Five Places To Ride ATVs In Ontario
ATVOntario’s PowerPass gives you access to thousands of miles of trails across the province.
ATVOntario PowerPass provides access to thousands of miles of trails
If you’ve been reading ATV.com long enough, you’ll know how much we appreciate the amazing riding opportunities north of the border in Canada – Ontario in particular.
While Ontario offers thousands and thousands of miles of ATV trails to explore across the province, the easiest and most affordable way to cover as much ground as possible is with ATVOntario‘s PowerPass.
What we like about the PowerPass is that it gives users access to five different riding areas across the province in very ATV-friendly communities. Instead of worrying about buying a trail pass from each place you ride, the PowerPass covers you for an entire year of riding nearly 4,000 miles (more than 6,000 kilometers) of mapped, maintained and amenity-rich ATV trails.
Georgian Bay, Haliburton, Mattawa, Cochrane and Elliot Lake are all covered with the PowerPass. So if you think you’ve seen all there is to see in Haliburton, you can load up your truck for a short trip to Mattawa to experience the trails there. Of course, each area is also renowned for affordable, ATV-friendly accommodations, restaurants and service centers. Pretty impressive, especially considering a PowerPass only costs $120 for an entire year.
Some of the best riding in the province can be found just two hours north of Toronto near Parry Sound. For an easy but scenic day on the trails, consider a ride on the Seguin Recreational Trail. This 46-mile (75 kilometers) trail connects highways 400 and 11. We had a chance to explore this ourselves a couple years back when we were in Parry Sound for annual Spring Jam event. While the trails were not the most challenging we’ve ridden, they were among the most beautiful.
If you really want a challenge, hit up our friends at Bear Claw Tours. With a fleet of power-steering equipped Honda ATVs, Bear Claw Tours offers its customers a Canadian Shield experience they won’t soon forget.
“Our trails are not straight, they’re all through trees and rocks and water and uphill and downhill, so there’s a lot of steering, a lot of physical exercise when you’re doing the tour,” says Andrew Ryeland, Bear Claw Tours owner and ATVOntario president.
For a truly unique experience, Bear Claw Tours had partnered with Georgian Airways for a Fly and Ride ATV Adventure. This includes a view of the 30,000 islands you can’t get anywhere else, along with a half day of awesome ATV riding.
If you are into a more low-key ATV experience, you can stay overnight at the Parry Sound KOA in a log cabin, wake up and ride straight to the trials in the morning. This area truly has something for everybody.
A couple hours northeast of Toronto is Haliburton, an area that boasts one of the better organized ATV clubs you’ll ever find – the Haliburton ATV Association. HATVA maintains more than 1,000 miles of mapped, signed and insured ATV trails.
With your PowerPass, you are welcome to explore the HATVA trails on your own. However, HATVA has group rides scheduled throughout the year, giving visitors a chance to ride with people who know the trails. Whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned rider, you’ll find trails to suit your skill level here.
Haliburton, like many communities in the area, is very friendly to ATV riders. You can ride your ATV right to many local service stations, restaurants and accommodations, so you don’t have to worry about strapping your machine to the trailer at the end of every ride day.
Nestled on the border of Ontario and Quebec, Mattawa is a paradise for off-road riders – two wheels or four. Mattawa sits about a half hour east of North Bay – about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto.
The Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System (VMUTS) is located just outside of Mattawa and it is an area we’ve visited several times. VMUTS offers an amazing variety of trails to explore, including some significant elevation changes that lead to some of the most extraordinary views we’ve ever experienced while ATVing.
These trails are located primarily on public land, which includes some secluded lakes that allow camping just off the trail. However, we’d recommend heading into town for some true northern hospitality. Like Haliburton, you can ride just about anywhere on your ATV in Mattawa, including to area restaurants. Never having to load up your ATV on a trailer is a huge bonus, as you’ll want to stay here for a couple of days to explore as much of this trail system as you can.
Cochrane should be on the radar of any ATV enthusiast who wants to get away from it all. About an eight-hour drive north of Toronto, it’s a true northern Ontario wilderness experience.
If you’re planning an ATV adventure to Cochrane, you should contact Bear Tracks ATV Tours. These experienced riders provide guided ATV tours to some remote, scenic locations throughout the area. Be sure to check out the Polar Bear & Habitat Heritage Village.
Of course, you may just get to see some bears or even moose in the wild. This is their natural habitat, after all.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride to explore the area or an action packed and more technical experience, Cochrane has got you covered.
Elliot Lake was once a major uranium mining center, but is now known as an outdoorsman’s haven and one of the best ATV destinations in North America.
Sitting between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, about five and a half hours from Toronto, Elliot Lake is home to approximately 200 miles of inspiring ATV trails. These trails take riders past fast-flowing rivers, ancient rock escarpments and thick forests.
Elliot Lake ATV trails were smartly planned out as all the trails are looped, meaning you are never more than 20 minutes away from all the services and amenities you’d ever need. As well, a variety of hotels and lodges are nearby and happily cater to ATV enthusiasts.
You are welcome to explore the trails on your own, but a number of local companies offer rentals and guided tours, which are very much worth looking into to get the most out of your trip.
I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.
More by Lucas Cooney