I’ll be the first to admit this and I usually get weird looks when I say it, but here goes…I’m not a fan of summer. I don’t like extremely hot weather, I get insane allergies, I can never get comfortable and my hair goes bat-shit crazy with frizz. There IS one thing absolutely I love about summer though and it’s probably the ONLY thing. Riding my motorcycle. That’s it. Summer is my time for that fast, adrenaline filled, intense fun that I crave throughout every winter and spring. Open road, fist full of throttle and that fresh country air filling my helmet (probably with allergens to be honest). Gliding around corners that weave around pristine lakes and lush forested areas of cottage country in North East Ontario. Now that’s my idea of a fun weekend! Exploring new towns, new roads (paved and sometimes dirt roads) and usually having a few stories to share when we get back home, whether it be shit talking the asshole who pulled in front of us, or talking about our new record speeds in remote straightaways. You didn’t hear that from me though, okay? Most of our rides are anywhere from 3 to 4 hours away from Toronto via major roadways. We take all the side roads though, so our riding days are usually a solid 7 to 8 hours and can range anywhere from 355km to 500km days, sometimes more. With all that being said, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 cottage country rides of summer 2016.
Lake On The Mountain – Prince Edward County
Lake on the Mountain is a natural mystery with a constant flow of clean, fresh water with no apparent source. It lies 60 metres above Lake Ontario with views towards the Bay of Quinte, the Glenora Ferry and the north shore. You can take the ferry across the lake on your motorcycles or cars to get across to the other roadways. Stories of volcanoes, meteorites and huge glacial whirlpools make up some of the theories as to how this mysterious lake was formed. There is a large picnic area, bed and breakfast lodging in and around the area and quaint restaurants to fuel you up before hitting the nearby hiking trails in the area. Lake on the Mountain Park is located at 296 County Rd # 7 Picton, ON. For more information, you can visit the park’s official website HERE. Looking for a place to stay? How about visiting the beautiful Lake on the Mountain Inn.
Eagle’s Nest Lookout – Bancroft, Ontario
No ride out to Bancroft is ever complete for us without visiting Eagle’s Nest Lookout. This lookout is hidden among a steep, bumpy roadway, which leads you through a lush forested area with a parking area up top. From there, you can take a short hike on the trails to reach the edge of the massive rock wall cliffs. The views of the York River valley are breathtaking, even more so during the autumn when all the trees change colour. Eagle’s Nest Lookout is located off of Hastings Street North (Highway 62). For more information on what to do in and around Bancroft, visit the town’s site HERE.
Dorset Lookout Tower – Dorset, Ontario
Located above The Lake of Bays, the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower has always been a favourite riding destination for us. The 360 degree panoramic views from the top of the observation deck are something else. The journey to the top of the observation deck is not for the faint of heart, as you have to climb the 142 metre tower to reach the top. The Tower is a “use at own risk” attraction. High risk use of the Tower and mountain is not permitted, so be careful when climbing. The park area has bathroom facilities, hiking trails and even a little gift shop in case you need a snack, or some water. Visit during the autumn, which is considered peak season, and you’ll be able to take in the beautiful fall colours that the trees around the area have to offer. The Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower is located off Highway 35 just north of the village of Dorset. For more information about the tower, click HERE.
Oxtongue River – Ragged Falls Provincial Park
Ragged Falls is located just outside of Algonquin Provincial Park off of Hwy 60. This waterfall is notable known as one of the top 10 waterfalls in Ontario. A short walk from the parking area will lead you to the thundering whitewater falls crashing over the rocks standing in its path. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hop, skip and jump from rock to rock. There is also a short, but beautiful 1km hiking trail along the falls, offering spectacular views.
A road trip to Huntsville, Ont., is one of my favourite rides because of the scenic routes you can take through the region. As you ride along highways, the scenery changes from open valleys and forests to granite rock walls soaring more than 100 feet. If you’re a big art nerd like me, you’ll want to visit Huntsville. Tom Thomson and members of the Group of Seven painted some of their famous landscape paintings in the region. The community hosts a number of art shows and exhibits throughout the year, so try to co-ordinate your trip during one of them. Huntsville also offers art workshops if you want to try your hand at one. Huntsville is the largest of the six municipalities within the District of Muskoka. Located about 215km from Toronto, Hunstville is considered the gateway to the Algonquin Park community. The historic Brunel Lift Locks located on Brunel Road, were built in 1877. These locks are still manually moved by hand to allow boats to cross through the waterways.
As much as I’ll miss riding throughout the long winter, and I get ready to give the bike one last wash, clean the chain, fill the gas tank with stabilizer and put the cover over for the winter, I know I’ll always have photos and YouTube videos to tide me over until next summer.
Do any of you ride motorcycles? What are some of your favourite routes? Do you have any interesting stories? Let me know in the comments below! xo