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19 Easy Weekend Getaways For Cyclists From Detroit

19 Easy Weekend Getaways For Cyclists From Detroit

Cyclists enjoy bucket-list trails and low-traffic roads in Ontario.

Discover outstanding biking just a few hours from Motor City

Leave after coffee, and you could be enjoying these road trip-worthy cycling routes and trail rides by early afternoon.



For Detroit area riders looking to escape the city for a short getaway, three regions not far from the border in Ontario offer spectacular cycling routes and mountain biking destinations within a half-day drive. These are our picks for the top road rides, recreational paths, and fat-tire trails in each.

Algoma Country

Framed by two mighty Great Lakes—Superior and Huron—and cradled by the ancient bedrock mountains of the Canadian Shield, Algoma Country in north central Ontario offers cyclists rugged scenery, challenging climbs, and thrilling descents.

Sault Ste. Marie—the only urban centre in this vast and wild country—serves as a convenient gateway for travellers from the U.S. and boasts some terrific recreational and trail riding of its own.

1. Road Routes

Male cyclist pedalling up a hill with a boat in background.
Hills and views—just two reasons St. Joseph Island is a cycling hot spot. Photo: @lortzphoto

Just 45 minutes east of Sault Ste. Marie, picturesque waterfront scenery and low-traffic coastal roads make St. Joseph Island one of the region’s most popular cycling destinations. Suggested routes include the 70-km pedal around the island’s perimeter, and the out-and-back ride to Shoal Island Lighthouse near Richards Landing. Back roads crisscross the island, allowing for alternate loops or hill challenges with sweeping views. On hot summer days, include a swim at Forbes Community Park in Hilton Beach or one of the island’s other fine sandy beaches.

Download a printable map here.

For ideas to extend your route and get help with detailed planning, visit the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail website.

2. Recreational Trails

In Sault Ste. Marie, the John Rowswell Hub Trail is a 15.5 mile (25-km) network of shared on-road and off-road multi-use path. Since the Hub Trail connects all areas of the city and showcases key cultural, historical and natural attractions, it’s a great way for visiting cyclists to see “the Soo” and meet local riders.

For an interactive trail map, trail guide, and audio tour, visit the Hub Trail website.

On the North Channel of Lake Huron, the town of Blind River maintains a 7.5 mile (12-km) multi-use trail network at the Boom Camp Trails. Three scenic loops visit striking lookouts and remote beaches.

Find a trail map here.

3. Mountain Biking Trails

Two cyclists overlooking a scenic view from top of King Mountain.
Jaw-dropping views reward a fall climb up King Mountain, Algoma Highlands. Photo: @janroubel

There’s no shortage of outstanding, year-round bike trails in and around Sault Ste. Marie. In the city’s north end, summer mountain bikers and winter fat bikers can hit an awesome network of more than 20 km of trails suitable for all skill levels at the Hiawatha Highlands Conservation Area. Waterfalls, hardwood forest, scenic lookouts, and bedrock ridge riding are just some of the highlights.

Find a trail map here.

Just 30 minutes to the north, Stokely Creek Lodge is the jumping off point for mountain and fat bikers exploring the 6 mile (10-km) single-track loop and cross-country trail network at King Mountain. With one of the highest elevations in the region, King Mountain rewards a steep singletrack climb with staggering vistas of the surrounding Algoma Highlands Conservancy and thrilling descents.

For loads more route and trail suggestions throughout Algoma, check out Ontario By Bike’s Algoma Country page here.

Grey County

Stretching inland along the Niagara Escarpment from the southern shores of Georgian Bay, Grey County is renowned among cyclists for its abundance of rolling hills, pastoral scenery, and quiet country roads. Plus, the locals have a flair for combining rewarding cycle routes with locally grown culinary delights and refreshments.

The waterfront towns of Blue Mountains, Thornbury, and Owen Sound offer amenities and accommodations, with brilliant trails and routes accessible from all three.

4. Road Routes

All you need to explore Grey County by bike is a sense of adventure, and this excellent new map guide published by Grey County Tourism. Choose from 16 of the region’s most popular cycling routes, with options for easy to difficult rides between 12 mile (20-km) and 99 mile (160-km).

Cyclists pedalling on a highway along a lake.
Spin alongside sparkling Lake Huron on the Waterfront Trail. Photo: @lortzphoto

Head into the hilly country of the Escarpment or Beaver River Valley for twisting, turning roads on pavement and gravel surfaces. Or stay alongside the shore of Georgian Bay for easier cruising with stunning views. For the ultimate tour of wineries, cideries and breweries by bike, combine the Owen Sound East, Beaver Valley, and Hanover loops to sample the goods at 10 local establishments.

5. Recreational Trails

Cyclists enjoying apple cider drinks at a outdoor table.
Celebrate post-ride with locally grown craft cider in Thornbury. Photo: @lortzphoto

Grey County offers riding along four converted railway beds. Linking the lakefront towns of Collingwood, Thornbury, and Meaford, the classic 21 mile (34-km) Georgian Trail serves up beautiful scenery with beaches, microbreweries, orchards, and trestles en route. The trail surface is hard-packed limestone suitable for hybrids, cyclocross, and touring bikes with appropriate tires.

Connect with the 27 mile (43-km) Tom Thompson Trail at Meaford for a longer ride including on- and off-road sections best suited to hybrid and mountain bikes.

6. Mountain Biking Trails

Three people riding mountain bikes on a rocky trail.
Chasing flow down the Groove trail at Blue Mountain Bike Park. Photo: @colingfield

Blue Mountain is home to world-class mountain biking, with Ontario’s largest lift-accessed bike park featuring terrain for all levels of rider. From easy, flowing singletrack atop the Escarpment to technical descents, there are 18.6 mile (30-km) of downhill and 6 mile (10-km) of cross-country riding to keep everyone busy. Trail pass options include access to trails with or without use of a summer gondola.

The Grey County Cycling Routes guide details seven other mountain bike trail networks offering free riding nearby.

For more road rides and trail suggestions throughout Grey County, check out Ontario By Bike’s regional guide here.

Bruce County

From lakeside cycling with unforgettable sunsets to picturesque rural hinterlands, riding in Bruce County offers something for everyone. In the south, pedal flat routes between charming communities alongside Lake Huron or explore quiet, leafy back roads through the agricultural lands of the interior.

Cyclists riding over a rolling hilly paved roadway.
Quiet country roads beckon cyclists in Bruce County. Photo: @lortzphoto

To the north, the Bruce Peninsula is a rolling landscape of limestone bluffs, remote beaches, lighthouses, and endless water views over Huron and Georgian Bay. But we’ve saved the best for last—Detroit-area riders can be cranking Bruce County in as little as three hours.

7. Road Routes

Instagram post showing cyclists under the Welcome to Sauble Beach sign
Pedal Ontario’s west coast on the Waterfront Trail. Photo: @lortzphoto

Choose from over a dozen fully mapped, scenic road routes that are perfect for day touring. Base yourself in the quaint town of Wiarton near the base of the Bruce Peninsula and hit four fabulously diverse coastal loops in as many days.

For detailed descriptions and maps to plan your rides, visit the Explore the Bruce website. Download an excellent pdf guide to all 13 routes here.

Adventurous cycle tourists can plan an epic, multi-day trip on the newest section of Ontario’s Great Lakes Waterfront Trail—a signed, on- and off-road route spanning 600 km up the Lake Huron coast from Point Clark to Tobermory on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, then back down around Georgian Bay to Collingwood.

8. Recreational Trails

Two cyclists pedalling by Saugeen Shores Multi-Use Trail sign.
Smooth trails, superb views, and zero traffic in Saugeen Shores. Photo: @lortzphoto

A well-developed network of rail trails and community bicycle paths continues to put Bruce County on the map for recreational and family cyclists. Connecting the beach towns of Southampton and Port Elgin, the 11-km Saugeen Shores Rail Trail can be linked with the waterfront Northshore Trail and 14 km of forest trails at MacGregor Point Provincial Park for a longer loop ride suitable for hybrid and mountain bikes.

Find a trail map here.

The town of Kincardine also boasts a fine trail system with lakeside riding, excellent beaches, and connections to nearby Inverhuron Provincial Park.

Check out a map and trail descriptions here.

9. Mountain Biking Trails

Explore the Bruce volunteers maintain a total of 80 km of mountain biking trails at five locations in the county—find directions and trail maps for each on their website. Or download an excellent pdf guide to the trails here.

The town of Wiarton’s Mountain Bike Adventure Park is a family favourite, featuring 20 km of trails as well as a continuous pump track.

For the region’s best singletrack, locals swear by the small-yet-mighty trail system at the Carrick Mountain Biking Tract near the hamlet of Mildmay. Fast, flowy, and technical, there’s something for all skill levels.

For plenty more road rides and trail suggestions throughout Bruce County, check out Ontario By Bike’s Bruce page here.

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