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Northeastern Ontario's Hidden Gem

Northeastern Ontario's Hidden Gem

Temiskaming Shores is a Must-See, Must-Ride destination for snowmobilers



There’s a place in Northeastern Ontario that is being touted as a "hidden gem" of sorts for the snowmobiling community. I’ll tell you where it is, but you have to promise that after reading this article, you'll do some solid research and consider planning your next snowmobile trip to this area.

A Sledding Hotspot

So without further ado, I’m sending you to Temiskaming Shores. Located only five hours north of Toronto, and on the border of Quebec, this lively community is located along the beautiful Lake Temiskaming. A hot spot in the summertime for boating, hunting, fishing and more, the area quickly becomes an excellent destination for snowmobilers in the winter due to its close proximately to OFSC trails.

Several years ago, I had actually toured around the Temiskaming Shores area for the New Liskeard Bikers Reunion (now defunct). Now, as the green grass and trees were replaced with white powder, I found myself in a whole new world. Thinking I would remember the area, I was pleasantly confused about where I had ridden previously. This time, I replaced asphalt with snow, roads with trails, and two wheels with two skis. However, one thing remained the same, and that was the big smile on my face when I started up my sled.

My partner in crime for this trip was fellow motorhead Casey Cordeiro. We had met at an ATV event in Jericho, New Hampshire last year, and immediately bonded over our need for speed. Originally from Arizona, Casey joined me on this adventure to get an experience that he would never get where he is from. He traded warmer temperatures for the cold and snowy conditions often found in Northeastern Ontario in the winter.

Welcoming a Newcomer to Sledding

Playing hostess and introducing someone to my world was pretty fun. Last year, Casey had taken me out to the sand dunes near his area, and so I wanted to give back that experience and offer him a fun weekend of snowmobiling in Canada. Seeing his excitement over snow was contagious. His wide eyes and big smile were enough to tell me  this guy was hooked, and we hadn’t even started riding yet.

Our trip ended up falling on the Family Day weekend, which meant that the OFSC offered free trail passes to all snowmobilers who pre-registered. We grabbed an OFSC trail map and I took some time, while enjoying my morning coffee at the Holiday Inn Express in New Liskeard, to plan a fun route for the day. We decided to cruise down to Latchford for a fun day tour. The trails were quiet, and we barely passed another rider as we made our way to the town, infamous for being home to the world’s shortest covered bridge. As goofy tourists, we couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures under the bridge.

Discovering Northeastern Ontario's Hidden Gems

Later that day, we hooked up with a local friend, James, who was excited to show two non-locals the area. James made sure to take us to Devil’s Rock, a 150-metre high rock ledge that towered over Lake Temiskaming. It gave us an unbelievable 180-degree view of the landscape and lake, and the neighbouring province of Quebec.

The view from Devil's Rock, Haileybury.

We then toured across the lake and along the shoreline to check out Bear Rock. The rock has a naturally formed image of a bear etched on the surface, which was really quite beautiful.

Bear Rock. Photo by Jessica Kline.

Our day of riding ended at a local bar and grill, where I snacked on buffalo chips and a chicken sandwich while Casey enjoyed fish and chips. We reflected on the day, and also planned for the next, which would be a much longer ride to Elk Lake. Casey’s initiation was over; he had successfully joined the snowmobile community, and was hooked and ready to rock for day two. I couldn’t wait, and as my head hit that pillow that night I was instantly asleep and dreaming about riding in fresh powder.

Warmer temperatures and blue skis greeted us the following day as we dressed in Klim gear for the tour to Elk Lake, located in the Township of James. Originally a mining town in the early 1900s, this area was once only accessible by boat via the Montreal River, until the railway was introduced. Learning about the history of the area beforehand was helpful as we crossed the Montreal River via an abandoned railway bridge. I remember thinking to myself how much times have changed, as our official mode of transportation was now by snowmobile.

The Elk Lake Eco Centre. Photo by Jessica Kline.

The Elk Lake Loop took us 250 km along OFSC Trail A, through Earlton and then to the Elk Lake Eco Centre, where we stopped for lunch. This centre is a great destination for friends, families, or work conferences, as it offers a full-service conference centre, in addition to individual chalets that can be rented out for vacation, weddings, or groups. Both Casey and I decided that we need to return here on our next trip to Northeastern Ontario for a weekend getaway.

We chased the setting sun the entire way back to the Holiday Inn Express. Our route took us east on the A Trail towards Matachewan, before we turned onto L162 through Charlton. It was dark by the time we returned, but the longer way back was completed worth it as we caught the most beautiful sunset. It seemed the sky was smiling at us that evening, happy that we had had a great day, and thanking us for choosing Temiskaming for our trip. Our awe over the sunset, combined with fun riding, great food, and hospitality, and some really picturesque views at Devil’s Rock and Elk Lake are what made me decide that this area really was a hidden gem, nestled quietly and inconspicuously in Northeastern Ontario.

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