5 Haunted Cycling Routes & Trails in Ontario

Get spooked and spoked on these awesome rides.

Once thriving towns with working mills, schools and general stores; today, all that remains are abandoned relics of the pioneering days. But, the cemeteries and homes that remain still haunt visitors.

Some of these haunted and spooky places are located along some epic cycling routes, too. If you like a good thrill on the bike, why not pair it with a chilling walk through the past?

Find our picks for the best haunted cycling routes in Ontario below.

The Old Nipissing Ghost Road, North Bay

This former pioneer region along the Old Nipissing Road dried up when plans for a railway were abandoned and the logging industry evaporated. Today you can see the dilapidated log cabins, cemeteries, homesteads and barns that still line the roadway. The Rye Cemetery has gravestones from the German, Swiss and English pioneers who settled in the area, hoping for a better life.

The organizers at the Voyageur Cycling Route, a 645 kilometre route between Ottawa and Sudbury, have created four unique routes on and around the Nippissing Road. The four routes range from the shortest middle loop of 64.5 kilometres. Warning: be self sufficient on this route as it doesn’t pass through any stores or amenities.

The longest option, at 113 kilometres, passes through the north edge of Algonquin Park and starts in the village of South River.

For some good punchy climbs, the 77 kilometre route which starts in Seguin Falls offers a glimpse of the former village and cemeteries along the way dating back to 1886.

Be sure your tires are bigger, from 38 millimetres and up, to handle the gravel roads that are sometimes chunky.

Events & Tours

Ghost Gravel runs an annual Almaguin Event that incorporates cycling along the Old Nipissing Road. Missing Link Adventure Tours offers guided and self-guided cycling tours along the Old Nipissing Road, including meal plans and accommodations.

Where to Stay

The Comfort Inn Lakeshore in North Bay has free breakfast and pet stays; it’s also minutes from Lake Nipissing and downtown.

Where to Eat

The Raven & Republic is popular with cyclists—enjoy great burgers and craft brews.

Bike Shops

North Bay is blessed with three shops: Cheapskates, Wheelhouse, and Cycle Works.

a group of cyclists riding on a haunted trail near Bracebridge
After riding around spooky haunts near Bracebridge, take a ride on the Resource Management Centre trails. Photo: Will Prentice // @willridesbikes

Bracebridge

You’ll find many ghostly sites around Bracebridge, many of which can be incorporated into cycling routes and tours of the area.

The first spooky locale is Germania, an abandoned town that was once home to 200 residents. When the dreams of agricultural heaven didn’t pan out, and a well-publicized infanticide and series of tragedies hit the small town, it dried up. With many sideroads in the area, you can easily plan a looped gravel bike ride that passes by the ghost town’s old schoolhouse.

For a smooth paved road ride, the 30-kilometre route between Bracebridge and Port Carling takes you through a spooky place! Take Hwy 4 north from Bracebridge and pass through Falkenburg, a former town that sprouted from the stagecoach traffic going back and forth between Muskoka and North Bay. Today, not much is left of those days except the remnants of the old mill.

If mountain biking is more your thing, after you’ve visited Falkenburg, bike the 10 kilometres to the area’s newest double and singletrack trail system: the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre. Maintained by the Muskoka Off Road Cycling Association, enjoy weaving through trees and over slabs of exposed Canadian Shield on this network of 31 trails.

Where to Stay

Tipi Adventure has three giant tipis for sleeping in Muskoka. While there you can hike, boat, swim and go for a wagon ride.

Where to Eat

Indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine at El Pueblito, a local favourite in Bracebridge.

Bike Shop

Pick all the bike gear you need at Ecclestone Cycle in Bracebridge.

Wawa & Michipicoten

The town of Michipicoten, located nine kilometres southeast of Wawa, was once a booming town of copper mining and fishing. It had a school, hotel and bustling harbour on Lake Superior.

Today, you can see remnants of those who passed through the area. The Mackenzie/Bethune Cemetery has some of the oldest headstones in the province, dating from 1833.

Michipicoten Island is also quite spooky—the First Nations who first lived in the area shunned the island saying it was inhabited by mean giants. Today the lone lighthouse is a reminder of its deep history. Michipicoten Provincial Park has beautiful beaches, hiking and the remains of a former Hudson Bay trading post.

Road cyclists can do a 24-kilometre loop ride from Michipicoten to Wawa and back along gravel and paved roads. Start by taking the Tremblay Flats Road north; make sure to pack lots of water and snacks as it's quite remote. The 15-kilometre gravel ride should take you about an hour. Leaving south on the Old Tote Road (Mission Falls Road), get your fix of blueberries, strawberries and wine at the Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm and Winery.

Where to Stay

The Mystic Isle Motel is a 10-minute drive to Lake Superior which has wonderful white-sand beaches. Basic and clean, the motel is also on the bike route.

Where to Eat

Half-pound burgers and a giant fireplace are the highlights of the Wawa Goose Bar & Grill.

Bike Shop

Wawa is too small a town to have a bike shop, so make sure you stop by Algoma Bicycle Co. or Duke of Windsor Sports in Sault Ste. Marie on your drive up.

exterior of the Mather-Walls House, a haunted house in Kenora
Take a ride to spooky Mather-Walls House. Photo: Mather-Walls House

Kenora & Keewatin

Ride along the shoulder of Hwy 17 for six kilometres west of Kenora to Keewatin—one of the earliest settlements in the region. Not far from there, you can find the Mather-Walls House, which is, in spooky terms, an uber-haunted Queen Anne-style home dating back to 1889. In 2016, one intern said she was constantly spooked by the sounds of footsteps along the stairs and catching something moving out of the corner of her eye. Doors opened and closed and a rocking chair would rock instantaneously.

In 2009, a psychic visited the house to investigate paranormal activity. The psychic said there were spirits of a young child and woman in the house. Here is a haunting video. Tours are available and you can reserve a spot to enjoy high tea, if you’re not too scared.

The jury is still out, but you can shake off the spooks on some nearby bike trails. In fact, although it's small, the three-kilometre trail in Mink Bay is a beautiful ride through wetlands and wilderness. If you cycle back to Kenora, just north of the city, the Tunnel Island Mountain Bike Trails offer 13 kilometres of singletrack trails that are mostly blue green. The Bison Trail A, a 3.8-kilometre loop, has a great lookout over a lake. The terrain is rocky and rooty at times. Come prepared.

Where to Stay

Perch Bay Resort is a quiet lodge/cabin-style resort with fishing and paddlesports.

Where to Eat

The Boathouse is situated on the water and is the burger and beverage spot in town to go.

Allan’s Mills

The gravel cycling around this spooky town is incredible, but first the scary stuff. Allan’s Mills is one of the most intact ghost towns in Ontario. Located west of Perth in Lanark County, the former milling town was established in 1872. Today, you can still see the mill, now a private residence, general store, blacksmith shop and Scotch Line Cemetery.

From Smith Falls—about 30 kilometres from Allan’s Mills—gravel riders can hop on the Cataraqui Trail that meanders through wetlands, over bridges and alongside lakes. There are many picnic stops on the interactive map.

The area is a labyrinth of gravel rides so you can take your pick here of rider-tested routes.

For mountain bikers, Merrickville has a network of trails in Limerick Forest North. The green trails are defined as mountain bike trails, but a gravel bike is sufficient with large enough tires.

Where to Stay

The Best Western in Smiths Falls has free breakfast and a pool.

Where to Eat

Dine in big helpings of Hungarian dumplings, coleslaw and schnitzel at the European diner My Place Restaurant in Smith Falls.

Bike Shop

Dave the Bike Mechanic will fix all your two-wheel troubles.

The Airport Hotel, South Porcupine

It creaks and fills rooms with smoke, only to be sucked out in an instant. Rumour is the 80-year-old The Airport Hotel situated on Porcupine Lake is haunted; however, it has nice spirits, not the evil, menacing kind. Owners say you can hear running and creaks throughout the historic hotel, which includes a wooden phone booth that still works.

Today, you can no longer stay at The Airport Hotel—instead it runs as a bar and grill and hosts local events and talent. Summers are a particularly great time to visit as you can sit on the patio and take in the view of the lake.

Start your day with a ride at the Timmins Trail System, located just west of South Porcupine. This trail system is suited for beginner riders with 26 green trails and is groomed for fat biking in the winter. For a gentle gravel ride through a birch forest, the Scout Rock Trail can’t be beat.

The Timmins Trail System also feeds into Hersey Lake Conservation Area, which contains three blacks, 21 greens and 14 blues for a grand total of 35 kilometres of singletrack trails, many through dense jack pine forest.

Once you’ve had your fill of mountain biking, take the Rotary Trail to into South Porcupine and ride to The Airport Hotel for some post-ride eats—and maybe some spooks.

Where to Stay

Stay at the Balsam Suites Boutique Inn & Residence in nearby Timmins and enjoy continental breakfast, free in-room movies, 24-hour access to a fully equipped Guest Kitchen, high-speed internet and more.

Where to Eat

The Airport Hotel, of course!

Bike Shop

Independently owned, O’Reilly Sports is a local favourite spot for all things bikes.

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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