Stretching from the Ottawa Valley to Haliburton, the quiet, green, and rugged, Ontario's Highlands remains a wilderness to this day. And its 23,000 plus square km (14,292 square miles) of land hosts a paved labyrinth that has motorcycle riders clamouring to plan their next trip. For those of you equipped to go off road, check out this link for the best trails in the region.
The Ottawa Valley
With nicknames like "Ontario's Adventure Playground" and "Whitewater Capital of Canada" you know that the Ottawa Valley is going to be good. Here, road builders have had to accommodate the jagged courses of the mighty Ottawa River in the north and the Madawaska River in the south. The result was roads with huge, rocky turns and climbs that carry you to breathtaking views of valleys, peaks, forests, and lakes.
Picturesque towns like Renfrew and Petawawa have grown throughout the region in perfect harmony with the surrounding wilderness, and their local businesses have gone above and beyond to welcome motorcyclists with fantastic events, activities, eateries, and places to stay.
Located in the town of Beachburg, River Run Rafting organizes safe and exhilarating whitewater rafting trips on the Ottawa River. If you'd rather stay dry, nearby towns like Pembroke or Chapeau in the northwest will greet you with small-town charm and delicious eateries like Ulrich's. Southeast of Beachburg in Calabogie, the Calabogie Peaks Resort combines excellent food, accommodations, and access to waterfront fun. In Renfrew, a visit to the 1850s circa McDougall Mill Museum will help you appreciate how the region has maintained strong ties to its early traditions.
If you can, consider planning your trip to the valley around the Ottawa Valley Motorcycle & Tattoo Show. There's going to be food, tattoo demos, bands, and of course bikes. This event is always a blast!
For more reasons to ride the Ottawa Valley read the following stories:
The Haliburton Highlands
Ride out of the valley and up, up and away into the Haliburton Highlands. Take a good look around at the sea of forest and lakes that surround you. www.ExperienceHaliburton.com suggests six routes to start you off along the region's sun-drenched pavement into green valleys and past crystal clear lakes teeming with fish. Along these routes and others like the routes of Lennox and Addington County you'll find some of the region's outstanding attractions.
In the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, the age-old debate over art and nature gets one of the most inspired answers I have ever encountered, with sculptures from Canadian and international artists set along outdoor wilderness trails. For a longer break from the bike, Boatwerks in Minden can outfit you with a canoe or kayak for a day out on the water; and with a little bit of map work you might find a lake all to yourself. History, accommodations, and filling meals are rolled up into one in the historic Dominion Hotel (also in Minden), where each pint brings you one step closer to the lumber barons who once made their fortunes in these parts. If you're looking for a little solitude, try one of the first-rate Bed and Breakfasts that are nestled into many a quaint locale throughout the region. Stouffer Mill Bed & Breakfast provides beautiful rooms in a relaxing setting just a half hour down the road from the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. Keep in mind that the northwestern end of the Haliburton region brings you to the border of the stunning Algonquin Park, which we will feature in our next post.
To fully explore the Ontario Highland's maze of rock-cut roads and give your machine a proper workout, your best bet might be renting one of the many available cottages if you have the opportunity to stay a little longer. The folks in the Valley and Highlands would be glad to have you!
To learn more about the wealth of experiences awaiting you, visit OntarioTravel.net's Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley section.
View Motorcycling in Ontario: Ottawa and Countryside in a larger map