Highway 502 has been re-opened, we were re-posting a notice from earlier today - sorry for the confusion.
Winter inspires a different breed of adventurer. The kind who are not easily detered by the cold, icy grips of mother nature. Instead of seeing snow as a reason to stay inside, modern day explorers see the untouched wilderness of Northeastern Ontario as it was seen 400 years ago by the voyageurs.
A group of gallant winter voyageurs have resolved to explore the historic route by snowmobile. The crew will venture from Ottawa Valley to Temiskaming Shores by way of Mattawa, just as Samuel De Champlain did in the early 1600's as he plotted canoe routes west in search of trade opportunities. Many of the areas snowmobile trails are smoother than the waters that voyageurs would have explored so long ago.
At each day’s end, winter voyageurs will experience the modern hospitality of unique accommodations along the trail. Best of all, they will not have to ‘live off the land’ as did the original voyageurs. Hearty meals will be served by the area's welcoming restaurants, and will fuel them for each new day.
The Winter Voyageurs
John Arkwright – Writer for Supertrax Media
Melissa Marquardt – Ottawa Valley Tourist Association
Terry Vaudry – Snow Country Snowmobile Association
Bill Ramsay – Tri Town Snow Travellers
Some may already be flirting with the thought of summer months. Sipping on drinks, enjoying warm rays by the pool or at the beach. However, let's not forget that some of the best riding to be had in Northeastern Ontario happens between February and mid-March. Where the weather is mild and easy on your machine, the trails are well groomed and our local accommodations are more than happy to see you walk through the door. Below is a quick list and map preview on some top snowmobile tours available within Northeastern Ontario. Let's get you riding in the north.
The Abitibi Canyon is famous for its big hills and deep ravines. The scenery is mind blowing and it is said to hold some of the best powder riding in Canada. Once there, forget trail riding of any kind. There is no structured riding, not a trail in sight. It's just you, your machine, a heavy amount of snow, steep hills and a heck of a lot of fun.
With the good news received recently, snowmobilers should think seriously about including a trip to the Ottawa Valley in their snowmobiling plans for this winter. Ontario snowmobiling in that region takes a big step forward this winter thanks to a $230,000 tourism development investment in improvements for many of the trails you may ride.
The Snow Country Snowmobile Association of OFSC District 6 is undertaking 11 projects that include staging area signage, plus map boards and signs for TOP A & B, the RAP Tour trails that run through Snow Country.
Anchored by Pembroke and Renfrew in the east and Haliburton to the west, OFSC District 6 also runs along the Ottawa River behind Algonquin Park, the RAP route connecting to Mattawa and North Bay, and a main gateway to Northern Ontario. A renown snowmobile destination thanks to its great trails, varied terrain and good snow conditions, Snow Country can be accessed out of Haliburton via TOP B through Algonquin Park to Whitney and then along the beautiful Madawaska River to Barry’s Bay and points east. Riders out of the Bancroft area can also connect to TOP B at Whitney. From Ottawa and east, TOP A is the primary northbound route to Snow Country.
Besides the RAP Tour, Snow Country offers four other exciting snowmobile tours:
- Voyageur Route (350 km, 1-2 days)
- Madawaska Highlands Loop (180 k, 1 day)
- Round Bonnechere Loop (230 km, 1 day)
- Calabogie Highlands Loop (260 km, 1 day)
Popular staging hotels in the Ottawa Valley include the Best Western Renfrew, Best Western Pembroke, Sands on Golden Lake Resort and Spectacle Lake Lodge, near Barry’s Bay. So whether you’re launching your RAP Tour from Snow Country or riding day loops out of one of the region’s many snowmobile friendly lodgings, you can’t go wrong with a winter visit to the Ottawa Valley. Snow Country’s 12 snowmobile clubs will make you feel more than welcome!
Snowmobiling Tourism Contacts:
- Go Ride Ontario!
- Haliburton Highlands to Ottawa Valley Region
- Haliburton Highlands
- Ottawa Valley
Contributing partners for this Ontario snowmobiling site about great Ontario snowmobile trails and snowmobile conditions include: Intrepid Snowmobiler, Murphy Insurance, Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Ontario Tourism, Snow Goer Media, Supertrax Media.
Snowmobile conditions in French River, Ontario could not be more perfect this winter. Cold temperatures, lots of snow and miles of groomed trails are calling you...A legendary snowmobile adventure awaits!
Get out and ride the trails in Northeastern Ontario! With thousands of well groomed trails stretching across some of the most spectacular winter landscapes in Ontario, the only word that comes to mind is - Legendary...
If you're looking for a cozy winter retreat, look no further than Presqu'ile Cottages in French River's Ranger Bay. This fully equipped four-season resort is a winter paradise for fun family vacations, intimate couple's getaways or bonding weekends with friends!
Offering one, two and three bedroom modern housekeeping cottages that sleep up to six guests, all cottages are equipped with cable TV, CD players, BBQ's, microwaves, refrigerators, stoves and electric heating. The resort also offers a recreation room complete with a pool table, shuffleboard, a big screen TV with cable, card tables, exercise equipment and a full Laundromat to dry-up wet mittens and socks after a day spent playing in the snow.
For fun family retreats, the resort boasts a full winter recreational playground! Glide amidst snow-covered pines on their cross-country ski trails, take a snowshoeing expedition, or practice your hockey or figure skating skills on the skating rink. For the adventurous, feel exhilarated as you race down their downhill slide on a snowboard, toboggan or crazy carpet!
For a relaxing and intimate couple's getaway, take a walk, hand-in-hand, enjoying the crisp air and breathtaking scenery of the French River area or unwind in one of their fully equipped housekeeping cottages with a warm blanket and a good book.
If good fishing is what you're after, take advantage of Presqu'ile Cottage's ice hut rentals and fish in warmth and style! Enjoy a nice piping cup of coffee as you go after your next big catch!
If adrenaline spiking outdoor adventure and fresh air is more your speed, take a scenic snowmobile ride through groomed trails and across the new suspension snowmobile bridge along Hwy 69. After a long day of riding, warm up frosty noses and fingers by enjoying a relaxing wood burning sauna.
Getaway this winter and get outdoors at Presqu'ile Cottages! Your host, Brad Oldham, will ensure you make the French River your new winter vacation destination!
For more information on winter activities is Northeastern Ontario, click here.
Where can you go Motorcross Racing, Mountain Biking, Horse Riding and Snowmobiling?
At the Charleson Recreation Area in Atikokan, Ontario. The Charleson Recreation Area (CRA), often called the Charleson Pits, is located in Atikokan, halfway between Fort Frances and Thunder Bay. It takes its name from the original Canadian Charleson Iron Mine (a subsidiary of Charleson Iron Mining Co. of Minnesota), which operated sporadically in Atikokan from 1958-64 in the region of what is now the hub of the CRA, the Sno-Ho chalet.
The CRA committee formed in 2005 in an effort to consolidate the different users of the Charleson area. Amazingly, the users include snowmobilers, motocrossers, 4-wheelers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, Ride for Sight, canoeists, anglers, hikers, picnickers, snowshoers, skiers and more. The area has grown into an awesome multi-use recreational area that is improving each year.
Horse riders get together and camp for the weekend, using the trails and water in the day time and relaxing in the evening. For campers there are 9 high ties, and 8 permanent pens are now available on site to keep your horse in, as well as permanent washrooms with running water. To get an idea of how both the horses and riders enjoy the trails, visit the Equine Riders Horse Club Image Gallery.
The Atikokan Motorcross Club was one of the first users at the Charleson Recreation area. The AMX has 2 race tracks; a fenced in mini track for 50cc bikes and quads for the up and coming rider as well as a more challenging larger track with a 24 position starting gate with lights. The AMX race tracks are open to the public except during race weekends. The AMX is part of the Northern Ontario mx series of which there are 8 races held in the region.
The old roads, trails and single track mountain bike trails in the Charleson Recreation area make it perfect for mountain biking. The Airport trail area is a combination of old roads, double track and single track. They are mostly accessed off the Steep Rock Mine Road (“the paved road”) or the Steep Rock Landing Rd. Trails range from relatively easy (Mirkwood, Evinrude, Bobsled) to more technical single track (D’yer Mak’er, Over the Hills) to short but steep downhills (Cronk’s Crash, Wipeout, Mikey’s). While all trails are open to mountain bikers, only some are open to horse riders. You can download a map of the mountain bike trails (as well as other trails) to see which trails are accessible to whom. Try the Steep Rock Loop or the Pal Lake Lookout Trail for a less technical ride with awesome views.
The Atikokan Mudslingers use the area for mudflings. Water is added to the reddish soil of the Charleson Recreation Area to make a real nice mudpile. The Mud Track, the only one in Northwest Ontario, is 300 feet long. The Atikokan Mudslingers 4x4 club holds an annual Mudfling. In 2010, they had 40 trucks and 63 drivers, and just over 1800 spectators over the weekend.
There are snowshoe trails that are accessible across from the Charleson sign and also at the bottom of the hill. The South Don Park Loop system has a variety of trails that interconnect over various terrain and totals about 5km. What out for the Lookout points that over look the town. It also links up with the Bike trail system around the Airport. The North trail system makes a loop that takes you to Pal Lake, over to Pete Lake and back to the Minnow Pond and is just over 10km.
The Bow to Stern Canoe Association uses the area for canoe races. The Atikokan Sno-Ho Club uses the area for snowmobiling and for snowmobiling events that are based from the Sno-Ho Chalet in the Charleson Recreation Area. There is also an annual Ride for Sight at the CRA.
All in all, the Charleson Recreation Area truly has something for everyone all year round. Check them out!
Go snowmobiling in Ontario without the crowds!
There are literally thousands of miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Ontario, Canada. The secluded snowmobile trails make Sunset Country a great destination for your next winter snowmobile vacation. The trails are maintained by volunteer snowmobile clubs and run mostly across lakes and through the forests. Town loops ensure you can access the trail system from any town or city. The best part about our snowmobile trails is the fact there is no congestion and great riding conditions await you. Wide and well-marked trails ensure safety and enjoyment for riders of all levels of experience. The key is to have fun and you do this by dressing warm, staying on the trail and obey the regulations. This includes buying a local trail permit from the club in the area you'll be riding. After a fun-filled day on the trails stay at one of our winter resorts, hotels, motels or B&Bs and relax in a winter wonderland. Enjoy good times with your friends and have a warm beverage by the fireplace.
Make it a winter family vacation!
Children will love snowmobiling with you. After the snowmobiling is over, the kids can enjoying making snowmen, ice fishing or just running around have fun in the snow. Snowmobiling really is fun for people of all ages.
Sunset Country is in OFSC District 17. The OFSC maintain an interactive trail guide map which show which trails are open and ready for snowmobiling. For more information on the Snowmobile Trails in Northwest Ontario visit the Ontario Travel Winter website or NWOSTA. Visit www.snowontario.ca for winter outfitters and accommodations in Sunset Country.
Come for a Weekend Visit - Yes, in the Winter!
No we're not kidding! Winter is a great time of year for a short getaway to Ontario. The cities and towns in the region have some great accommodations and there are many fun activities that you can do. Winter is one of the best times of year to play outside and your getaway weekend can include a bundle of different activities. Why not consider:
- A Ski/Shop Combo - try our ski trails and enjoy some great shopping and dining!
- Snowmobile Touring - visit a couple of communities over a weekend on your sled!
- Ice fishing and New Year's Celebration - party at night, catch fish during the day!
- Second Honeymoon - rent a honeymoon suite and re-connect!
Choose from downhill skiing, snowmboarding or cross-country skiing. Most communities have cross country skiing and Dryden and Kenora have downhill skiing/snowboarding as well. The Dryden Ski Club offers both cross-country and alpine skiing as well as snowboarding. The Club is located 15 km north of Dryden and is fully equipped with all the gear you will need to Snowboard, downhill and cross country ski. Nestled at the bottom of the hill is the Chalet where you can grab that cup of hot chocolate, enjoy a snack and take a break while watching the winter enthusiasts. For more information on the hours and fees contact 807-937-4265. Take a break from skiing and head into town to do a little shopping, whether it is for clothes, souvenirs or that something special. For a small city, Dryden has quite a few good shops to choose from. The Mount Evergreen Ski Club in Kenora also has a lot to offer. Operating since 1946, the Club is well run and hills are well groomed. It has many runs including 5 black diamond runs, a Terrain Park and even has a Magic Carpet lift for the little ones or beginners. There are over 20 km of beautiful cross country ski trails that offer both classic and skate skiers the chance to experience the magnificent Canadian Boreal Forest. All trails are groomed for classic skiing and almost 7 km of trails also accommodate skate skiing. Kenora has many year-round shops that are filled with goodies. From the many clothing stores, to souvenirs shops to that one-of-a-kind store, you can find what you are looking for in Kenora. A little retail therapy after a long day at the ski hill is just what everyone needs in the winter.
Who says you have to stay in the same community? Tour Northwest Ontario by sled and you'll see some of the best scenery around. Cross many frozen lakes and cut through trails in the boreal forest. These aren't crowded trails either, enjoy the remote trails in peace. NWOSTA (Northwestern Ontario Snowmobile Trail Association) maintains over 770km of A (top) trail and over 1600km of club trails. That's a lot of wilderness to explore! NWOSTA covers a large geographical area: From Kashabowie in the east then west to Atikokan; Mine Center; Fort Frances; Emo and Rainy River; Atikokan south to the USA and north to Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, and Vermilion Bay. You can go further north to Ear Falls and Red Lake or west to Kenora to connect to Manitoba. The trail circles south through Sioux Narrows, and Nester Falls to Rainy River or Emo and another link to the USA. There are many winter tour operators willing to accommodate you on your tour around Sunset Country.
Ice fishing and Special Occasion Celebration:
Catch plenty of fish in the day and party during the evening. Whether it is New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day or Mardi Gras, who doesn't like a evening out after a day of ice fishing. Make it a weekend. Ice fishing is very popular with the locals, so join them out on the lake and find out why they like ice fishing so much. Fish for walleye, lake trout, northern pike, and crappie.
Rent a secluded cabin and enjoy a second (or first!) honeymoon. Spend the day doing outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or ice fishing or just hole up inside the cozy cabin. Light a fire and cuddle up by the fireplace. A nice quiet weekend at the lake is just what every couple needs once in a while.
These are just a few ideas of what you can do on a two or three day hiatus (winter vacation) in Sunset Country. In addition to hotel and motels accommodations, some resorts are open during the winter and you can rent a cabin in the woods! Local travel information centres have detailed information on activities and attractions in their community.