updated on: September 14, 2016
Getting to Know the KATVA and HATVA Trails
Long on my bucket list of ATV trail systems to experience has sat the Kawartha Lakes ATV Association & Haliburton ATV Association. This year, I was finally able to check both off in one extravagant weekend of ATVing.
Early in the Spring, we start itching to plan a big ATV weekend for Canada Day Weekend. This year the stars aligned and, with the help of the President of the Kawartha Lakes ATV Association, Carolyn Richards, we were able to put KATVA and HATVA on the roster. HATVA’s Deep Woods Safari and KATVA’s Ride for Dad have been on my list of events to attend for a while, and while we were still not able to go to either of them this year, we were going to get our own private tour of these two great trail systems.
This cottage was nestled in the woods right on Kawartha Lakes ATV Associations trail system, just a stone’s throw away from the Victoria Rail Trail.
Upon arriving at our cottage destination, we unloaded our gear and machines and were welcomed with a care package from KATVA waiting for us on the table in the cottage. Along with some Kawartha Lakes ATV Association tumblers, key chains and other treasures were maps of both KATVA and HATVA’s trail systems and most importantly—trail passes.
We took a quick moment to compose ourselves after the long drive but we were anxious to get out on the trails immediately so we filled out our trail passes and familiarized ourselves with the map. One look at the map and we knew for certain, the first thing we needed to do was to tackle one of the red expert trails.
We would need to traverse a few green easy trails and a blue intermediate trail to get to the expert trail, but we knew the expert trail was going to set the tone for our weekend to determine where we stacked up on the experience level for the area (for the new riders reading this, we do not recommend heading directly to the expert level trails until you have reached that level of riding experience).
All geared up, we headed through the trails right from the parking lot of our cozy cottage and traversed a few loops before popping out onto the Victoria Rail Trail. The trail serves as an integral multiuse pathway joining many of the trails in the area together and allowing ATVs access to local towns for food, fuel, and accommodation.
Limbered up from a few loops, we headed directly to the closest expert trail to us, the 96! Not for the faint of heart, the 96 lived up to its expert rating. The 96 had tight narrow turns, off-canter riding, steep rocky inclines and of course—a bog. It was a tough go, but we felt we had set the bar high for the rest of the trip.
From the 96, we headed back to the Victoria Rail Trail, so we could follow it into Fenelon Falls to meet up with Carolyn Richards and some of the guides she had lined up to give us the grand tour over the course of the weekend. Along the VRT we met cyclists, ATVers, and walkers alike enjoying the multiuse trail.
The VRT was an easy level trail, as expected for a rail trail—flat, wide, and straight. However, it was a pleasant change of course from the challenging terrain we had just traversed on the expert trail—and it had beautiful views of the water.
We followed the well-signed route along the water into Fenelon Falls, across the locks and to That Place on Cameron. Parking alongside other ATVs already in the parking lot, we joined the KATVA crew on the patio for a gorgeous view of the marina, and a fantastic food to boot!
We laid plans for Friday morning to head out to the Haliburton ATV Association’s trails so we could check out Anson Mountain. The curfew on the VRT is 9pm, so we had to head back to our cottage so as not to disturb the cottage goers who back onto the VRT.
Cloudy skies turned to rain as we left the rail-trail into the bush and came out in Minden, Ontario. In Minden, we stopped for a trail-side lunch (and for a few people, to get fuel and find a rain poncho) before heading into HATVA’s trail leading to Anson Mountain. Like the 96, the Anson Mountain trail fell into the expert level. Steep rock climbs, tricky water crossings. Before long we crept along South Snake Lake and climbed to the lookout atop Anson Mountain. It was a good work-out for our arms, but well worth the trip!
We returned the way we went, sending our guides home out of the rain in Kinmount and continued on to explore the Austin Sawmill Heritage Project and all of the displays of the refurbished sawmill.
We were on such a roll that we headed out on a few more adventures of our own to round out the day—one of which involved the search for a bottle of Tobasco sauce to compliment the shepherd’s pie we had planned for dinner! Mission accomplished.
Saturday morning we met another group of guides at the Log Chateau Park near Fenelon Falls. This is a beautiful campsite and park located right on KATVA’s trail system. Log Chateau Park is a perfect place to stay and play if you are looking for accommodations while exploring what KATVA has to offer.
From there we headed East into the famed 5-Points section of the KATVA trail system. What a beautiful area to explore! Primarily comprised of intermediate trails, we toured through this well-marked area and marvelled at the GPS co-ordinates on each sign marker and how they coordinated with the printed map. It made this section very easy to navigate.