VMUTS: Possibly the Most Diverse Trail System in Ontario!

A perfect fall day on the VMUTS. Photos and story by Virgil Knapp.

But What's a VMUTS You Ask?

The Voyageur Multi Use Trail System is vast, beautiful, and welcomes all types of riders.



Located in Northeastern Ontario, the VMUTS (or Voyageur Multi Use Trail System) is unlike any trail network you’ll find in Ontario. Despite the V standing for "Voyager", it should really represent Versatility, because that’s what makes it so unique.

All-Inlcusive Attitude to Off-Roading

Catering to all aspects of the off-road community, you’ll find ATV’s, side-by-sides, dirtbikes, mountain bikes, 4x4’s and even horses out on these trails. The more traditional trail system cater to one or two disciplines and anything else is off limits, but not at VMUTS. Here, they have an all-inclusive attitude to off-roading!

Nestled in a highly scenic area between historical Algonquin Highlands and Laurentian Mountains, VMUTS is bordered by both the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers in Mattawa Voyageur Country. Stretching over 300 kilometers, this off-road mecca is located just a short distance from downtown Mattawa, making overnight trips an enticing option.

In addition to versatility, the actual trails themselves are another benefit of riding VMUTS. There’s something for every skill level with wide open fire roads for beginners to steep rock faces, deep mud bogs and technical river crossings for the more advanced riders in search of a challenge.

A Typical Day Riding VMUTS-Style

A typical day at VMUTS will start at Trail 11 Trailhead (marked by a big overhead wooden archway with a “Welcome to VMUTS” sign). This is just a quick ride from Mattawa, and once inside you’ll find endless options for your daily adventures with clearly marked signage which are maintained and mapped out by VMUTS volunteers.

In my time riding here, I’ve encountered every type of terrain imaginable. Some sections run along hydro wires with rolling hills and lots of room to open up the throttle, but once in the trails you’ll find everything from generous width to tight twisty turns, usually lined by mature trees and foliage. You’ll come across sandy corners, all sorts of stream and river crossings and some of the best mud bogs you’ll ever have the pleasure of blasting through.

Hands down the most beautiful time to tour around VMUTS is during the fall when the leaves start to turn (depending on the weather, roughly mid to late September). The explosion of colors experienced from in the trails is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and must be witnessed first hand to appreciate it.

Along the way several lookouts are accessible just off the trail. One in particular, named The "Bird’s Eye" Lookout, is the most popular. With a great viewing deck perched several hundred feet above the forest below, it’s a perfect location for that Instagram-worthy group selfie.

Spot Local Attractions Along the Way

In addition to the riding, VMUTS offers some pretty cool attractions along the way. The abandoned Purdy Mica mine located on Trail 62 is a must-see. Immediately upon entry the temperature drops 10 degrees and within a few feet you’re in complete darkness. If you have the nerve to continue on be prepared for bats, spiders, and other creepy critters but they pay-off is in the form of some brilliant natural mica formations still growing naturally in the cave walls.

You can also find multiple rest areas complete with outhouses and covered shelters as well as many lakeside camping areas that are a great spot to set up a leisurely trailside lunch.

What Do You Need?

What do you need to ride in this playground for adults you might ask? If you have an ATV, a 3-day permit will run you $50 CAD, or an annual permit at $150 CAD. If riding in winter, you’ll just need an OFSC permit. For any other type of riding, a daily permit is $15 CAD, 3-Day for $30 CAD, 7 Day for $40 CAD, and annual permit for $50 CAD.

calling all members of the OFATV!

In early 2018 an exciting announcement was made that VMUTS voted unanimously to join and become a member club of The Ontario Federation of All-Terrain Vehicles or OFATV. What this means for current OFATV members, is that they no longer need to purchase a separate permit to ride the Mattawa region on VMUTS trails! 

Another benefit for local VMUTS members is they can now take advantage of all 16 OFATV club trail systems giving them access to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick with their OFATV permit.

For full information on The VMUTS Trail system check out their newly re-vamped website at www.vmuts.ca.

Featured articles