Less is More on Highway 522

The freshly paved stretch of this "simple Northern road" offers more than meets the eye.

If less is more, then Highway 522 is perfect. As number 19 on the list of Top 30 Motorcycle Roads in Ontario, Highway 522 is described as a simple Northern road. I would agree, and see it as a compliment. This is not a road where you muscle your bike through a bunch of twists, nor is it a road where you flick on the cruise control and wait for it to be over. Highway 522 is about you and your bike going from point A to point B and wanting to do it again when it’s over.

Where is it?

Located south of North Bay and traversing between Hwy 11 to the east and Hwy 69 to the west, the 110-km Highway 522 plays an important role in Ontario’s mototouring landscape. This simple Northern road is the top end for the Explorers' Edge motorcycle touring Big Loop, and the bottom of Northeastern Ontario's Lake Nipissing Circle Tour. At the same time, it acts as the border line between the two regions.

The Ride

Turning west from Highway 11 at Trout Creek, you quickly get into the rhythm of big sweepers, extensive views, and excellent pavement. At the halfway point, the road straightens and cuts through a blanket of trees, offering only glimpses of the waterways just beyond the tree line: a remote riding experience that's usually reserved for roads further North.

Freshly paved surface of the eastern half of Highway 522

Road conditions are now excellent. While the east end of Highway 522 has been a pleasure to ride for many seasons, the western half was fighting a losing battle with Northern seasonal weather demands and becoming a patch-over-patch bumpy mess. Well, no more: I'm happy to inform that the eastern half has now been repaved, making the Highway 522 ride experience simply awesome. That said, the shoulders are still gravel and require attention when pulling off or deploying the kickstand. Also as is typical in the North, watch out for sand in early season and wildlife at all times.

Fuelling Up

When you mention remote, one might think that fuelling your ride may be a problem, but that’s not the case as there are two filling options along Highway 522. You can gas up at the halfway point at Buchanan's ACE Hardware in Port Loring (premium fuel available) and again at the western end at Grundy Lake Supply Post. Keep in mind that there is no fuel in Trout Creek as you turn off Highway 11. So be sure you have enough for the 50 or so kilometres to get to Port Loring.

Stay and Eat

Nice view from our table at Jake's Place in Port Loring

A visit to Port Loring is not complete without a bite to eat at local favourites Roxie’s Diner and/or Jake’s Place, where good food is shared with good company. Judging by its shiny appearance, The Port Shores is new to the Port Loring scene; here you can grab a burger, a coffee, or take in their historical boat tours of the Pickerel River waterway that connects the village of Port Loring to the small former logging community of Lost Channel. At the west end of Highway 522, the Grundy Lake Supply Post also has a reputation for good eats and delicious ice cream.

Taking a break at The Port Shores in Port Loring

If spending the night is in your plans, you can grab a room at the Northland Motel or The Lost Fox B&B in Port Loring. Or plan a stay at one of the cottage resorts in the area, like the Pine Grove Resort. If moto camping is on your bucket list, this might be the time, as Grundy Lake Provincial Park is on route and offers up some of the best camping in Ontario.

Yes, less is more when it comes to Highway 522, and it’s good thing. It might be about you and your bike going from point A to point B, but with a remote vibe, a friendly community along the way, and options for food and accommodations, there's more here than meets the eye. Now repaved and ready to roll, that number 19 on the list of Top 30 Motorcycle Roads in Ontario’s ranking just may be on its way up.

About Martin Lortz

Martin Lortz is a freelance photographer/writer specializing in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether he is covering adventure motorcycling, kayak fishing or family oriented outdoor pursuits, his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the people that partake in it, is evident in his work. His photos and articles have appeared in magazines such as Ski Canada, Explore, Bike, Mountain Life, Couloir, Kayak Angler and Family Camping, as well as in calendars, catalogs and brochures.

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