Motorcyclists travel up to Canada to embrace a special part of the land known as the “Cottage Country”. It’s located a couple hours from both Toronto and Ottawa in the gorgeous Canadian and each riding season experts check the condition of their Top 10 Roads list known as the “Ride the Edge”.
In the wilderness north of Toronto, any routes that have not been cleared of winter debris or have excessive potholes since the previous year are nixed from the list and checked again the next year. James Murphy, executive director of Explorers’ Edge, is a regional tourism promoter who spreads the word about this unique service in Ontario. Too frequently, motorcyclists plan ideal routes for months beforehand only to arrive at their destination disappointed by lackluster road conditions. The hearty crew in Canada works hard to ensure this does not happen to riders that head in their direction.
“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 both day trips and extended rides,” said Murphy. “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. 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. And 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.”
Each of the routes are selected for the optimum experience in spectacular scenery, rolling hills, and those tight twisties.
The Top 10 Roads in the Explorers’ Edge region of Ontario for 2015 are:
10. Tally-Ho Swords Road
It’s a bit short compared to other recommended roads, but you won’t be disappointed. The pavement is beautiful, traffic is light, and it makes for a escape from the major highways on your 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. As picturesque as it gets.
9. Ravenscliffe Road
While it’s tough to ride the full length of this road without a smile on your 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 has some sand and frost heaves.. But if none of that bothers you, you’ve gotta ride this road. This is a connector between Sprucedale and Huntsville, Ontario.
8. Muskoka Road #3 – Aspdin Road
A quick connector between the village of Rosseau (where you’re likely to see bikes parked outside Crossroads Restaurant) and Huntsville, Muskoka, locals know to keep their speed down in the tight corners here. You’ll see plenty of pine groves along the way too.
7. Muskoka Beach Road
Connecting the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, 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. (Just take it easy in the fall when leaves can make the surface a little slick.)
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 you’re riding a ridge between two lakes on what is the most technical road in the region – best for sport touring bikes. 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 you can avoid long weekends (when folks are travelling to and from Algonquin Park and volume is a little busier), this windy roller-coaster of a road will whip you around lakes, plunge you through deep rockcuts and take you all the way to the top of Dorset’s Lookout Tower where you can survey the road you just covered. 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 – maybe in all of Ontario (at Bent River). Make sure you give yourself the time to enjoy this road, and have your camera ready.
2. Highway 522
This quiet road in the Loring-Restoule area (at the northern tip of the Explorers’ Edge region) is likely one of our best kept secrets, and is backcountry touring at it’s finest. You’ll need to take Highway 69 north of Parry Sound, but once you turn off, it’s 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 (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, there are plenty of places to stop and take a break (check out Lake of Two Rivers for a great little beach and stop in at the Visitor Information Centre).
For the most up-to-date information on motorcycle touring, visit: www.RideTheEdge.ca.