14 Phenomenal Places to Bike Near Kenora

Saddle up and set out exploring this beautiful corner of the province.

Kenora is known for its beautiful rocky Canadian Shield and its proximity to water—you can’t roam too far without seeing lakes, rivers, beaches, and marshlands. But weaving their way between those waterways and scenic rocky outcrops are some epic mountain biking and gravel riding routes, not to mention roadways with big, inviting shoulders.

Saddle up and set off on a bike—gravel, road, or mountain—to find some secluded beaches, and empty trails leading right to where you want to go.

Cycling around town

The seasonal exhibits make the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre worth a visit in itself, but the centre also serves as the trailhead for six bike routes, all of which are well suited for beginners or families. Trails range from 15 to 36 kilometres and introduce the rider to the beautiful Canadian Shield landscape that surrounds Kenora.

A group of adults and children pause by the water while mountain biking
The Waa’say Gaa Boo trails provide awesome mountain bike riding close to town. Photo: Stephen Strachan

Mountain biking

Just west of downtown, you’ll find a bunch of trails off the Trans-Canada highway. The closest is the Waa’say Gaa Boo (Tunnel Island) network, starting from a parking lot just east of the Super 8 by Wyndham hotel on Lakeview Drive. An access road takes riders to a network of trails that do a good job of covering the circular northern part of Tunnel Island. The deeper you head into the forest, the gnarlier the trails. Locals describe it as rooty and rocky, best suited to the technically inclined.

A mountain bike is parked among ferns beside a body of water
The deeper you head into the forest, the gnarlier the trails. Photo: Stephen Strachan

About a 45-minute drive north of Kenora, the local Club Minaki maintains the Mink Lake Trails, a great collection of well-marked trails winding almost 20 kilometres through lush marshlands beside scenic Gun Lake.

Finally, south of Keewatin, there are five kilometres’ worth of multi-use trails in the Vernon Nature Area, some of which afford great lookouts over Lake of the Woods (of course, you have to climb to enjoy them).

And keep in mind, the town of Kenora has begun work on the Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows mountain bike trail system. Locals are excited about a new batch of trails now in the works.

Woman mountain bikes along a forest trail
Make the most of the multi-use trails in the Vernon Nature Area. Photo: Stephen Strachan

Road Cycling

From downtown, you can cycle east and south along the Trans-Canada highways 17 and 71 toward Rushing River Provincial Park, with lots of overnight camping. The 28 kilometres of highway in between have decent shoulders, which might encourage you to keep going an extra 50 kilometres to Sioux Narrows.

Just south of the Kenora Bypass (Highway 17A), cottagers love to link up trails around Rabbit Lake (park at the Log Cabin Tavern). Round the east end of the lake on Rabbit Lake Road and Birchwood Road and ride out to the Garrow Park Beach.

Gravel Riding

There are so many gravel roads in this area it’s impossible to name them all; however, locals like heading north of the city near the Kenora Bypass to ride along some windy gravel roads with views of grand homes and cottages on the lake.

The smooth Anderson Branch Road links up with the Carlton Branch Road for a 30-km loop off of Reddit Road, just north of town. Shorter but somewhat busier is the 50-km Coker Road – Redditt Road loop which circles Black Sturgeon Lake.

Road bike sits propped against a boulder at the side of the road along a waterway
Kilometres upon kilometres of road biking awaits. Photo: Stephen Strachan

Bike shop

The Hardwear Company is the local place to find your spare tubes and servicing. They are also bringing back the weekly riding. If you’d like to ride with friendly staff and locals, the shop runs group rides twice a week, for mountain bikers of all levels.

Post-Ride Eats

Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, right in Kenora, is the place to go for seasonally changing menus and crisp local brews, including the fun Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale.

The Hungry Pug has great vegetarian options as well as burgers and poutine for hearty fare after a hefty ride.

For classic wings and steak near the shores of Rabbit Lake, The Log Cabin Tavern is cozy and offers filling fare.

Off the Saddle

Kenora is known for its paddling adventures and fabulous beaches. From downtown, Norman Beach is a great place to refresh or, farther afield, the Anicinabe RV Park and Campsite has a welcoming beach.

For a fishing tour or canoe outing, Green Adventures has all the rentals and guides required to get you started.

Roll With It

With a complement of bike routes and overnight rates to suit all skills and styles, the cycling opportunities in and around Kenora are sure to please every two-wheeled visitor to Northwestern Ontario’s Sunset Country.

About Melanie Chambers

Melanie Chambers is a writer and university instructor living in Toronto. Ever since cycling from Holland to Spain in 1996, Melanie has penned stories about her amateur athletic challenges such as cycling 105 uphill kilometres in Taiwan's KOM Challenge road race and hiking Northern Africa’s highest peak. As an editor and instructor, she has conducted writing workshops around the globe. Locally, she’s provided workshops at the Alice Munro’s Writers and Readers Festival and Western University’s Homecoming. When she’s not on the road, she teaches food and travel writing courses at Western University.

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