Best ATV and UTV Trails in Northern Ontario
You’ve dreamt about this trip for what feels like an entirety, you’ve talked about it with your riding pals and now your finally in the planning stages of a trip of lifetime – you’re so excited you can smell the forest, taste the fresh air, and of course feel the engine of your ATV or Side-by-Side. The epic trip you and your crew will never forget is finally going to happen; it’s time to get out and ride one of the best off-road trails in Northern Ontario.
The Northern Ontario wilderness is immense and within the expansive forest thousands of kilometers of off-road trails and bush roads exist that intertwine like the roots a massive white pine. The trails connect to rivers, lakes, lookouts, and both known and unknown destinations unlike anywhere else in the world.
The list below includes four specific trails we would recommend you check out for yourself. You will have to, in most cases, traverse other connected routes to get to these trails, but that only serves to enhance the experience and fun factor.
VMUTS Trail 93
Photo by Rob Stimpson
Located outside Mattawa, Ontario on the Voyageur Multi Use Trails System, which is comprised of over 300km of signed, mapped, and marked off-road trails, is Trail This trail is in the heart of the entire trail system and runs East to West or West to East, depending on where you access it from. The trail runs along a hydro-electric corridor, rising in elevation and offering amazing views of the landscape, it also winds through the mixed Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest offering incredible colors, especially in the fall, with the mix of maple and both white and yellow birch. The terrain on this trail is a mix of rock, sand and dirt. This trail is rated on the VMUTS map as Extreme Difficulty due to the rugged terrain and elevation changes. It’s a must ride and has trail features that will test your driving / riding skills, including long rocky climbs and descents. The VMUTS trails definitely need to be on your bucket list.
Photo by Rob Stimpson
At 80km long, the Seguin Trail is one of the best-known trails in Ontario for Off-Road adventures, it follows the historic route that was once part of the Grand Trunk Railway that later become the Canada Atlantic Railway built by logging legend J.R Booth. The trail has two main access points, the first being the Georgina Bay Travel Centre (Highway 400 exit 214) that has ample parking for truck and trailers, a fuel station as well as Tim Hortons and Licks restaurants, the second main access point is in Sprucedale, Ontario easily accessed off of Highway 11 via highway 518. The trail, because of its historic past, has many unique features including evidence of the railway’s historic infrastructure. The trail itself has a rough dirt surface that produces the occasional puddle after recent precipitation. The scenery along the trail is incredible with bridges over creeks, vast swamps, and a through the forest tunnel like experience that is amplified with color in during the fall season. The Seguin is a perfect trail for a family outing as well as a great main starting point to access many other trails in the area.
Timmins to Kapuskasing
Photo by Stephane Gallant
This trip is not out of reach; however, it is a trek like no other at 170km from Timmins to Kapuskasing. This route will take you into some of the most remote parts of Ontario, which provides tremendous opportunity for seeing wildlife such as moose, bears, lynx and even wolves among many other species. Riding between Timmins and Kapuskasing also provides great opportunity for brook trout fishing along the way at the many creeks and lakes. If you’re into overnight camping trips in the wilderness this is one route that should be on your bucket list of to do’s as you will be surrounded by crown land for the majority of the journey! The terrain is not overly challenging as most of the trip will be on a gravel road, but you will be venturing far off into one of the most remote parts of North America with no access to cell service…or any other services for that matter. This is an opportunity to get away from it all like no other!
Elliot Lake Map & Whiskey Lake Loop
Photo by Virgil Knapp
Elliot Lake has been known for more than a decade as one of the top ATV destinations in all North America, in-fact the community is known as one of the most “Off-Road” friendly on the continent. The scenery in this area is very majestic, with tall rolling hills and rock cliffs that seem to keep going forever. The trails galivant through the rugged forest, crossing bridges and running along and beside several lakes. The May Loop portion of this route is 60km long, adding in the Whiskey Lake Loop adds another 20km to your adventure! The entire area is about outdoor adventures, on the trails you can expect a mix of gravel, dirt and rocky Canadian shield. This is a great ride for the entire family and a perfect opportunity to bring your fishing rod and take a few casts from the shore during your trip, the fishing in this area is incredible so expect to reel a big one in.
It was quite the challenge to pick just a handful of specific trails in Northern Ontario, I drew on my years of experience and tens of thousands of kilometers of riding on both four and two wheels! I will note that in Northern Ontario there are thousands upon thousands of trails to explore and with that in mind the BEST trail is the trail you are on. Enjoy every moment of each ride! So, rally up your friends and family, plan the itinerary and go on an off-road adventure you will never forget! You Deserve It!
See you on the trails!
Photo by Virgil Knapp
More by Jeff McGirr