In Ontario’s heartland, tucked away in a corner of Dufferin County, is a well-kept motorcycling gem: the township of Mulmur. Motorcycle riders in and out of the province know that there is tons of great riding to be found in Ontario, but this is a lesser known area than most. Approximately one hour north of Toronto, in a corridor bounded roughly by Airport Road and County Road 124, the Township of Mulmur straddles the Niagara Escarpment, offering an awesome riding experience. Half the area is prime agricultural land and rolling plains; the other half rivers, plunging valleys, and steep hills which open up into expansive vistas. All of it is home to people who come from strong stock and down-to-earth values.
Start in Mono Mills
Start your ride in Mono Mills at Highway 9 and Airport Road. Two gas stations and the requisite Tim Horton’s make a perfect meeting spot where you can fuel up bike and body. As you head north on Airport Road, there’s no mistaking that you’ve entered awesome riding country. You’re soon heading down a steep grade with a view that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Mono Centre to Mansfield
Turn left onto County Road 8, towards the small hamlet of Mono Centre, whose size belies the bustling activity that goes on here year-round. Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, known for it’s caves, forested hills and limestone plains, is a popular hiking destination. A mecca for food and wine lovers, Trip Advis awarded Mono Cliffs Inn, its Certificate of Excellence. Savour one of four unique dining areas, one of which is an outdoor patio.
Wind your way west to the stop sign and flashing light at Highway 10, before continuing north. Crossing Highway 89, the name becomes Prince of Wales Road and you’ve officially entered Mulmur Township. The road snakes into the valley before coming up into potato farming country. As you cross this plateau, glance west at the dancing windmills of the Melancthon Wind Plant in the distance. Head east at County Road 17, where flat farmland soon gives way to another valley with deep dips and steep curves. This transition between flat lands and valleys becomes a familiar dance as you enjoy these hills. Emerging from the valley, you’ll notice a few more houses as you approach Mansfield and one of the few stoplights in Mulmur. You’re back at Airport Road and it’s time for a short jaunt north.
You’ll be turning left onto County Road 20, as you descend a hill, so use caution executing the turn. Dubbed “River Road,” it follows the Pine River between Airport Road and Hornings Mills. Attracted by its curvaceous nature, and the scarcity of traffic, River Road has seen a popularity comeback in the last few years. One of the reasons is the Terra Nova Public House, where you can eat indoors or on the patio. Its popularity is greater than its capacity, however, so you can’t always count on being served. Fortunately, there’s a sweets and ice cream shop next door where you can stave off your hunger.
As tempting as it is to let loose along this road, there are good reasons—besides the speed limit alone—to curtail your adrenaline. While there are long stretches of relatively smooth surface, it’s not consistent and there are sections where the pavement is broken or heaved. Secondly, the road is popular with hikers, fishermen, horseback riders, and people who live here because they enjoy the serenity. Riding respectfully keeps everyone happy.
River Road ends at Hornings Mills, and for the time being, you’ll need to turn left to exit the valley because of road construction. Once at County Road 124, head north again.
A must stop is the Lennox Farm fruit stand on the west side of the road. Stocked with Ontario grown produce, preserves and pies, it’s a fifth generation farm, now run by Bill and Diane French and their family. It says a lot about the character of this family that they turned down a developer’s offer of millions of dollars for their land, knowing that life isn’t about the money.
In 2012, a landmark decision denied an application to develop a mega quarry on the best farmland in Ontario, and at the headwaters of five river systems. A grassroots movement, which gained international attention, was successful in pushing for that outcome.
Continue north, and just up the road, you’ll come to County Road 21 at Reddickville and head east again towards Honeywood. You’re soon back onto the tumultous roads of the escarpment, but not before passing through lush Grade 1 farmland, perfectly suited for cash crops, especially potatoes. Settled in the 1840’s, only a few homes remain from Honeywood’s heyday, though the community does support an ice arena.
A highlight of my travels through this beautiful area was a visit to Peace Valley Ranch (PVR), just past Honeywood and south on Prince of Wales Road. Exactly as it’s name suggests, this is an idyllic and tranquil 1,200 acres, family owned since 1965, with Carl Cosak and his wife Natalie Kotyck now stewards of the land. Carl has been dubbed the Quarry Breaking Cowboy for his role in defeating the mega quarry application.
Flanked on the west by the Escarpment, the hills of PVR roll eastward, and are home to 26 horses, 110 cows, many calves, 3 bulls, and 2 dogs. Carl and Natalie’s respect for the land and their animals pervades the ranch. They’re kept more than busy as calf and grass-fed Angus beef producers, Rawhide Adventures’ horseback riding, instruction and a B&B. Anyone can call and book a tour, but everything requires a reservation.
Watch for horses on the road as you approach and make sure to park in the designated area. The driveway and access road are both gravel, but well-maintained. Just take care turning into the driveway, which is on a hill, but not a big deal.
Airport Road will lead you back to Mono Mills when it’s time to go. The road is straight and anything but boring, the perfect cap to a fabulous ride.