Connect with nature on the cheap
When planning a second motorcycle camping trip (read about the first one here), it was only fitting that the Temagami area would rank high on the list. Finlayson Point and Marten River Provincial Parks have plenty to offer any camper, and all within a five-hour drive north of Toronto.
After a wet spring, it was refreshing to know that the weather was supposed to cooperate for the next few days. Getting an early start on the Royal Distributing Ducati had me heading north up Highway 11 through cottage country. Being midweek, and early in the camping season, it was the perfect time to get away.
Arriving at Finlayson Point Provincial Park in mid-afternoon gave me plenty of time to check in, explore the park, and set up camp. The park staff were eager to help with anything that I would require throughout my stay. The Warden personally delivered my firewood to my site, which saved having to carry it from the main office or strap it to the bike. After chatting for a few minutes, he took me on a tour of the park’s cabin, located right on the water. This would be ideal for motorcyclists, as it sleeps up to six people and would save you from carrying camping gear along your journey.
A quick ride around the park included stops at the two marked beaches on the 47-hectare property. Most places around Northern Ontario have noticeably smaller shorelines due to the higher water levels this spring. If fishing is your thing, then be sure to bring along your rod as lake tout, whitefish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch can all be found in Lake Temagami. This could make for a great meal over the campfire.
Once back at my campsite, it didn’t take long to string up my Hennessy Hammock and get a fire going. There was still some warmth in the air, but it cooled down quickly as the sun began to set. Relaxing by the heat from the fire, the bike resting for the evening, and my Joe Rocket riding gear keeping me comfortable made for a perfect way to wrap up the night. Climbing into my Kelty sleeping bag early proved to be a great idea, as I planned to get an early start come morning.
The sun rose, and it wasn’t long before I was thinking about heading south to my next destination. After breaking down camp, loading up the bike, and a visit to the comfort station shower facilities, it was time to head south on Highway 11. A quick 40-km rip south had me pulling into Marten River Provincial Park. The park offers many amenities including three beaches, private campsites, a lending program for fishing gear, and hiking trails. There is a park store on site that sells clothing items, souvenirs, maps, ice, firewood, and books if you forgot anything at home.
The Transition trail offers three routes, with a total of 5 km of moderate trails that would suit all skill levels. Bring your camera because there are plenty of birdwatching opportunities, including warblers, flycatchers, hawks, owls, and ducks that nest in the area each year. A 4.2-km hike around the outside loop took just over an hour.
Temagami has a lookout tower that provides an excellent view, but unfortunately it was closed for renovations while I was in town. If venturing up to the tower on two wheels, be sure to take caution, as some sections of the road could have washouts or loose gravel. Both Finlayson Point and Marten River Provincial Parks are easily accessible from Highway 11. Both parks offer laundry facilities, so washing your riding gear isn’t a concern if you’re travelling light.
Load up those bikes with camping gear, take advantage of a rental cabin within the park, and enjoy all that moto-camping has to offer. Ride up for a night, cruise some of the twisty roads in the area, or extend your stay for multiple days. Ontario Parks is a cost-effective way to travel Northern Ontario, and what better way to do so than by the seat of a motorcycle? Be sure to book your campsites early on the Ontario Parks website to avoid missing out on your favourite destinations.
Follow Ryan Hawkins from Canuck Powersports on social media as he travels to multiple Ontario Parks throughout the season.