8 of Ontario’s Most Popular Trail Networks According to Trailforks Data

Here are the province's top mountain bike trails.

Trailforks is an online trail database, map and management system that is very popular with mountain bikers. It allows riders to find trail networks and to log and share their activities. Installing the app on your phone and using the heatmap option is a great way to discover popular trail networks and the favourite trails within those networks.

In Ontario, we are lucky to have a vast number of easily accessible mountain bike trail networks with thousands of kilometers to explore. The province of Ontario is massive, spanning over 1500 km from the western border to the eastern edge, and in between are countless opportunities to ride. Trail systems here are all unique, featuring everything from rugged technical trails to hand-built flow trails and multi-use double track.

Let’s take a tour of some of the most popular trail networks to ride from across the province, starting in Kenora by the Manitoba border and continuing east to the densely populated southeast region near Toronto.

man jumps mountain bike over a hill in the forest near Kenora
Biking for all experience levels. Photo: Adam Medland

Tunnel Island, Kenora

Tunnel Island features several multi-use trails, making it a popular destination for mountain bikers and hikers alike in Kenora. Here you will find a welcoming trailhead, lots of parking and signage leading into 9 km of technical singletrack. These trails weave around both the east and west end of the island with connecting options throughout the middle portion. Keep an eye out for wildlife and be sure to stop and observe the turtles in the pond.

While Trailforks shows Tunnel Island as the mountain biking hotspot in Kenora, it is actually just the hub of a much larger trail network. Local rider Barry Kraynyk explains that there are more than 25 km of trail that are spread out in sections throughout the city. He says, “with most of the trails never more than a few minutes apart, it means that you can ride from one end of town to the other, jumping in and out of different trails along the way.

Taking a “trail tour” of town and experiencing the beauty of the area’s forests, waterways and lakes from the cockpit of a mountain bike is something unique about Kenora.

mountain bike leans against tree on scenic forested path
Find your solitude. Photo: Adam Medland

While you’re in Kenora:

Bike shop: Stop by the Hardwear Company on Main Street

Popular dining: Check out Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, Bob’s Burger Bar and the Log Cabin Tavern

Accommodations: There is a Super 8 hotel on Tunnel Island

Local lore: Pay a visit to The Muse (Lake of the Woods Museum), spend some time at Rushing River Provincial Park and don’t forget to take a selfie with the giant fish known as Husky the Muskie.

mountain biker rides down forest trail in Dryden
Challenge yourself. Photo: Windy Lilholt

Ghost Lake, Dryden

The Ghost and Mavis Lakes area offers a Crown land network of singletrack wilderness trails developed by outdoor recreationalists for mountain bikers and hikers to share. These trails are rocky and challenging, so they’re most appealing to experienced riders. The majority of the trails are rated intermediate to advanced in difficulty with the technically demanding Ferguson Trail being a favourite for skilled riders while The Boneyard is popular with riders of all abilities.

Besides the singletrack, there are also bush roads and forest trails that create a network with over 20 km in total length. According to Trailforks, The Boneyard and Rollercoaster are the most popular trails, followed by Starlight and the Hill Billy Trail.

While you’re in Dryden:

Popular dining: Riverview Lodge has a great lounge and an outdoor patio with a leisurely atmosphere. The Patricia Inn Family Restaurant is a favourite for Dryden’s locals and Kano Reid is a great little coffee shop downtown.

Accommodations: There is a Best Western, a Comfort Inn and a Holiday Inn Express all within a short drive to the trails.

Local lore: When in Dryden, check out the Roy Wilson Suspension Bridge and be sure to get a selfie with Max the Moose. Ghost Lake is also known to be prime habitat for the Common Loon, with up to 200 of the birds residing in the area at any given time.

girl rides mountain bike down trail in fall
You're in for a treat when riding at Trowbridge Forest. Photo: Keith Ailey

Trowbridge Forest & Shuniah Mines, Thunder Bay

The Trowbridge Forest is a massive area of greenspace located in Thunder Bay. It consists of over 35 km of trails between Centennial Park, Shuniah Mines, Trowbridge Falls Park and Kinsmen Park. In the winter, this system is groomed for fat biking, making it a year-round destination. The whole area is the result of the vision and determination of the local volunteer Black Sheep Mountain Bike Club.

The main trailhead is the Kinsmen Park parking lot, which features a pump track, progressive jump lines, kids’ trails, a campground, washroom facilities and a huge trail map. Cross the Current River bridge from Kinsmen and you immediately enter Centennial Park where the singletrack “Conveyor Belt” will lead you right up into the heart of Shuniah Mines. This old silver mine area is a singletrack hub where the Blacksheep club continues to improve both the quality and variety of the trails.

Plan to spend at least a few hours riding here because once you start exploring the vast network you will be having so much fun that you will likely lose track of time. Some of the older trails feature technical singletrack with roots and rocks but many of the newer trails are machine-built and they flow naturally across the varied topography of the park. The most popular trails to ride include Grand Chasm, Dagobah, Peek-a-boo, Stranger, Crossover, Balsam Connector, Drift, Vein, Magma Day, and the Mesa Lookout Trail. There is no charge to ride any of the trails in this massive system.

girl rides mountain bike on Thunder Bay forest trail
There's riding for everyone in Thunder Bay. Photo: Keith Ailey

While you’re in Thunder Bay:

Bike shops: Fresh Air Experience, Rollin Thunder, Petrie’s and 3 Ride Bicycle round out Thunder Bay’s local bike shop scene.

Popular dining: Favourites include Sleeping Giant Brewery, Bay Village Coffee, The Foundry Pub, Both Hands Pizzeria

Accommodations: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel and the Courthouse Hotel are both within a 10-minute drive from Kinsmen Park.

Local lore: Visit the Terry Fox Lookout; take a hike (or camp) at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park; get a blast from the past at Fort William Historical Park; and view the monumental landform of the Sleeping Giant from Hillcrest Park.

man rides mountain bike on trail near Timmins
Ride the trails at beautiful Hersey Lake in the fall. Photo: Pepita Jones

Hersey Lake Conservation Area, Timmins

The Hersey Lake trails are within the Hershey Lake Conservation Area and they connect with the larger Timmins Recreational Trail Network, contributing to a total of nearly 70 km of multi-use trails. Starting just northeast of Timmins on Highway 655, the trail network weaves through magnificent jack pine forests and offers plenty of beginner-friendly terrain as well as some more challenging trails.

Favourite trails here include Golden Springs, Brutal Bruin, Labrador Tease and Ridgerunner.

While you’re in Timmins:

Bike shops: Trails n Slopes is the place to go if you need a bike repair when in Timmins

Popular dining: Siva’s Family Restaurant, Christopher’s Coffee House and Full Beard Brewing will keep you full and hydrated

Accommodations: Super 8 and Comfort Inn are both within riding distance to the trails

Local lore: Visit High Falls, Science Timmins and the Hollinger Golf Club

man rides mountain bike near Sudbury
Discover varied riding at the Walden Trails. Photo: Keith Ailey

Walden Trails Park, Sudbury

Managed by the Walden Mountain Bike Club, these trails are located in the 350-acre Walden Trails Park off Regional Road 55, just east of Sudbury. Walden is a great destination with six marked routes that cover all ranges of riding ability. The distinctive feature here are the massive and smooth granite rocks which many of the trails utilize.

The terrain is rolling and moderately hilly, with numerous rock outcrops typical of Sudbury’s iconic Precambrian Shield landscape. Walden is home to 15 km of incredible singletrack, in addition to the 23 km of doubletrack that’s groomed for cross country skiing in the winter. Popular trails to ride here include Ferns, Whitney’s Whip, Seven Up, Fish & Chips and Honey Badger.

Some of the trails are also groomed for winter fat biking. There is no fee to ride here (in the summer mountain bike season), but riders are encouraged to make a donation or buy a membership through the Waldon Mountain Bike Club’s website.

While you’re in Sudbury:

Bike shops: Check out the Outside Store, Sessions Ride Company and Adventure365 for sales, service and rentals

Popular dining: Spacecraft Brewery, Old Rock Coffee Roasters, Tucos Taco Lounge offer a taste of Sudbury

Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Towneplace Suites are among the many highly rated places to stay

Local lore: Be sure to visit Science North, the Big Nickel and Dynamic Earth, and Onaping Falls

girl rides mountain bike on Hiawatha Highlands trail
Discover Algoma's bike trails year-round. Photo: Keith Ailey

Hiawatha Highlands, Sault Ste Marie

Algoma Country’s Hiawatha Highlands are home to an impressive trail network encompassing three mountain bike trail systems and more than 30 individual trails. The fantastic variety of fun singletrack here means that you can easily put in 50 kilometers of mountain biking and never get bored. Year-round cycling is also available with a good portion of the trails being groomed for winter fat biking. The vibrant scene here is a testament to the efforts of the volunteer Sault Cycling Club.

While the older trails are all hand-built, the newest ones are machine-made with big berms, rollers and banked corners that all come together to create some great flow. Popular trails include Crystal, Nemesis, Sideline, Guillotine and Berm Baby Berm. After your ride, enjoy a cone from Hiawatha Ice Cream, located right beside the parking lot.

While in Sault Ste. Marie:

Bike shops: Vélorution is just minutes away from the trails while Algoma Bicycle Company is downtown.

Popular dining: Fuel up and enjoy a local brew at The Breakfast Pig, Giovanni’s, Outspoken Brewery, Northern Superior Brewing Company

Accommodations: The Water Tower Inn is a popular hotel within a few minutes of the trail.

Local lore: While in “the Soo” check out the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Mill Market and the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada on the St. Marys River.

man mountain bikes through forest along the Laurentian Escarpment
This hidden gem is waiting to be ridden. Photo: Keith Ailey

Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area & Three Towers, North Bay

The Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area is a popular spot with a huge amount of trails as well as a spectacular view of the city of North Bay and Lake Nipissing. But there is also a second hidden gem to explore when visiting North Bay with your bike. Just a few minutes drive northeast from the Laurentian Ski Hill are the Three Towers Trails.

While there are only a handful of trails here, they will appeal to riders of all abilities with Stoneridge and Hindsight both offering a real technical challenge for even advanced mountain bikers.

man navigates mountain bike between large boulders
Trails you'll want to ride time and time again. Photo: Keith Ailey

While in North Bay:

Bike shops: Stop by the Wheelhouse Cycle, Cheapskates and Cycle Works

Popular dining: Gateway City Brewery, Twiggs Coffee Roasters and My Thai Palace will all appeal to mountain bikers visiting North Bay

Accommodations: North Bay has many hotels including a Hampton Inn and a Fairfield Inn

Local lore: Take a break from the bike and hike the Duchesnay Falls Trails or give the legs a soak at Silver Beach Park after your ride

man races past billboard on Oro Station mountain bike trail
Ride the Hardwood Hills. Photo: Marilyn Ailey

Hardwood Hills, Oro Station

A Nordic skiing and mountain biking mecca, Hardwood Hills Ski and Bike offers 34 km of rolling doubletrack and 50 km of challenging singletrack trails. There are trails here for every level and ability with 11 different marked routes ranging from the 5-km Nice n Easy to the 15-km Radical course.

These trails have hosted major events like the Canadian National XC Championships and the Pan American Games races. Hardwood is a full-service venue offering a retail store, a bike shop with mechanics and rentals of everything you could need including mountain bikes, high-performance bikes and fat bike options. Daily trail passes range from free (under 5 years old) to $20 for adults.

The combination of Ontario’s expansive size and variety of terrain makes it a real treat to explore with a mountain bike. Every community within the province seems to have developed some fun trails to ride, with the vast majority of them being free of charge and easy to access. In Northern Ontario specifically, the time, effort and money invested into building and maintaining all the trail systems is nothing short of amazing. Download the Trailforks app and get out there to explore as much as you can!

About Keith Ailey

Keith Ailey is a visual artist, writer and high school teacher based in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He spends all his free time hiking, biking, paddling and skiing with his family in the beautiful outdoor surroundings of Northwestern Ontario.

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