ATV Riding the Ottawa Valley: A 2-Day Itinerary

Accommodations that offer on-site trail access, loads of lookouts and scenic viewpoints, along with friendly restaurants and breweries make the region a perfect stop for ATV lovers.

Riding the trails in Ontario's Ottawa Valley is a bucket list adventure for ATV lovers. Accommodations that offer on-site trail access, loads of lookouts and scenic viewpoints, along with friendly restaurants and breweries make the region a perfect stop for ATV lovers. We spoke with Cassandra Mainville with Mainville ATV and Outdoors who recently led a 2-day all-women ride around the region to get the details. Read on to learn more about why ATV riding in the Ottawa Valley is a must-do.


What's the Ottawa Valley like to ride? What kind of terrain can riders expect?

It's some of the best riding I've personally seen, and I've ridden a lot of places. Aside from the mountains, of course, the Ottawa Valley is hard to beat because it just offers so much variety. You want scenery? You got it. You want an easy ride? You got it. You want something more challenging, fun, muddy? It's right there waiting for you. It's where I learned to ride, and where I still ride to this day. There's really something for everyone.

The Women Take a Pit Stop on the Pakkotina Trail System
Photo credit: Mainville Media

What was the itinerary?

Day 1

The first day we rode down the railbed to Cobden, Ontario to grab lunch and a treat. We stopped at a few different places and took our time so overall it was probably an 8-hour day. One of the key stops that come to mind on the first day were the Whitewater Brewery which is a staple for the region. If you haven't been, you're missing out. I love how fresh their food always tastes because they try to only serve what's in season and can be locally sourced. From there, we went to The Little Coffee Shop which was quite small (shocking) but had a variety of homemade sweet treats and drinks.

Day 2

The next day was exciting because we did part of the Pakkotina Trail system. It took us about the same amount of time because we stopped at a lookout to take in the views and took things slow taking a few breaks so we could teach along the way. The main stop was the warm-up shack off Round Lake Road. It's well known landmark and great location to meet up. 

Pakkotina Trail System - River akkotina Trail System - Lookout ATV riding on the Pakkotina Trail System
The Pakkotina Trail system offers lookouts, river riding, and beautiful boreal forest views. // Photo credit: Mainville Media

Where did you stay in the Ottawa Valley?

We stayed at the Best Western Pembroke Inn & Conference Centre. First and foremost, the service was incredible. I've traveled a lot in my life, so I've seen the good, the bad in the ugly and this is definitely one of the better ones. The staff were very accommodating and even had treats for Diesel (our dog). The food and service at the Westwinds Restaurant on site was so good too that we ate there every night. One of the other great benefits of course is the location. It has direct access to both the trails and the gas station, so it really simplifies the whole experience.

Tell us about the benefits of a women-only ATV event!

Cassandra Mainville Explains Different Riding Techniques to the Group Before Leaving the Trail Head
Photo credit: Mainville Media

Honestly, the biggest benefit to a female-only event is that it forces you to get out of your comfort zone because no one's coming to do it for you. It encourages creative thinking to solve problems that you probably haven't faced on your own before, and builds so much confidence when you overcome them. It's really just a great and sometimes overwhelming feeling of pride.

Any standout sights or experiences on the ride?

It's not one site in particular, but the whole experience. Riding the Ottawa Valley, especially in the fall is just absolutely breathtaking. It forces you to look around a little more while you ride and to really appreciate what we have available to us. It's also really fun to watch the fallen leaves dance in the wind after you drive by them on the ATV.

Group Photo of the Women on the Last Day of Riding
Photo credit: Mainville Media

Is it true there's no crying on the ATV trails? ;)

I'm not sure who told you that lol but I've certainly shed my fair share of tears on the trail.

Plan your Ottawa Valley ATV ride today

Check out these resources for more information on ATVing in Ottawa Valley. 

About Northern Ontario

Welcome to Northern Ontario, Canada! Bigger than Texas, wilder than the west, more welcoming than a campfire in October, Northern Ontario is like no place else. Sunset Country is famous for its spectacular fishing lakes, Superior Country stretches into the deep north wildnerness, Algoma Country has Lake Superior as their back yard, and the Northeast provides excellent vacation destinations close to Toronto and other large urban centres in Southern Ontario.

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