Northern Ontario
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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.


Town/CityDistanceElevationCategorized Climbs
ViewAlgonquin113 km1191 m3 Cat. 5 | 1 Cat. 4
ViewHorseshoe Valley97 km1021 m2 Cat.4 | 1 Cat.3


Map of Algonquin


StartLengthStart | End ElevationAvg.Mountain Name
cat 20.3 km 2.1 km 255 m | 344 m 89 m 4.2% Line 4 N
cat 52.6 km 4.7 km 187 m | 306 m 119 m 3.6% 10 Line N
cat 85.0 km 5.5 km 249 m | 374 m 125 m 2.3% Pro-Medonte Line 2


General Route Information:

  • Horseshoe Valley
  • Distance: 97 km
  • Elevation Gain: 1021 m
  • Washrooms: There are usually porta potties on site
  • Food on Route: Moonstone Market

Emergency Services:


This picturesque Northern Ontario route starts off very fast. It's pretty much all downhill for the first 17 km. The roads are decent quality, the traffic is low and you are protected by deep dark forest on each side of the road. There is a tricky little corner at the 7 km mark where you might think about braking as the corner is sharper than you think. I did a Horseshoe Centurion on this route one year and someone spun out at the bottom in the rain. I narrowly missed hitting the downed cyclist. It's a blind corner so please be careful. The fun all comes to an end when you turn left onto Ingram Rd. The road starts to tilt up, but the gradients are pretty shallow. You are following a road that runs alongside the Hwy. 400. Once you make a right turn onto Line 4 N the gradients start to increase as does your workload. You are now climbing up and over Hwy. 400. It's a category 4 climb that is 2.1 km in length. Once you are over the highway the roads becomes a bit prettier and bit more protected. The climbs comes to an end when you make a left turn onto Mt. St. Louis Rd. W. You are now treated to wonderful little 6 k section that is mostly downhill.

The climbing starts again with a left turn onto Line 3 N at the 32 km mark. You are still mostly protected on each side of the road by vegetation, but there are some working farms with open fields where the wind can howl on a windy day making for some punishing cycling. Once at the top of this 2 km climb the terrain will be lumpy for the next 6 km. A right hand turn onto a fairly busy Hwy 23 will have you falling into the valley below only to be followed by a climb that is 3 km long with a right turn onto 8 Line N. At the 50 km mark at the intersection of Moonstone Rd. E and 8 Line N is Moonstone Market. This is the only place to get water on the entire route so don't blow your chance. Fill up your bottles even if you don't think you have to. The left turn onto Moonstone, will have you, once again, screaming down a good sized hill. What fun!!! A right turn onto the dreaded 10 Line N will have you tackling the longest climb of the day.

The first climb on 10 Line N is a category 3 that is just shy of 5 km in length. The max grades are only 6.5% with an average gradient of 3.5%. It's a long and sustained climb on very quiet roads with decent tarmac. This road is full of climbs with hardly any flat sections anywhere to recuperate. Another big sting comes at the 65 km mark that is just over a km long but has max gradients into the double digits. There is a good sized downhill section that follows where deep set rollers block your way south. 10 Line N is up hill and down dale for its entire length. The final big climb of the day starts at the 85 km mark. It's a category 4 climb that is 5.7 km long. It has shallow max gradients and average grade of only 2.2%. It's not a difficult climb, but it does come right at the very end. Once you top out at the 90 km mark you only have 7 km to go on gently rolling terrain.

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