If you are looking to get back into nature after an extended period of staying at home, and once travel restrictions are lifted, why not plan a ride and day trip to an Ontario Provincial Park in the near future.
With over 330 park locations across the province, it was recently announced that Ontario Parks will be open again for use, with limitations on facilities.
To get you rolling, here are some of our top picks for exploring Ontario Parks by bike.
Be sure to reference the following page before you go. While washrooms, bike rentals, campgrounds and visitor centres may not be open, the trails for cycling and hiking are. Don’t forget to maintain social distancing and bring all your own supplies like hand sanitizer and water for rehydration. visit www.ontarioparks.com/covid19
Algonquin Provincial Park
While this is the most famed Ontario Provincial Park, it is easy to escape to quieter parts of the park with your bike and enjoy Algonquin’s incredible lakes, rivers and forests.
Old Railway Bike Trail – 16km – Suitable for all types of cyclists this trail follows the bed of the historic Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway and visits beautiful lakes, rapids, crosses multiple bridges and travels through lush forest. Find interpretive signs along the trail which highlight the many natural and historic features along the way.
Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail – 5km to 23km – This trail offers rugged mountain biking with many hilly sections and rocky terrain and is considered moderately difficulty. This trail travels by lakes and streams, through lush hardwood forest and over sections of boardwalk.
Byers Lake Mountain Bike Trail – 6.5km or 13km round trip – This more challenging rugged trail has numerous steep grades and descents, obstacles and some muddy sections. Enjoy scenic views of the York River, the Gut Rapids and Byers Lake along the way.
Pinery Provincial Park
A summer time top destination to enjoy the sandy beach shoreline on Lake Huron, the Pinery has, in our opinion, one of the best and most fun looped bike trails of all parks.
Savana Trial – 14km – The trail is a mix of unpaved hard packed pathway through wooded forest and paved one-way park road which follows the Old Ausable River Channel. Stop to spot the turtles, plus other river and forest life on this enjoyable circuit that is easy enough for all types of cyclists to pedal.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
The flat peninsula that juts out into Lake Ontario in south eastern Ontario, near the town of Brighton, is a perfect stop for an easy day ride. Well known for its bird viewing, trails, boardwalk and lighthouse, there is a cruisy 8km loop on a dedicated trail that runs alongside the park road.
Arrowhead Provincial Park
While many may now associate the park with its well known winter skating track, Arrowhead has several beautiful and somewhat challenging trails more suited to mountain bikes. Try the 5km Arrowhead Lake Trail, the 3km Lookout Trail and the 3km Hardwood Hill Trail and enjoy riding through mature hardwood forests containing a mixture of sugar maple, beech and yellow birch.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Located east of Thunder Bay, this park offers many opportunities for exploration by bicycle. Mountain biking in the park is very popular with trails that include: Sawyer Bay Trail – 6km; Burma Trail – 11km; Pickerel Lake Trail – 10km.
Top recommended mountain bike rides:
Kabeyun & Talus Lake Trails – 7km – From it’s terminus hike up along the Top of the Giant Trail which leads to spectacular vistas that take in Silver Islet, Isle Royale and Thunder Bay.
Marie Louise Drive – 12 km – A great mountain bike tour around the west side of Marie Louise Lake.
Some of the park roads also provide exciting bike routes. Try the following suggested ride:
Thunder Bay Lookout Road – 9 km – A challenging ride from Hwy 587 to the spectacular Thunder Bay Lookout. While there are a number of steep hills getting there, it’s a treat to coast back down on your return.
Restoule Provincial Park
If you are looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a more remote experience, consider exploring this park, south west of North Bay and east of Parry Sound.
Take your mountain or trail bike (or rent one at the park when facilities are open) on a series of short and easy trail loops. Ride the duo 3km Angel’s Point Trail loops that wind through vibrant hardwood forest one on wide trail surfaces, the other on single track.
Another great way to spend the afternoon and enjoy a more casual ride is along the Rangers Point Trail to the shores of Stormy Lake, with views of the Stormy Lake Bluff and the historic Fire Tower in the distance.
Cycling on park roads is also very popular.
If you don’t have your own vehicle consider taking the opens in a new windowParkbus. With destinations to select Ontario Parks, many which offer bike rentals, Parkbus is a perfect solution to escape urban centres and get into nature. Parkbus, similar to Ontario By Bike, is a program of not for profit organization, opens in a new windowTransportation Options.
Photo Credits: Ontario Provincial Parks