VIDEO: The Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance

A First-Hand Account of Ontario's Rockstar Trails

The massive EOTA trails have something for everyone—and only a couple of hours from both Toronto and Ottawa.



Editor's Note: For years we've known about the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance, and recently had a chance to catch up with the people who manage these incredible trails at the Discover ATVing Ontario show at Bass Pro Mills. But until seeing Graham Adams' epic video here, we didn't know first hand just how awesome, and vast, these trails really are. For information on your next ATV touring destination, visit www.thetrail.ca. You won't regret it.

On August 9 I drove three and a half hours down to Tweed, Ontario to ride the Eastern Ontario Trails. Arrived in Tweed Saturday evening and stayed at the Park Place Motel for the night, because we were leaving for the trails with the EOTA club members early Sunday morning. At 10 am Sunday I met the club at the boat launch in Tweed, where we unloaded our bikes and set off down the old rail trail. As we got out of the town of Tweed, I realized how nice the trails were. This being my first time riding these trails, I realized how unique this trail system was. It seemed like every corner was something new to discover. One minute you’re riding through thick forest, then all of sudden you’re riding beside wide-open farmers fields, lakes and over rivers.

Our mission that day was too do over 85-95 km on the trail. The loop we were riding was known as the Hastings loop, which was just a tiny sliver of the 1400-km EOTA trail system. The trail was situated on an old railway bed, so it consisted of a nice flat easy riding gravel topped trail and it seemed like it never ended. There were cool bridges over other crossing trails as well, which was something I have never seen before. The trails were very well signed and marked, so it was impossible to get lost or turned around if you didn’t know the area. At certain rest areas there was also small shelters, built to help get riders out of the rain or for shade, which was a brilliant addition to the trail.

WS of bikers going under bridge    

We stopped in a few places, such as the picnic area just outside of Tweed alongside a nice lake and a farm, where we were greeted by a herd of curious cows just off the trail wondering what we were up to. After that we stopped at the Bonarlaw Junction, where we took a water break; this area was an old train junction where many tracks met and crossed. The next stop we made was very different and very unique to the area. It was an old open pit mine called the Marmoraton. This mine was opened in 1955 to extract iron ore pellets from its rich mineral rock. The mine, massive in size, suddenly filed up with water after the workers struck an underground stream or spring, and today it's classified as a small lake.  Very clear blue water and cool rock cliffs from the mines make this a great attraction to see. The water is also over 500 feet deep, and what you can see is just a tip of the iceberg from the mine.

CU of map Tweed and bonarlaw

 

We passed through many small towns, where you could gas up, or stop for a bite to eat. It seemed like you could just keep riding your four wheeler forever, which for an avid rider like myself this trail system is a dream come true. Our first stop was in a small town called Stirling, which we decided to get something to eat. We stopped at a nice restaurant called Jim’s located in downtown Stirling. We all had pizza and took a nice break before we headed out again to make our way back to Tweed. 

over the bridge

 

The unique part of these trails is that they are so vast, they stretch all over eastern Ontario. All the way west from Havelock to Sharbot Lake, or South from Corbyville (Just north of Belleville) to Bancroft and many other trails in between. If you live near any of the big cities like Toronto or Ottawa, you are less than two hours from being unloaded and on the trails, which is awesome especially since with a trail system this big you will never hit the same trail twice. If you are into easy riding trails and long distances, the rail trail is an awesome ride. If you like the little more extreme riding, the EOTA also has those trails as well. They have a bit of everything and they are an awesome trail system to ride. For more information on the trail, visit www.thetrail.ca or join their facebook page at www.facebook.com/thetraildotca

Underneath bike

 

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