Motorcycle Journeys in Northeastern Ontario

Northeastern Ontario

What is it about the north that keeps drawing riders up year after year?



Northeastern Ontario feels a little different from the south. The towns and cities are even more friendly and relaxed, and the space between them is much greater. The trees are taller, and the landscape more wild. And the roads . . . well, the roads are bigger, longer, twistier, and more mysterious. Welcome to Ontario's magnificent Northeast.

Rainbow Country

Rainbow Country encompasses Georgian Bay's northeastern shore, Manitoulin Island, and Sudbury and surrounding area.

Picture of Georgian Bay from Killarney

Here in the heart of mining country, the roads are carved deep into a granite landscape with old-growth pine forests and sparkling lakes and rivers. At the southern end of the region, Highway 69 crosses the breathtaking French River where you'll find a few sweet roads that take you to the river's edge. The French River Trading Post has comfortable rooms, and if you're willing to spend some time off your bike, canoe rentals are available from French River Adventures.

Further north in Sudbury, a visit to Dynamic Earth is in order. This state-of-the-art earth sciences centre developed a mining exhibit that actually takes you down seven stories into the earth.

picture of mine at Dynamic EarthUnderground at Dynamic Earth

Above ground, Sudbury is a biggish city minus a big-city attitude.  Frank's Delicatessen, or the Beef 'N Bird (whose porketta is some of the best I've had anywhere) are among the many delicious restaurants in town. If you're in Sudbury in early July, this year's Northern Lights Festival promises to be another success. 

Just across the water is the world's largest freshwater island, Manitoulin. Home of the Anishinaabe and the Great Spirit, the Island is rich with culture. The incredible Great Spirit Circle Trail offers innovative experiences with First Nations cultures, from traditional cooking workshops, drumming and singing instruction, interpretive paddling routes, unique accomodations and more. Gordon's Park Eco Resort is another interesting option for lodgings and off-bike fun, and their breakfast earns a gold star for deliciousness. Check out Vicki Gray's article about her experiences riding Manitoulin.

Near North

The Near North falls roughly between and around Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami. On Highway 11, the city of North Bay is host to the awesome Ride For Dad event. Motorcyclists from all over gather in North Bay and ride en-masse to raise money for the fight against prostate cancer. It's a lot of fun and an excellent cause.

Picture of Motorcycle at Ride For Dad

Before the big ride, you might want to visit Colonel Hoagie's Diner, to refuel your belly. Later on, Cecil's Eatery and Beer Society has a great selection of frosty golden draughts to wash down their scrumptious morsels.

Outside of North Bay, where the roads branch out into denser woods and smaller towns like Loring-Restoule, Callander, and Mattawa, you'll find laidback lodge-style and B&B accommodations. For something a little different, check out Pie Bird B&B. They offer unique experience packages with food growing workshops and a lively events schedule.

Check out this article for more tips about the area. 

The Wilderness Region

From Latchford all the way up to Moosonee on James Bay, the Wilderness Region of Northeastern Ontario is waiting to hear the roar of your engine. For long stretches on these northern roads it's just you, your bike, and the shadow of an overhead turkey vulture coasting above the tree line. Take a deep breath and soak up the wild country.

Picture of Devil's Rock near CobaltDevil's Rock near Cobalt

It's not all trees and solitude out here. Tucked away along the quiet highways are friendly and interesting towns. In Cobalt, dubbed "Canada's most historic town," the Cobalt Mining Museum tells the stories of the town's ghostly buildings and mine shafts. A little further north, the famous New Liskeard Biker's Reunion is set for the last weekend in June. You'll want to visit Hockey Heritage North in Kirkland Lake. And nearby Cochrane boasts the famous Polar Bear Habitat and Heritage Village where you can swim alongside those lovable giants. Don't worry: a glass barrier separates the people swimming pool from the one for the bears. From Cochrane the Polar Bear Express train leaves for Moosonee on James Bay. The ride is six hours, but it's James Bay for Pete's sake!

Check out the new Go Tour Ontario Interactive Motorcycle Trip Planner for the best routes:

Temiskaming Loop Go Tour Trip Planner Screenshot

Accommodations and food out in the wilderness region are nothing short of amazing. Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa in Timmins will treat you like the king or queen that you are, while Gilli's Truckstop in New Liskeard and Sea Star in Kapuskasing will put in a virtuoso performance filling your plate.

Picture of Cedar Meadows ResortBy the Pool at Cedar Meadows Resort

The roads up north will keep you grinning for weeks. What are you waiting for?

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