We Ride at Dawn

With a little foresight, anyone can organize a group ATV adventure. Here's how to pull it off without a hitch.

Each year a group of us like to take in a big ATV trip. We've been doing it for so long that it comes a lot easier than it used to but organizing a group ATV trip can be tricky. Co-ordinating everyone’s vacation time, choosing a location, and then orchestrating the trip can be quite involved, especially for busy people. Here I'll give an example of a recent trip we did that will lay out the things you really need to know to make your own group ATV trip go as smooth as possible.

Planning the trip a year in advance only makes sense, so you have a lot of time to get your ducks in a row.

The biggest decisions you have to lock down early are: 

  • Destination
  • Date of Trip 
  • Type of Accommodations
  • Who is Going 
  • Organizing Food 
  • How Everyone is Going to Get There

Shortly after the long weekend in May, a member of our club had told us about taking a trip to Elliot Lake to enjoy their trail system, and had raved about how great the trail system was, and that we needed to check it out. 

Elliot Lake 0

Shortly thereafter, we were sitting around the camp fire at Opimika Wilderness Cottages, and started discussing where we wanted to go for our trip in 2015. The Elliot Lake ATV Club’s trails were on the top of our list as it had come so highly recommended, and before we retired for the night, the destination was decided. Very soon it would be time to start locking everything else down.

The date of the trip came next.  We seem to have started using Canada Day weekend as our date of choice – taking advantage of a free day off to minimize the amount of vacation days required. Canada Day was midweek this year, so we decided to take the Monday/Tuesday off of work, to make a solid five days available to us.

Type of accommodations can be tricky to figure out. It usually involves picking something middle of the road to ensure it works for everyone. There is everything out there from rough camping to five-star resorts – our goal was to try and find a lodge or resort where we would all be in the same cottage or a few cottages close together for assembling and planning the day trips.

Click here for 10 Amazingly ATV-Friendly Lodges and Resorts in Ontario

I had a slight advantage in our search for somewhere to stay in Elliot Lake, as a good friend lives in in the area and hit the Elliot Lake Welcome Centre and mailed me a boat-load of brochures and pamphlets to check out – including an Elliot Lake ATV Club trail map!

elliot lake welcome center smaller

The City of Elliot Lake webpage and the Elliot Lake ATV Club’s webpage are both good resources to start your search. We checked out Dunlop Lake Lodge, Laurentian Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, and to cover all our bases, the Hampton Inn. All of these venues were very helpful, and very eager to help us plan our trip.

However, one thing we quickly learned is that Elliot Lake is a popular destination, and we were having difficulty finding the type of accommodations we were looking for for the dates we had chosen. It was starting to look like we might have to change our dates to make this happen…

Then we hit a stroke of luck: while manning a booth at the Ottawa Boat and Sportman’s Show, we ran into Matthew & Kyla Owl, the proprietors of Ritchie Falls Resort, located about 70 km northeast of Elliot Lake, but a 40-minute ATV ride from the Elliot Lake Trail system!

ottawa boat show02
ottawa boat show

After some negotiating rates with Matthew & Kyla, based on what we were looking for and based on rough numbers of people staying, we now we had somewhere to lay our heads to rest at night!

ritchie falls resort smaller

With the hard part down, we quickly organized who was attending the trip, and as with most trips we had some last minute additions, and some people drop out last minute, but this is how these things go. We divided the meals up between the seven attendees, leaving everyone in charge of one meal each, and did a double-check of what everyone was bringing to ensure that we had not left anything out. Then organized travel arrangements based on geographical location, and what made the most sense for carpooling and cutting down on expenses. We set up meeting places along the way, to get the entire convoy together, and voila, a trip was planned!

Now we just had to wait for the date to arrive!

Check here to see how the trip went... 

About Dave Baker

An avid outdoors enthusiast, Dave is active in hunting, fishing, trapping and ATVing. He has been involved with the Nation Valley ATV Club since its inception, and is a past president of the Ontario Federations of ATV Clubs.

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