5 Reasons To Get Excited for ATVing in Ontario this Summer

The benefits of ATVing are many. Now's the time to get powered up for a wild summer season. Happy riding!
A muddy ATV with a winch on the front parked on an uneven, rocky bank covered in weeds and brush. In the background there is a lake surrounded by green forest.

Despite being born and raised in a country known for igloos and ice hockey, I’ve always had an aversion to the cold months of winter. Sure the holidays are nice and things like snowmobiling are fun, but the fact remains if you’re outside, you’re cold. Bottom line.

That’s why when the spring sun finally shows up (drying out a vast network of Ontario ATV trails like the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance and VMUTS), the off-road community collectively rejoices, as we all know ATVing is just around the corner! With that time just about here, I’m pleased to share with you 5 reasons why I can’t wait to ATV in Ontario this year.

1. Trail Therapy

Two ATV riders talking and laughing while they are parked next to a lake surrounded by forest.
Getting out on the trails helps you let go of stress.

For anyone who rides a bike, ATV or sled you will understand what I’m talking about. Powersports requires an immense amount of mental focus and concentration to do it safely—so much, in fact,  that you can’t think about anything else while riding. If you let your mind wander bad things can happen fast. If I’m booking it down a trail, none of life’s complications are going through my head in that moment. All I’m thinking about is what’s ahead of me and what I need to do in that moment to be safe and have fun. Riding an ATV is a very underrated form of therapy and one could even say it has a meditative quality to it.

2. The Tribe Has Spoken: Your Ride or Dies

a group of smiling people laughing and talking about something out of the frame; one woman is pointing her finger as she speaks. They are standing in a forest next to their ATVs and UTVs.
Trail time is reconnection time—and there are always some great stories for later.

Punch in “ATV Trail Riding Ontario” on TikTok or Instagram and watch how every video involves groups of friends enjoying the trails together. You seldom see an ATVer alone unless they’re travelling from point A to point B. As I age I’ve noticed it’s harder and harder to make time to see friends as we all navigate family and work life. Organizing a weekend on the trails with a few close buddies is not only a blast but supplies some much-needed time with your tribe.

3. Testing, Testing…What Are You Made Of?

a rider drives an ATV through a stream in a dense green forest. The water is up to the tops of the tires.
Nothing feels better than challenging yourself and overcoming.

One of the most underrated parts of the ATV experience has to be the challenge of testing your ability to see just what you’re made of. Perhaps it’s your first time wheeling over a fallen log when you’d always creep over it to be cautious. Maybe you’re traversing a steep hill climb you’d never expect to make without flipping over, or a mud bog that threatens to swallow your machine whole. Regardless of the scenario the sense of self-satisfaction that can result from these small ‘victories’ will not only enhance your riding experience but leave you brimming with confidence when it comes time to conquer the next obstacle.

4. Variety is The Spice of Life: Trails for Days

Riders driving their ATV and UTV down a smooth rock trail surrounded by pine brush and tall green forest.
Ontario's trails offer a taste of everything. 

We here in Ontario are fortunate to have some of the most diverse ATV trail networks in the world, something that gets me giddy just thinking about it. Over the course of a weekend trip, you could potentially ride on everything from the giant slab rocks of the Canadian Shield to autobahn-like trails paralleling seemingly endless hydro line corridors, to majestic mature forests, to lush rolling grass hills. In fact, you could probably see all this terrain in one day!

5. It’s The Ultimate Task Vehicle

A mud-spattered UTV with two smiling, helmetted people in it driving down a forest trail.
Give a UTV a chance.

Ever since strapping into my first UTV (or Utility Task Vehicle), at a press launch for Can-AM in 2009, I have had a low-key obsession with the traditional quad’s lazy, larger cousin. Sure it still has 4 wheels and is technically an ATV but the steering wheel, foot pedals and roll cage make it just as much an off-road car as an ATV. As my aches and pains increase (from years of racing dirtbikes) the comfort and safety UTVs provide are undeniably appealing. Some of my best memories riding in Ontario trails have been in a UTV, where you get all of the thrills with a fraction of the injury potential and thankfully many of our trails are made wide enough to accommodate the extra width.

About Virgil Knapp

Virgil Knapp is a freelance motorsports photographer and writer.

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