Northern Ontario
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NORTHERN ONTARIO

Northern Ontario There is no clear divide between Southern and Northern Ontario, so for the purpose of this site, I'm going to use Hwy. 89. The biggest climbs in Ontario are in the north, more specifically, on the slopes of the Blue Mountains near Collingwood. The big climbs in this area can reach gradients of up to 15% and are rated as category 3. If climbing is what you seek, Blue Mountain and Horseshoe Valley is where you want to be.

There are three starting locations to choose from: Blue Mountains, Horseshoe Valley and Algonquin Park to the north. Blue Mountain and Horseshoe will offer some long climbs on good roads. Algonquin, on the other hand, will offer long rollers with overall good elevation gain. Algonquin is situated in the true north set firmly in Northern Ontario's cottage country. The north offers solitude, good climbs and great scenery.

Algonquin also offers up the opportunity to view wildlife. It is not unusual to see moose or deer foraging on the side of the road. Please give these beautiful animals plenty of space and do not approach. I've actually been charged by a moose and, let me tell you, they are fast. Look from afar and pass with caution. Black bears and wolves also thrive in the park, although they tend to be solitary creatures that keep mainly to themselves.

NORTHERN ONTARIO CYCLING ROUTES

Town/CityDistance (km)Elevation Gain (m)Categorized Climbs
ViewAlgonquin Park113 km1191 m3 Cat. 5, 1 Cat. 4
View
View

ALGONQUIN 113 KM

Map of Algonquin

CATEGORIZED CLIMBS

Start PointLengthStart | End Elevation Total Elevation GainAvg. GradeMountain Name
cat 38.4 km 2.3 km 400 m | 456 m 56 m 2.4% Hwy. 60
cat 48.7 km 2.2 km 426 m | 471 m 45 m 2.0% Hwy. 60
cat 56.9 km 5.5 km 401 m | 471 m 70 m 1.3% Hwy. 60
cat 79.2 km 7.7 km 394 m | 489 m 95 m 1.2% Hwy. 60

ONTARIO CYCLING ROUTE

General Route Information:

  • Start Location: Algonquin Park, West Gate
  • Distance: 113 km
  • Elevation Gain: 1191 m
  • Washrooms: West Gate & East Gate parking lots
  • (There are also numerous trailhead vault toilets)
  • Food on Route: Portage Store, Lake of Two Rivers Store
  • Rating: 10/10
  • DOWNLOAD PDF CUE SHEET AND MAP

  • NOTE: THE DISTANCE FOR THIS ROUTE IS GATE
  • TO GATE TO GATE. ONE WAY DISTANCE, WITH NO
  • RETURN, IS 56.5 KM

Emergency Services:

  • Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare
    • Huntsville District Memorial Hospital | 705-789-0022
    • Bracebridge | South Muskoka Hospital | 705-645-4404

  • Independent Taxi | Huntsville | 705-789-9125
  • Al's Taxi | Huntsville | 705-789-2374
  • Huntsville Taxi | Huntsville | 705-789-8808

  • NOTE: IT'S APPROXIMATELY 50 KM FROM
  • HUNTSVILLE TO THE WEST GATE AND THEN
  • ANOTHER 56 KM TO CROSS THE PARK.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

Algonquin Park!!! What else do you need to know? Algonquin has become famous more for its backcountry lakes and rivers rather than the road that crosses it. That being said, the Hwy. 60 corridor, the road that goes from the West Gate to the East Gate, has become a great place to ride your bike. You'll cycle past pristine lakes, hardwood and evergreen forests, rivers, streams, bogs and perhaps even see some wildlife along the way. You'll start your journey at the West Gate, where a park permit can be purchased. Anytime you leave your car unattended you will have to display a park permit on your dashboard. You will cycle 56.5 km through the park to the East Gate, turn around and cycle all the way back to the West Gate. It's amazing how different the scenery looks on the return journey. It's like you're seeing everything for the first time.

It's not necessary to start cycling at the West Gate, you can start anywhere you like. There are many trail head parking lots on the Hwy. 60 corridor where you can park your car and start from there. Not everyone wants to cycle 113 km. Pick a starting point, choose the distance you want to cycle, go out half that distance, turn around and head back to your car. Some of the prettiest viewpoints can be seen in and around The Lake of Two Rivers. You can also cycle from the West Gate to East Gate, have your partner drive the same distance as support and then switch at the East Gate and the support driver can take their turn and cycle back. That's what myself and my wife do.

You will have to climb two category 5 climbs from the West Gate to the East Gate and one category 5 and one category 4 from the East Gate to the West Gate. If seeing some wildlife interests you, then cycle this route early in the spring, April to May, and your chances of seeing moose at the side of the road are very good. My record is nine moose in one traverse and back. Early in the day increases your likelihood of seeing any type of wildlife. Moose and deer come out of the bush in the spring to chew on the vegetation that has a high sodium content due to the winter salting operations. If you are very lucky you might even see a black beer, fox and whole host of other small mammals. Bird life is also varied and abundant in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Remember to leave the park as you found it. The only thing you should take is pictures and the only thing you should leave behind is some rubber from the tires of your bike. And please do not attempt to feed the wildlife. Feeding the wildlife only endangers the animals you feed. They will lose their fear of humans and approach other humans looking for food. This can lead to encounters that can have a detrimental effect to both humans and the animal.

You can find food and hydration at the Portage Store, which has great burgers and fries, and the Lake of Two Rivers Store, where you will find ice cream and basic food supplies. The road quality is good clear tarmac which has a small paved shoulder that offers some small degree of safety. This is a road that does see some traffic as it is still a road that is used by "non-park" going vehicles. The traffic is highest in the summer months, but these are also the months when the park has an air of "laid back vacation" to it. If you see a car parked on the side of the road chances are good the owner of that vehicle has spotted some wildlife. Get your camera ready.

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