Top 10 Reasons to Ride in Ontario’s Highlands

Welcoming towns, well-kept roads, as well as historic sites, cafes, and a range of accommodations—it's time to ride Ontario's Highlands!

Located halfway between Montreal and Toronto, Ontario's Highlands region has so much to offer. If you haven't had the chance to discover it yet, here are 10 reasons that should convince you to go there without further delay.

1. Motorcyclists are warmly welcomed

Ontario’s Highlands offers several routes to impress you. With routes ranging in various difficulties while covering different areas of the region; there is something to please everyone! The smaller route, the Rideau Ridge, is 261 kilometers while the larger Highlands Loop is 1000 kilometers. It must be said that the region is vast. I am on my fifth visit, and each time I always make wonderful new discoveries. Just go to the website: and request your road map. They will send it to you completely free of charge. The map also includes various useful and interesting information such as essential stops, rest areas, service stations and repair shops. They have really thought of everything to make your planning much easier.

2. Accommodations

Ready to ride at the Best Western!

Whether you are a fan of camping or prefer the comfort of a cozy bed, you will find a place that will meet your needs and respect your budget. Inns, motels cottages, bed and breakfasts, and campsites; there is no shortage of diversity. Once again, I invite you to consult Ride the Highlands to find several recommendations. While other accommodations are available, the ones listed on the website have been vetted for motorcycle friendliness as they pay special attention to our needs

3. The Back Forty Artisan Cheese

Owned and operated by two passionate young entrepreneurs, this charming cheese factory is simply exceptional. Located on a quaint farm in Mississippi Station, Back Forty Artisan Cheese is definitely worth a visit. Jeff, a motorcyclist himself, and his partner Jenna make six varieties of artisanal cheeses, each as delicious as the other. They count among their clientele several Canadian chefs, as well as the most prominent hotels in Toronto. You can also find their products in the delicatessens of the region including the Perth Cheese Shop, as well as in their shop if you are lucky enough to be in the area on a Friday or Saturday. In addition to enjoying their tasting menu, you can also pay a visit to the animals, admire the beauty and tranquility of the place and enjoy their magnificent patio with pizza oven. Imagine treating yourself to a pizza, prepared right before your eyes by their chef after a day of riding – yes please!  All of the ingredients come from the farm. It can't get any fresher than that!

4. The Roads

Experience the thrills and hills on Letterkenny Road.

Beautiful, winding, crossing towns and villages, fields, valleys and mountains, bordered by waterways, forests and magnificent landscapes, the roads of the Highlands are inviting and exhilarating. Take advantage of the Top 10 roads listed on the map you ordered or take a look on the website in order to save time in your planning. Personally, I have a soft spot for Letterkenny Road, as well as for the incredible curves of Westport Road.

5. Perth

With just under 7,000 residents, Perth is an utterly lovely and dynamic city with its shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, distilleries, microbreweries and museums. The architecture is remarkable. It is the perfect place to run a few errands since you will find all the necessary services there. You can get around the city center easily on foot which is quite convenient, especially if you want to have a pint or two with your meal. Golfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, cycling, spa, hiking, there is no shortage of activities. In addition, its residents are so welcoming.

6. Woody's Cycles

How to describe this mythical place... Hmmm let’s start by saying that it is a treasure trove for motorcyclists. It’s also a museum, a KTM and Beta dealership, a motocross track, a repair service for off-road bikes, a motorcycle cemetery and so much more. David Percival, aka Woody, is a racing legend and a very charismatic character. With several acres of land, he has laid out a track to practice off-road motorcycling that you can use for $12 a day. It takes about 2 hours to go around the course. Having participated in and won national championships, Woody now shares his mechanical knowledge in order to advise you on the purchase, maintenance and repair of your machine. If you are looking for used parts, you are likely to find it there too.

7. Bodies of Water

Streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, canals—Ontario's Highlands are full of waterways. Not only are they pleasing to the eye, most are also swimmable. With roads following bodies of water, you can expect bends, drops and incredible views during your ride. Make sure you brake along the way and take a few shots at one of the lookouts you will come across.

8. Cafés

Fuel up at Madawaska Coffee Co. in Barry's Bay.

What better way to discover a village and its locals than to stop at a small café. Forget the big chains, treat yourself to quality coffee while supporting the local economy. The decor will be much warmer and the food more comforting. For me, my favourites are Oh-el-la Café in Calabogie, as well as the Madawaska Coffee Co. in Barry’s Bay.

9. Bent Anchor Bar and Restaurant

On the banks of the Madawaska River in Combermere, the Bent Anchor is a stylish bar and restaurant. You can get there by motorbike and car but also by boat, and even by seaplane.

You can eat outside, either under the covered terrace or on the patio, and there is also a beach where you can sip one of their famous craft cocktails. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food delicious, the beer very cold and the meat well-smoked. What more could you ask for?

10. The seasons

It's always a perfect time to ride Ontario's Highlands. In the spring, nature comes back to life while in the summer months riders come to get away from the heat of the big city, enjoy the great outdoors, and breathe the sweet aromas of the forest. In autumn, riders can enjoy majestic colors and crisp days.

The Highlands is simply a must for any motorcyclist.

About Nadine Lauzon

Nadine is a flight attendant from Montreal, with a passion for motorcycles. A Moto Guzzi and Harley rider, Nadine is the owner of Montreal on the Side, team rider for Mad Squirrel Company and collabs with Chicks and Machines on her free time. A lover of music and life, you will find her rocking out to tunes both on and off her bike.

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