After sending a motorcycling expert out to check the condition of its ‘Top 10 Roads’ in Ontario’s cottage country, the regional tourism organization known as Explorers’ Edge has made some changes to its recommended routes for summer and fall motorcycle touring.
The latest change shows these riding recommendations aren’t a forgotten route recommended by a riding buddy who may not have been in the saddle for some time.
The ‘Top 10 Road’ recommendations are updated annually by Explorers’ Edge to ensure motorcyclists have an enjoyable touring experience in the wilderness just north of Toronto. Any routes that have not been cleared of sand or debris from winter, that heaved excessively due to frost in spring, or that have sprouted new potholes since the previous year, are removed from the list until they can be checked again next season. This is a unique service offered in Ontario that the regional tourism promoter calls the ‘Ride The Edge Check,’ according to James Murphy, Executive Director of Explorers’ Edge.
“The Top 10 Roads are part of the ‘Ride The Edge’ motorsports touring information we developed to help motorcyclists navigate Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka and Parry Sound for day trips or extended rides,” said Murphy.
Explorers’ Edge (RTO12) is the regional tourism organization for Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka and Parry Sound funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport. With some of Canada’s most iconic natural landscapes within its borders, including those that inspired the Group of Seven painters, and recognized as one of the most popular travel destinations in the province, Explorers’ Edge promotes travel to the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto in all four spectacular seasons.
“Ride the Edge maps out a ‘Big Loop,’ which covers just under 1000km of wide open and winding roads including those in iconic Algonquin Park, and a “Small Loop” that clocks in at 620km by excluding roads in Algonquin,” Murphy further explains.
According to Explorers’ Edge, each of the routes selected for the 2015 “Top 10 Roads” list features spectacular scenery, rolling hills, and enjoyable twisties.
“With lakes and forests everywhere you turn, with roads well maintained, and with fantastic attractions and accommodations located on each route, the Explorers’ Edge region of Ontario offers riders a truly exceptional touring experience,” says Murphy.
The Top 10 Roads in the Explorers’ Edge region of Ontario for 2015 are as follows:
10. Tally-Ho Swords Road
While it’s a bit short compared to other recommended roads, riders won’t be disappointed. The pavement is beautiful, traffic is light, and it makes for an escape from the major highways on the loop tour. This is a connector between the village of Orrville in the north and the village of Rosseau in the south, both in Seguin Township and is as picturesque as it gets.
9. Ravenscliffe Road
According to Explorers’ Edge, while it’s tough to ride the full length of this road without riders getting a smile on their face, it’s generally only ridden by those comfortable with a little bit of road wear as the second half turns into Stisted Road, which sees some sand and frost heaves. But for the more adventurous or hardened riders, the road is considered a must ride. It’s also a connecting road between Sprucedale and Huntsville, Ontario.
8. Muskoka Road #3 – Aspdin Road
A quick connector between the village of Rosseau, where motorcycles are likely to be parked outside Crossroads Restaurant, and Huntsville, Muskoka, locals know to keep their speed down in the tight corners here. Not only are bikers riding with courteous drivers, they’re plenty of pine groves along the way as well.
7. Muskoka Beach Road
Connecting the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, Explorers’ Edge feels this is a great start to riding in the region. Leave Highway 11 in Gravenhurst and following this through to Bracebridge, and enjoy the canopy of trees over all the curves.
However, if riders are taking to the road in the fall, watch for fallen leaves. They may look pretty as they turn, but leaves make for a slippery road when lying on the ground.
6. Highway 632 – Peninsula Road
Muskoka’s iconic touring road from the village of Rosseau in Seguin Township to Port Carling in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Essentially this ride is a ridge between two lakes on what is considered the most technical road in the region. Currently, riders should watch for a tiny bit of gravel near Rosseau, but otherwise the road is all clear.
5. Highway 520
Starting in the scenic village of Burk’s Falls, and right around the corner from the unique ’Screaming Heads’ sculptures and Midlothian Castle, Highway 520 is packed with vistas. Don’t forget to stop in beautiful Magnetawan for a snack.
4. Highway 35
If the road trip can avoid long weekends when others are travelling to and from Algonquin Park and traffic volume is a little busier, this windy roller-coaster of a road will whip riders around lakes, plunge them through deep rockcuts and all the way to the top of Dorset’s Lookout Tower where bikers can survey the road that’s just been ridden. This is a connector to the Lake of Bays area and the charming village of Dwight.
3. Highway 141
A connector between the villages of Rosseau in Seguin Township and Windermere, Muskoka, this route features fresher pavement, long sweepers, descending radius corners and probably the most iconic turn in the region, some would say in all of Ontario at Bent River. Riders should make sure they give themselves the time to enjoy this road, and have the camera or smartphone ready.
2. Highway 522
At the northern tip of the Explorers’ Edge region, this quiet road in the Loring-Restoule area is likely one of the region’s best kept secrets and is backcountry touring at its finest.
Riders will need to take Highway 69 north of Parry Sound, but once off the highway, Explorers’ Edge calls the ride ‘pure bliss’ all the way to Trout Creek in the Almaguin Highlands. Long sweepers with gentle rising and falling hills, plenty of lakes and a little waterfall halfway through the ride are just part of the reason this road rocks. Watch for wildlife, and take it easy on the first 30k, which is chip-tar which is in good condition, but a little rougher on the tires.
1. Highway 60 through Algonquin Park
There’s probably nothing more blissful than a tour through the Canada’s oldest provincial park. The pavement is great and there are plenty of places to stop and take a break. Bikers should check out Lake of Two Rivers for a great little beach and stop in at the Visitor Information Center.
There you have it, the ‘Top 10 Roads’ info is also useful for riders who may not have the time to do an entire loop, but want to experience an epic ride all the same.
“By sending out a local rider to check on the state of the ‘Top 10 Roads’ each year, we hope to give motorcyclists up-to-date intel on the best touring routes in the province,” the Executive Director of Explorers’ Edge explains.
For more information on motorsports touring in Explorers’ Edge, visit the website.