Here's Why Everyone's Talking About ATVing in Madawaska

No matter what kind of rider you are, there's something for you in this ATV-friendly area. Gorgeous scenery, hearty meals, and resorts that welcome even the dustiest of travellers.

One of the most popular ATVing destinations in Ontario right now is the Madawaska area. This area boasts mile upon mile of mixed trails for every style of rider to enjoy, with wonderful sights to behold and amenities to use and enjoy. Information on trails in this area can be found at the Eastern Ontario ATV Association's website or by contacting them via telephone.

With friends and family in tow, we started our adventure by heading to the ATV friendly All Star Resort in Madawaska. The All Star resort is a family-owned operation featuring four-season cottage rentals, summer tent camping, and seasonal RV hookups.

The AllStar Resort is a great place to begin discovering the Madawaska area.
The resort also offers four-season cottages. 
Some calm before the dust storm. 

The most popular route in this area lately is fondly known as the Logger’s Loop. You begin in Madawaska, head to Lake St. Peter, venture on to Whitney, and then return to Madawaska along the Madawaska River. We settled in for the night, anxious to hit the trail in the morning and ride the Logger’s Loop.

After a quick camp breakfast, we geared up and headed out. Being an ATV-friendly resort, we didn’t have to trailer anywhere; all we had to do is get on our machines and ride. We exited the resort, crossed Hwy 60, and a short stint along the 523 later we were on the trail for the day, and on our way to our first destination: Lake St. Peter.

Hitting the trails on a sunny morning. 
Checking out the water along the route.

The trails were exactly what you would expect on a route called The Logger’s Loop, as they consisted primarily of old logging roads. The trails were rocky, twisty, hilly, and had many nice water crossings. We stopped several times along the route to enjoy some scenery along the way. One stops was a spot where the trail had been moved many moons ago, as remnants of a long since abandoned bridge could be seen with water cascading over it.

When we came out into Lake St. Peter, things were a bit more on the dusty side as we travelled along an abandoned railway corridor now known as the Hastings Heritage trail. We followed the trail to Linkie’s General Store & Gas Bar, where we topped up on fuel, and got some grub for ourselves. We had packed a lunch and snacks, but it is hard to pass up some Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream on a hot day. Linkie’s had a nice picnic area with tables and shade for us to enjoy our lunchtime snack.

A stop at Linkies for some Kawartha Dairy ice-cream was in order. 

From there, we backtracked slightly on the Hastings Heritage Trail before turning off and heading towards Whitney. We were glad to be off of the sandy (dusty) trail and back onto more forested trails, this portion of the route was as scenic as the first third of the journey, offering several scenic views along the trail. 

Two-thirds of the way through our journey brought us out to Whitney, Ontario, where we again stopped to fuel up. We stopped at the Algonquin Lunch Bar and Service Centre and took a quick break with a cold pop from the store and fuel for the machines again. 

Heading to Whitney, the weather continues to cooperate. 
Clear signage for ATVers is always appreciated. 
The view from four (large) wheels. 

Soon it was time to continue on the adventure, as we still had a ways to go to make it back to our starting point, and the comfort of the All Star resort. The last third of the first day's journey turned out to be the easiest portion of the trip, and the most scenic. The last leg along travelled along the Madawaska River, with beautiful scenery. There were many a canoer and kayaker on the river, enjoying a nice paddle on a beautiful day. I was happy to be on an ATV as opposed to in the water, as there appeared to be quite a few rapids to navigate along their route. On the other hand, my route was smooth and easygoing. 

As the day waned into evening, we made it full-circle back to the comfort of the All Star resort. We took a dip in the swimming area to remove the dust of the day, and set about making dinner, as we had a whole other day of adventuring ahead of us.

Sunday morning we got up and headed across the street on our ATVs for breakfast at the Madawaska Country Store. The one-stop-shop offered a small little restaurant on the one end, where we partook in a lovely breakfast to gear us up for the day. With breakfast done, we headed along the Madawaska River the opposite direction from where we had returned the previous day. We travelled along this old railway corridor which offered lots more to see, including an abandoned old truck we just had to have a closer look at. We didn’t linger along the river for long before we ventured off, following signs directing us to the Spectacle Lake Lodge

The route to this lodge was a bit more technical than we had seen thus far, but we were up to the challenge. Shortly before lunch, we were pulling into the parking lot of the lodge. The Spectacle Lake Lodge was more on the formal side than we expected, but they were more than happy to see some dusty ATVers come in and check out the brunch buffet. The dining area offered a beautiful view of Spectacle lake and a great spread!

ATV parking at the Madawaska Country Store.
Enjoying some breakfast before another big day. 
Arriving at Spectacle Lake Lodge

We departed the Spectacle Lake Lodge and followed our way along the trail until we came out to the infamous Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance lookout. The trail climbs way up a rocky route before you come to the lookout. The lookout has a warm-up shack, a picnic table, and a beautiful view! We got our fill of pictures before we continued on along the trail on our way to Barry’s Bay. The trail led us right into the heart of Barry’s Bay, where we were able to take our ATVs to the local shops and restaurants as we pleased. It is always nice to be in an ATV-friendly community. Time was running low, so we did not stay in Barry’s Bay for very much time before we caught the route back along the Madawaska River to our vehicles, as our time away had quickly come to an end.

Barry's Bay did not disappoint. 
You can see why we can't wait to get back to this area.

We only scratched the surface on the ATV adventures that could be had in this area. We enjoyed our the resort and would stay there again in a heartbeat. We have been back to adventure in the area again, but that is another story for another time!

A good time was had by all, myself included.
Madawaska gets our full approval. 
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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