This year, there are a couple of upsets in our top ten list, but those of you who have already been out riding in Ontario, Canada are likely familiar with some or all of these routes and know there’s good reason for this list to be updated each year; construction, frost heaves, sand in road corners, re-routing of roads, rider-friendly hotels, restaurants and scenic areas being closed or changing hands…there’s a lot to consider when putting together a killer motorcycle route.
After much debate and review by our team of experts, here's our list of the top motorcycle routes to ride in Ontario, Canada, with links to trip planners, downloadable and paper maps.
The new kid on the block just emerged this year and comprises of the already established “Mooseback” ADV route, as well as 3000km of mapped backroad riding in the northern reaches of the province. Currently the website and map are only available in French, as that is the dominant language of the communities in the region, but true ADV riders know dirt only speaks one language – and that language is BRAPPPPPPPP.
Another franco-inspired route joins the list for the first time after recently being completed. The Champlain Route loosely follows the path of the first Europeans in this area, the famous explorer Samuel de Champlain. This route is full of the history of Canada and is well-suited for the touring crowd who likes to learn a little something about this land as they pass through it. The scenery is great, there are plenty of great places to eat along the way (Champlain was the founder of the “society of good cheer” which basically meant “eat well”) AND the route avoids most major highways so you’ll enjoy the ride.
After years of being one of the first recognized Ontario motorcycle routes, the Georgian Bay Coastal Route finds itself down at number 8 mainly because the top half of highway 69 is a bit scary on a bike, and there’s a lot of riding on major highways. It redeems itself with a ferry ride, the bits through Grey-Bruce and Manitoulin, and the fact that this is probably the closest big tour for the population centres around Toronto, Hamilton, Michigan and New York State. We’ve heard there are plans to rejuvenate the route and that highway 69 will eventually be four-laned all the way to Sudbury. If this happens, you may see the GBCR rise significantly on this list.
The step-child of the massive “Ride Lake Superior” loop, the Nor’Western never seemed to get the attention it deserved – however, we had a chance to ride this loop two years ago and it is nothing short of stunning. OK, it doesn’t have the views of the big lake, but it does have truly incredible roads. While the Trans Canada sections are good rides, with lots of long sweepers, views of lakes, rock cuts and majestic boreal forests, the connecting highways that complete the loop, namely Highway 71, 622 and/or 522 are truly spectacular. There are lonely stretches of highway, without any major towns on them, but the asphalt is good, the twisties are amazing, and the scenery is just killer. Just make sure you keep your eyes open for wildlife.
Actually a series of routes that criss-cross the countryside in the southernmost part of Ontario, these routes are likely most well-known for their proximity to the grand-daddy of all motorcycle events, Port Dover’s Friday the 13th. Make no mistake though, the backroads that zig-zag from Michigan to New York State along the coast of Lake Erie will keep any rider entertained, and these communities are known for their laid-back coastal lifestyle. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit!