sunsets.com

Route 1 - 40km, loop. Kincardine to Point Clark Lighthouse

Route 2 - 20 km, one way. Kincardine to Inverhuron Park and Bruce Power

Route 3 - 40km, one way. Kincardine to Port Elgin

Route 4 - 16km, loop. Port Elgin to Southampton

Route 5 - 56 km, loop. Paisley Loop

Route 6 - 80km, loop. Lucknow Buzz

Route 7 - 100km. Century Ride

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