updated on: August 4, 2016
The Top 30 Motorcycle Roads In Ontario
How Many Have You Ridden?
Occasionally, we hear that some of the best riding in Ontario is south of the border, but we know from experience that riders who say that haven't ridden much of our massive province. The truth is that Ontario's riding is just as good as the rest of the world's - it's just a bit more spread out. Mike Jacobs has made it his business to ride every paved surface in the province, and here, after five years of searching is the best of them.
These roads are chosen because they have some truly outstanding element, or combination thereof. They have been ranked based on the following five criteria:
- Scenery - Are there spectacular views, or prime examples of iconic, breathtaking scenery?
- Road Quality - What kind of condition is the road in? What is the surface treatment? Is the surface generally free of debris, potholes, frost heaves, tar strips and/or sand and gravel?
- Technical Quality - Does the road have the kind of curves that make a rider come alive? Are there elevation changes that make us feel like we’re hitting the drop on a roller-coaster? Or is it straight and flat?
- Crowds - Is the road high traffic, or the quietest country backroad? Is it mostly cottagers or is it a transport corridor?
- The Intangibles - Does it have some undefinable feature... something that doesn’t fall into the other four categories, but makes the route a must-see riding destination?
Here are the Top 30 roads in Ontario, to our knowledge, as of August 20th, 2013:
- Centennial Lake Road/Highway 508 - If you don’t know, then now you know. In easy contention for the best road in the province, the pavement isn’t new or perfect, but it’s OK, and you won’t even notice. Long rockcuts, elevation changes and unending twisties. Region: Ontario’s Highlands
- Highway 64 from Sturgeon Falls to Marten River - There are few roads that are so perfectly balanced in scenery, road quality and entertainment value, that we really wish Highway 64 went on for a lot longer than it does. Tiny cottages on quiet lakes, tons of twisties, and a healthy dose of aesthetically pleasing rocks, lakes and trees. Ride it. Region: Northeastern Ontario
- Highway 141 - Winding around Lake Rosseau, this road is in a dead heat with Highway 129, and County Road 12 for pure scenic wonder. A cliff on one side, and a lake on the other, and no straight lines. Region: Explorers’ Edge
- County Road 56/Northey’s Bay Road - Duuuuuuude. Dude. DUDE. So good. Just do it. Fresh pavement in parts, you’ll never get out of third. Some of you will never get out of second. Region: Kawarthas and Northumberland
- Highway 129 from Thessalon to Chapleau - One of my favourite roads in the province. Starts in the south with crazy long sweepers, and then gets into a very tight series of ups and downs and side to sides reminiscent of the Tail of the Dragon (same highway number even!) Region: Algoma Country
- Highway 507/Buckhorn Road - Probably one of the best known riding roads in the province, which can be a problem too. Best to enjoy this road during the week. Region: Kawarthas and Northumberland
- Lakeshore Road/County Road 42 - Riding right on the waterfront, this road takes you to what is probably one of the finest beaches in Ontario, Turkey Point. Region: Ontario’s Southwest
- Grey Road 1 - Curving around the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay, this long sweeper makes up for all the straight and flat going on around it. Region: Bruce Grey Simcoe
- Trans Canada Highway 17 from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie - Probably the most continuously epic scenery in all of Ontario. The mountains and valleys around Marathon are the perfect sunset ride, and the ride from Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie beats anything in the province for sheer scenic awe. And it’s not straight and flat, either. Region: Northwest Ontario and Algoma Country
- Highway 556 to Searchmont - So good. Twisty - a bit more than your average cruising road, but not a pure sport road. More than a few tar strips make it a little sketchy in spots, but the elevation changes and cliffs that frame much of the ride make up for it. Don't make the trek all the way to Ranger Lake though. Things get a bit rough after the turnoff for Searchmont. Region: Algoma Country
- Highway 66 from Matachewan - Fresh blacktop, and basically a paved logging road. This road makes no sense in the best way possible. Lookout for moose around dusk! Region: Northeastern Ontario
- Highway 71, South of Kenora - A little straight and flat in the south, but delightfully winding in the north. A perfect cruiser road. Region: Northwest Ontario
- Highway 599 to Pickle Lake - Not for road quality, but mainly for the fact that this is as far north as you can go on paved surfaces in Ontario. Region: Northwest Ontario
- Trans Canada Highway 11 From Nipigon to Greenstone - Enclosed in the embrace of the billion year old Pijitawabik Pallisades, it’s hard to deny the majesty of this road. Following the shores of Lake Helen, with the picturesque mission church right at the start of the ride (and cheap gas on the reserve!) this is hard to beat for scenic value. Region: Northwest Ontario
- Highway 35 - Fresh pavement, massive sweepers, picturesque lakes, rockcuts, and old growth trees make this a stunner. Now, we know that this description could fit with about 75% of the roads in Ontario, but this one stands out. Maybe it’s just how well everything fits together here. Region: Explorers' Edge
- Highway 520 From Burk’s Falls to the Bunny Trail - Sweepers change into switchbacks, change into...well, a bunny trail that hops and bounds in every direction. Region: Explorers' Edge
- Highway 118 - A pure, easy cruising, cottage country road. You might want to avoid the part closer to the 400 on weekends, if you like your roads wide open. Region: Explorers' Edge and Ontario’s Highlands
- Highway 637 to Killarney - Ok, so the pavement is in rough shape here. But the scenery is impeccable, with rose coloured quartzite rockcuts and big ole’ lakes popping in here and there. It’s not super technical but the scenic payoffs at Lake George and Killarney are stellar. Region: Northeastern Ontario
- Highway 522 - A perfect cruising road that’s not too technical, but not straight and flat. It’s a simple northern road, done nicely. The bridge at the narrows is just right, and the small valleys offer views of majestic northern forests. Region: Explorers' Edge
- Mortimer Point Road - A quiet cottage country backroad just north of Bala, this short stretch of asphalt was clearly built with no concern for the shortest point between A and B. The sweeper that pulls you down into Lake Muskoka, before sling-shotting out the other side, is good for your soul. Region: Explorers' Edge
- Southwood Road/County Road 13 - Probably best known for being the most enjoyable escape route from Highway 400, Southwood is probably the closest thing to a proper motorcycle road within a day’s ride of the GTA. (Forks of the Credit, sorry about those speedbumps, noise laws and crowds.) Region: Explorers' Edge
- County Road 4/Essonville Line - Some tight winding curves up, around, and eventually through a small mountain give way to a high view of the road ahead. Pavement is OK, but the ride is tops. Region: Ontario’s Highlands
- Niagara Parkway - OK, it’s a bit crowded in summer, but not without good cause. This is good asphalt, with great views, and pretty as all heck. Oh, and there’s also Niagara Falls. Region: Niagara Canada
- Opeongo Line - Riding out of Barry’s Bay, you’ve got so many choices for some of the best twisties in the province, but this is likely the most popular for it’s sheer length. You’ll swear it’s not Ontario (if you’re one of those unfortunate souls who thinks there’s nowhere to ride in Ontario.) Region: Ontario’s Highlands
- County Road 36/Bollingbroke Road - A rock and roller, with a wooden railway bridge half-way through. Region: The Great Waterway
- Highway 41 - Fresh pavement, lots of elevation changes, and some great scenic lookouts make this a winner, especially since it’s one of the few big north-south roads in the area. Region: Ontario’s Highlands
- County Road 12 - A cliff and a lake with a road sandwiched in between. Might be the only road in Ontario with three hairpin turns on it. Region: The Great Waterway
- Long Sault Parkway - This is pure cruising territory. Formed when they flooded the St. Lawrence, this fresh pavement looks out over the river throughout the whole ride. Region: The Great Waterway
- Old Barry’s Bay Road - Another mind-bender, short and sweet. I’m not sure what’s going on in Combermere, but they can’t make a straight road within 50k of that place. Region: Ontario’s Highlands
- 1000 Islands Parkway - Possibly the most decadent ride in the province, it’s pretty straight, with only a few elevation changes, but it looks out over some pretty opulent scenery. Some of the most improbable cottages sit on islands in this channel. Region: The Great Waterway
Honourable Mention: Highway 2 - Forget the fact that this road used to be the main thoroughfare for Southern Ontario, this gets you off the godforsaken 401! Who cares if it’s straight. It takes you through nice towns and sometimes you can see the lake. Region: Kawarthas and Northumberland
Add comments below if you think that we’ve missed something!