Best ATV Trails in Ontario
ATVing in Ontario is governed by a strict, but not prohibitive set of guidelines that promote equal measures of adventure and safety. In fact, there are upwards of 6,000 amazing kilometres of maintained ATV trails in Ontario, so whether you want a casual family ride or a challenging trek, there are no shortages of scenic opportunities for all types of quads and riders.
Here’s a list of the best.
Northern Ontario’s Mattawa area is by far one of the most ATV friendly places in the province. The region has recently passed legislation which permits quad users to drive from their accommodations to the 300 kms of breathtaking paths, so no more loading your machine onto a trailer to drive a couple clicks.
Situated between the small and scenic Laurentian Mountains and Algonquin Highlands, and flanked by the Ottawa and Mattawa River, Mattawa region is an ATVer’s paradise. From winding, sunny speckled paths, to refreshing stretches along lakes and rivers, to rocky climbs, or muddy treks, there’s something for every style and skill of rider.
Accommodations and places to fuel up abound, so heed the call of this beautiful back country!
Maintained by the Haliburton ATV Association, you can spend hours exploring the hundreds of sublime landscapes and shores. The terrain varies greatly from trail to trail, making it incredibly exciting, but also incredibly challenging. We’re talking dense and deep woods. We’re talking winch worthy trails. We’re talking hiring a guide or touring with a group if you’re a novice rider and/or it’s your first time navigating these paths.
Some of the most popular trails in this region include the Five Points Trail system, the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park, and the Victoria Rail Trail. Aside from seemingly endless supply of adventure and beauty, one of the most attractive aspects of Haliburton ATVing is that its trails hook up with surrounding networks including trails in the Kawarthas, Muskoka, Peterborough and Madawaska. If you’re looking on an extended experience, this is your pick.
Here is one of the best all-season ATV trails in Ontario. Maintained by the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance, this 156 km jaunt runs along an old railway line joining Hastings County and boasts tons of places to hop on or get off. Offering a meandering ride and tons of attractions including the Trent Canal system, ghost towns, waterfalls, and the historic Hogan’s Hotel, this is our number one pick for novice riders and/or families.
Over 400kms of premium trails grace this pristine stretch of unblemished Northern Ontario Wilderness. It’s more than a ride: towering rock escarpments, rushing rivers, serene lakes and changing forests allow visitors to witness nature at its most life affirming.
While the trails are extensive and varied enough to allow for a five day ride, they have a looped design that allows riders to cut out and reach amenities in just twenty minutes if need be.
Contact ATVO to get your permit.
Georgian Bay/Parry Sound Trails
Get a glimpse of the largest freshwater archipelago in the world. From the vantage of your quad, you’ll tour through wind stripped pines, international ports, rocky shores and popular waterways – all set in the backdrop of the 2.5 million year old Canadian Shield.
Since Parry Sound is located less than two hours north of Toronto and is an all-season tourist destination, this system of trails lends itself to people wanting to explore both the natural, historical and cultural nuances of this breathtaking landscape.
Here’s an ATV experience designed for day-trippers from Toronto. The York/Durham region is less than an hour from Ontario’s capital and is home to Ganaraska Forest – the largest forest in South-Eastern Ontario. Over 300kms of steady, maintained trails wind through this serene escape making it ideal for families and novice riders. Just keep in mind ATV use is only allowed in the West and East forest.
And yes, the passes are a necessity!
Keeping ATV trails maintained and environmentally friendly takes work and costs money, so before you head out, make sure you’ve purchased your ride pass from the organization that cares for the trail. It’s a small cost for months of enjoyment and a lifetime of memories in a province with some of the most stunning vistas on the planet.