About this series: Wheels wants to inspire you to explore. This series of daytrips and longer drives highlight great experiences you can have in the province, ands show you why Ontario is “Ours to Discover.”
With longer, warmer days now a reality, motorcycle enthusiasts around the Greater Toronto Area are unplugging their vehicle’s trickle chargers, checking their tire pressure, and taking their bikes out of winter hibernation. While slogging through the clogged streets of the city is torturous to say the least, there are routes near Toronto where you and your motorized steed can enjoy the open road. Here are five motorcycle rides full of curves, scenic views and places to stop and stretch your legs.
Ride No. 1
Roughly 80 kilometres northwest of Toronto, Forks of the Credit and Hockley Valley roads are nothing short than a rite of passage for motorcyclists. Start by driving north along Mississauga Road to the village of Belfountain in Caledon, where you will find Forks of the Credit Road.
Riding it east, the roadway’s seven kilometres of peg-grinding asphalt winds its way downhill and includes a hairpin turn. You may need a jolt of coffee for this one, so stop at The Common Good, located in the historic Belfountain General Store building, before you head out. Remember, speed limits on this road are strictly enforced, so do behave.
Once you hit the junction where Forks of the Credit meets Highway 10, head north until you reach Hockley Valley Road in Orangeville and hang a right. While not as twisty as Forks of the Credit, this ribbon of asphalt keeps riders engaged with 15 kms of curves and undulations. If you have the time, a detour to visit nearby Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is never a bad idea. Or, if you prefer a quick pop-cultural stop, stay on the road to visit the motel that doubled as The Rosebud on “Schitt’s Creek.”
Ride No. 2
The Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County are home to an incredible collection of roadways perfect for motorcycle rides. One of my favourites is the 45-km stretch of County Road 507 from Buckhorn to Gooderham. The road is bordered by Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, so the scenery is an impressive mix of lakes, streams and rivers. You may even spot a moose or two grazing near the roadside.
When you arrive in Gooderham, you can either keep riding north on the equally incredible Glamorgan Road to Haliburton (stop for a Kawartha Dairy ice cream at Cool Licks), east on County Road 503 to Coboconk or west on Highway 118 to Cardiff. If you decide on the last route, be sure to stop at Swiss Bear Cafe Bistro & Express near Apsley for a schnitzel sandwich. Its options include the Polish, topped with sauerkraut, Dijon mustard, onion and pickle, and the Slaw, covered in coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
Ride No. 3
A meandering ride into Ontario’s wine country along the Niagara Parkway never disappoints. Hugging the Niagara River from the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake, what the busy Parkway lacks in pace it makes up for with its scenery. The spectacular Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls is roughly located at the halfway point of this route.
While in Niagara Falls you can hop off your bike to explore the carnival-like atmosphere of Clifton Hill, take your chances at the Fallsview Casino Resort or Casino Niagara, or go for a ride on the Maid of the Mist.
Ride No. 4
Arguably one of the best combinations of scenery and rider engagement, Highway 141, cutting through the Muskoka and Parry Sound regions, is a bucket list drive for motorcycle enthusiasts. The roadway stretches between Highway 400 in the west and Highway 11 in the east.
I like to turn off the 400 at Lake Joseph Road and head north to Hayes Corner before driving east on the 141. Bordered by an incredible cliff face and the gorgeous Lake Rosseau, the west end of this route is particularly picturesque. But don’t turn around after getting that shot of your bike by the lake. The entirety of this highway feels like a route that was mapped out by engineers following a kitten batting a ball of yarn around.
If time allows, complete a Muskoka loop by going south on Highway 11 and turning off in Gravenhurst to follow Highway 169 into Bala. From there you can take Muskoka District Road 38 back to the 400 to return to Toronto.
Ride No. 5
The Trans Canada Trail is an extensive 28,000 km network of mostly off-road routes stretching across the country. Located next to Dart Cup Road in Campbellford, about a two-and-half hour drive east of Toronto, is a section of the trail where motorcyclists can ride.
Heading east along the trail, it features a mix of surfaces, takes riders through portions of a former rail corridor into the community of Stirling and Highway 62. In the south, the trail forks so you can either head north toward Marmora, Madoc, Tweed and Bancroft (all of which are great rides) or you can continue on to Corbyville, where one of the region’s nicest patios awaits next the Moira River at Signal Brewery.
The trails are mixed use, so you will be sharing it with ATVs, dirt bikes, bicycles and pedestrians alike. You will need a day pass from the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance but trust me when I say it’s well worth the cost.