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Man rides through the forest in Ontario.

Five amazing Ontario cycling routes you won’t believe exist

If you’re looking for a debate, try asking a group of cyclists stopping for a break about the best routes in Ontario.

The suggestions – and there are many – will fly as thick and fast as the arguments about why one is far better than the other. It’s a conversation elite cyclist and triathlete Angella Goran has found herself in the middle of many times.

“If I had to pick the best cycling routes in all of Ontario, I honestly couldn’t,” she laughs. “It’s a big province, there’s a lot of diversity in the environment and whether you’re going out with the kids or taking a weekend to tackle a bucket list trail, you’re not going to be disappointed. I mean, every time I plan a trip, whether it’s a first time or the hundredth, I get butterflies in my stomach.”

Even so, as a veteran of cross-country cycling trips lasting three months, Angella, a a CAA Plus Member, does have a few personal favourites. Before you put her top picks on your list, check out CAA’s great collection of bike accessories in store and through our online eStore partners like Decathlon, Altitude Sports, PFRO Sports and SAIL…and get the CAA Mobile App on your phone. Every member is entitled to Bike Assist if you ever run into problems.

The Giant

Of course, we’re talking about Sleeping Giant Provincial Park an hour from Thunder Bay. Named because the steep mesa-cuesta rock formation looks like a slumbering giant, it not only boasts an incredibly rugged 100km trail system (half of which is great for mountain bikes), but road cyclists will be dazzled by the wildly beautiful landscape on the park roads.

 Voyageur Cycling Route

While the Voyageurs definitely did not ride bikes – they stuck to canoes and portaging them – this 645km tour connecting Ottawa to Sudbury and North Bay traces the Voyageurs as they traded and explored. It roams across the best parts of the Canadian Shield and cottage country through 29 northern and rural communities.

Algonquin Park

Sure, Algonquin Park is synonymous with canoeing. After all, this is where the Group of Seven made their mark in creating a uniquely Canadian school of art. For adventurous cyclists, the same landscape that inspired Tom Thomson and A.Y. Jackson is accessible by bike where Highway 60 runs through the park in a 60km stretch of lakes, wetlands, trees…and more trees. Come to cycle, stay to camp.  

The Waterfront

Ideal for one-day adventures, the Waterfront Trail along Cornwall and through to Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg is an unimpeded 40km history lesson in early nation building. It follows along the majestic St. Lawrence River and, with various stops for snacks, meals and selfies, it’s perfect for young families and more serious cyclists alike.

Ottawa Valley

Crisscrossed with rivers and lakes, the Ottawa Valley offers cyclists a buffet of experiences. Cycling through the Bonnechere River, Madawaska River and Highlands (around the CBC-famous Letterkenny and past Al Capone’s hideout) and up to the curvy and hilly Renfrew-Calabogie Loop take you through everything from big country towns to ghost villages, with tours of 10km to 50km.

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