Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Snowmobile Touring in Northeastern Ontario

The idea of spending a few days living from the seat of your snowmobile exploring Northeastern Ontario’s vast trail network might seem intimidating to some. Speaking from personal experience, the thought of trying to cram everything I presume necessary for day-to-day survival in to a space equal in size to your typical carryon luggage seemed impossible. But after a couple touring experiences you realize how little you actually need, and in fact it’s that striping down of every day burdens that makes time spent on tour so addicting.

This applies to all forms of touring be it motorcycle, car, or boat, but there is a particular exploratory aspect to snowmobile touring. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that you are traversing areas that can only be reached during the winter season on pathways that will soon melt away. So if you are considering a multi-day snowmobile adventure here a few on tour insights to get you motivated.

Where to start

Every memorable adventure has to begin somewhere. Luckily with many established snowmobile staging points in Northeastern Ontario, picking a starting point is easy. You can choose to park your trailer at the trailhead or better yet, at one of the many accommodation options where you can leave your rig for the duration of the tour. At the same time, you will enjoy a good night's rest and an early start in the morning.

Where To

With 6,000 groomed and signed kilometres of snowmobile trail crisscrossing Northeastern Ontario, choosing a destination might not be easy. Luckily some of the best choices have been pre-made in the form of five distinct touring loops to choose from.

Morning Rituals

Pitter patter let’s get at ‘er--snowmobilers seem to be morning people, often up and about before the sun. We all know the importance of a good breakfast to get your day started. Whether you prefer a hardy home-cooked classic or help yourself quickly a good breakfast is never far away.

Small Town Charm

You have to experience it to believe it! It’s hard to imagine the snowmobiling passion that prevails throughout northern Ontario. Here on a typical winter day, snowmobiles can outnumber cars! The heartfelt welcome from northern communities and the comradery from fellow trail explorers will remain some of your best touring memories.

Lunch Time

As morning destinations go, lunch is a good one to focus on. A few hours on the trail sure does wonders for the appetite but with a long list of quality eateries trail side, it’s a dilemma that is easily resolved.

On The Trail

On paper, the Northeastern Ontario snowmobile trail network is as impressive as any road map; the difference is that this snow version of the road system is recreated from scratch every winter and then maintained by volunteers with dedication and passion for your enjoyment. Partake in the twists and turns through the forest, across lakes and open expanses of the northern tundra. Unlike its paved counterpart, traffic on the trails is never a problem.

Sight Seeing

There is so much more to a snowmobile tour than just mileage covered. Be it the French River as in the photo above, the Abitibi Canyon of the far north, or the mica mine near Mattawa, stopping to take in the sights will take the time spent on the trail from an activity to an adventure.

Accommodation

What’s your overnight preference? For the backcountry vibe, you will find it at Sportsman's Lodge Wilderness Resort outside of Sudbury, or maybe the spa experience at the Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa in Timmins. With snowmobile parking by your door, fuel for your sled and a warm, comfortable room for you each night, whatever you choose is sure to be an oasis at the end of each day.

Après Sled

Good food, good times and good friends after a long day on the trail. No matter if you travel 100 kilometres or 800, this end-of-day ritual is paid out nightly in lodges, hotels, and motels throughout Northeastern Ontario. As much fun as the time you spend on the snowmobile is, it’s the time of the machine that makes a few days on tour unforgettable.

Good Night

If there is one piece of tour planning advice I can’t stress enough, it’s Reservations. An empty parking lot does not mean empty rooms—it just means the occupants are still on the trail.

The prospect of living from your snowmobile on tour can be intimidating but once experienced it won’t soon be forgotten. Imagine snow-laden trees, hours on perfectly groomed trails, the company of friends, good food, comfortable accommodations, and most importantly the relaxing simplicity of the daily routine that life on the trail can provide.

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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