An ATV Gem Hidden In The Kukagami Rough

Working for Dirt Trax Magazine for the past 14 years has given me the opportunity to ride and experience many parts of Ontario. While we do not have the interconnecting trail network like our neighbors in Québec we have many areas throughout the province that will give you some of the finest ATVing that one could ask for.  In the Northeastern Ontario tourism region there are numerous areas to ride such as Mattawa that has a really excellent organized trail system. Areas like Cochrane, Elliot Lake and Sault Ste. Marie also offer some excellent back country riding One such area in this region that I keep getting drawn back to that offers unlimited riding is the Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort on Kukagami Lake Northeast of Sudbury in the. Owner George Robbins is a very enthusiastic hands on owner and is one of these guys that gets it!!! and absolutely loves what he does for a living.

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The Sportsman’s Lodge has a long history of catering to outdoor enthusiasts as in the ninety’s was one of, and still is busiest winter snowmobile destinations in the province.  With over a 1000 km’s of signed and mapped trails George now is catering to upwards of 2500 ATV enthusiasts a year. With a long history of and mining and logging in this rugged piece of Ontario’s landscape, there are more miles of trails and old roads than one can imagine. With a lot of hard work George has been able to reopen and utilize these old and sometimes forgotten trails. Add to this mix more current logging roads where one good cut a year opens up access to more trails.

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Another important asset to this region is the rail bed to the North of Sudbury which runs East to West. Head East and you can access the communities along the highway #11 corridor, Warren, Verner Sturgeon Falls, Field and River Valley. Head West on the rail bed and you will cross over the very imposing trestle spanning the Wanapitei River. The rail trail will take you thru Skead on to Capreol where it ends. Again on this section of rail trail there are numerous trail options branching off the rail bed.

There are several options for full day loop trails with the Chiniguchi Trail being one of the favorite choices. There are 2 options here with the FULL Days! ride with a complete tour around Lake Wanapitei or your 2nd option where you ride up the East side of the lake swing back across the North end of the lake. It’s nice to have options. One of the other favorite full day’s rides is the Lower Goose Falls. This trail loops north of the lodge up towards the Sturgeon River; swings East and hooks back up onto the rail bed just West of River Valley. Again another full day’s ride. For these full days ride George’s staff will pack a lunch for you. Nice touch!

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For the 'extreme' enthusiast George has a loop called the Goat Trail and according to George you have to be on your game. He does this ride 4 or 5 times a year and after all is said and done  he wonder why he keeps doing it. Without a doubt no trip up here is complete without a visit to the top of Wolf Mountain where on a clear day the view is absolutely breath taking! 

George has partnered with Urs & Diane Bruner of Auld Reekie Lodge in Gowganda and is offering a 400 km. 2 day ride with an overnight stay in Gowganda. This scenic ride is not overly challenging but it is a good grind and requires early morning starts. What I really like about this ride is that with several trail options you are able to do the ride on ATV’s, Side by Sides or the Dual Sport Motorcycles, COOL!  I am thinking this adventure will grow with additional days added to the itinerary. Just Saying!! 

Many ATV enthusiasts are chomping at the bit for the snow to melt and get down and dirty, I have bin their and done that but as you get older I find that it is not my fix like it once was. What I am seeing is that many ATV enthusiasts are leaning towards more easy going scenic touring. The opportunities for fishing up here are abundant and honestly for me, that is what I enjoy doing with my SxS and ATV is fishing those back country lakes (and there are lots of lakes up here) that see little or no fishing pressure. I have had the opportunity to ride up here in the fall and it is spectacular and when up here I was surprised by the numbers of grouse I have seen. Again another opportunity, quite possibly another reason for a return visit.

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This corner of Northeastern Ontario’s wild backcountry offers unlimited opportunities for all ATV enthusiasts. It’s all their waiting for you. My next visit to the Sportsmans Lodge will be later this summer and we will be participating in the 2 day run up to Gowganda. This is a trip I have been looking forward to doing. Stay tuned. Northeastern Ontario has 1000’s of Km’s of logging roads to ride and explore and while we may not a true integrated trail system sometimes you have to step out of the BOX,  prepare yourself and become an explorer because the opportunities to rack up miles on your ATVare endless

View Sportsman's Lodge & Wilderness Resort in a larger map 

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About John Arkwright

Prolific writer/ adventurer for Supertrax Magazine, Dirt Trax Magazine, Go Snowmobiling Magazine, and New York Snowmobile Magazine.

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