I went away hunting for a week. When I left for my trip it was summertime, when I got back it was winter! The time for procrastinating was over; I’d been wanting to try at least one of the Go Tour Ontario ATV trips before this year was through, but other rides kept getting in the way. The Mattawa - Three Scenic Spots 100-km Ride had caught my eye while browsing the interactive touring tool. In fact, the Mattawa area boasted two rides in close proximity, so the goal was to try and jam both of them into one hastily planned trip. Both rides were on the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail system (VMUTS). One last ATV trip before the snow started flying for real!
Go Tour Ontario
The great part of the Go Tour Ontario site is that it takes care of all of the planning for you. You select your starting location, which ride you are planning to do, and where you want to start. You can choose the recommended route, places to stay, eat, and sights to take in, or you can customize the trip to suit your requirements.
We decided to customize our trip. It was very easy. We selected the Valois Motel & Restaurant as our first destination for breakfast, then straight to the trail. We chose to go clockwise, and to take in the Bird’s Eye View Lookout, the Mica Mine, followed by the Redbridge Lookout. We printed our itinerary and exported the track to our GPS. It doesn’t get much easier than that! We also grabbed the information for the Mattawa Mud Boggers 50-km Ride (just in case we had time to jam the second tour into the same trip).
Following our itinerary, we rolled into the Town of Mattawa Saturday morning at 9 am, and easily located the Valois Motel & Restaurant right on the highway. The Motel had ample parking for our trucks and trailers and was warm and cozy with a clear view of the Ottawa River. Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t the greatest, cloudy and damp, but it meant we had the whole restaurant to ourselves, for a few minutes anyway.
The restaurant was fast, and the food plentiful. The Valois Motel & Restaurant also offered motel rooms and cottages for ATVers of various group sizes to take advantage of, and there is access to the trail straight across from the parking lot. While enjoying our breakfast, we purchased our day passes for the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail system and grabbed our maps of the trail system – this was a one stop shop.
We could have jumped right onto the trail system from the parking lot of the restaurant, but we headed a short distance up the road to one of the trailhead parking areas, so as to not take up space since the restaurant was starting to get busy.
At the VMUTS trailhead, we unloaded, geared up and mounted our GPS units ready for action. The trails were well marked, and the markers corresponded to the map we’d received with our passes and the route we’d downloaded from the Go Tour Ontario website.
Our first stop was the Bird's Eye View. As previously mentioned, the weather was against us and the view was mostly of one tree and a lot of fog and mist, but we got the idea.
Get Your Kicks on Route 666
We quickly realized that we weren’t going to have time to take in both of the rides in their entirety so we made a slight adjustment to the Three Scenic Spots run, by adding the 666 advanced mud trail to it. Not for the faint of heart, the 666 delivered everything you would expect from a trail so aptly named, but it was a ton of fun. Most of the bad holes had bypasses to get around if you needed to, and we won’t lie and tell you that we didn’t use at least a few of the bypasses, but we tried them all.
The 666 took some time, but it was worth it, and it brought us back out to our original itinerary as our second stop was the Mica Mine. We had a couple of guests with us visiting from Saskatchewan. The mine blew them away.
Apparently, there aren’t nearly as many hills where they come from, and very few with large mines burrowed into them. The Purdy Mica Mine was discovered in 1941 by Justin Purdy, and had two short terms of operation during World War II. The mine is something to behold. Be sure to bring your flashlight with you to explore the deep reaches.
Outside the mine, we took advantage of a fire-pit, and made a small cooking fire to cook some sausages for lunch—luckily we had dry combustibles with us!
Lunch and exploring the mine had put us behind schedule, so it was time to make some tracks and high-tail it towards our final destination—the Redbridge Lookout. The remainder of the trail to our final lookout was wide bush-trails, overlooking an occasional beaver dam here and there, some large enough we had to stop and take a second look.
The Grand Finale
The Redbridge Lookout was worth saving for last. It had an incredible view, and luckily the fog and mist from the morning had, for the most part, burned off for the day, so we had a beautiful view for as far as they eye could see!
The last leg of the journey was on the easier side, a few steep inclines to travel down from the lookout but from there on out it was smooth sailing back to our starting point to load up and head down the road.
It was another great ATV adventure, and we were glad to get it done before the winter riding adventures start in Eastern Ontario. The Go Tour Ontario site made this adventure very easy to plan, and we look forward to trying some of the other ATV routes available next year for sure!