Ultimate Guide to Adventure Races in Ontario

Discover the thrill of adventure racing. Find out what it is, where to go and why you’ll love it.

If you've never heard of adventure racing, but love being outside and challenging yourself, you're in for a treat. We're about to introduce you to one of the most fun activities  you can do with friends—something we're willing to bet you'll spend the rest of your life participating in. 

Below you'll learn about what adventure racing is all about, what races are offered in Ontario and how to become part of Ontario’s adventure racing community at Adventure Racing Ontario.    

What is Adventure Racing?

According to SleepMonsters, "Adventure Racing is an outdoor endurance sport for teams including a combination of mountain biking, trail running/trekking, paddle sports (kayak/canoe/raft), and map and compass navigation."

Races can vary in length. A sprint adventure race is from two to five hours and a long (expedition) race can be from three to 10 days (non-stop). There are also 12-hour adventure races and 24-hour adventure races and many other options. 

Team numbers can vary between two and four, depending on the length of the race. Typically, longer races include all of the main activities plus additional challenges while a sprint race may only have three. Each race is different. Some races are designed to be exciting and extreme (see video) while other beginner adventure races are friendly and low-key (see video).   

Adventure Racing and Orienteering Clubs in Ontario

There are clubs and groups in Ontario that organize weekly training and various racing opportunities for adventure sport enthusiasts. This includes short races to multiday adventure races, endurance adventure races, expedition adventure races and family adventure races. Orienteering clubs help you learn how to use a compass, read an orienteering map and get through an orienteering course. Many include racing programs.    

Ontario Adventure Races 2024 

Below, you'll find a list of the outdoor adventure races in Ontario. Some of the race dates have not yet been determined (TBD) so bookmark the race webpage or visit Adventure Racing ON for updates. 

February 

3 - Snowshoe Raid Adventure Run throughout the Blue Mountains for adults, family and juniors. Enjoy a three-hour snowshoe race for teams of two with navigation by map and compass. Go as hard or as easy as you like. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

April

21 - Raid the Rib Adventure Run by Don't Get Lost Adventure Racing takes place on the Niagara Escarpment and presents racers with plenty of technical challenges including steep cliffs, rocky ground and large creeks. You'll have three hours to gather mandatory checkpoints and try your hand at location the more difficult optional checkpoints.

May 

4 – The Adventure Running Kids Mud Run by Don't Get Lost Adventure Racing offers a fun day of cross-country style racing around Camp Marydale in Mount Hope. 

5 – Challenge the Shield Adventure Run's second annual event will take place once again in Parry Sound. Join in for the two- or six-hour run where teams of two must navigate to as many of the 35 checkpoints as possible within the time limit. Checkpoints have different points based upon their difficulty. 

25 – Storm Adventure Race, formerly Storm the Trent, offers three course lengths catering to different experience levels. The race takes place at Island Lake Conservation Area in Orangeville and involves collecting checkpoints along a semi-marked course under a given time limit. There are mountain biking, trekking and canoeing sections.

June 

11 – Spring ARK Fest in Burlington for Adults and Juniors. This one-hour run is through the Southern Ontario woods as they are springing to life, as you search for as many checkpoints as possible. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

July 

21 – The Smokey Race is limited to 52 participants and the Half Smokey is limited to 150 participants. These races are considerably difficult with tight timelines, difficult navigation and difficult terrain. For advanced competitors only. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

August 

10 – Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race is for adults, youth and kids. The Suntrail Course involves paddling, biking and running while the Subaru Long Course offers the same but with more off road opportunities and more distance. There is also a Run Duathlon with just running and biking and a Kids Race offering a run with obstacles.

15 – Cataraqui Adventure Trek in Kingston is an adventure race crossed with a triathlon. The seven- to 10-kilometre course consists of mountain biking, trail running and paddling. Racers have four hours to complete the course as many times as they can.

25 – Raid the City Adventure Run in Hamilton for adults, family and juniors. This is a three-hour race for teams of two. Go as easy or as hard as you want. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

28 &29 – Wilderness Traverse is a 24-hour adventure race in the Algonquin Highlands. Teams of three or four navigate using map and compass over 150+ kilometres of rugged Canadian Shield backcountry on foot, mountain bike and canoe. It is one of the toughest endurance adventure races around.

September 

8 – Challenge the Shield Multi-Sport Adventure Race's second annual event will be held once again in Parry Sound. Teams of two have six hours to navigate to as many of the 30 checkpoints as they can within the time limit. Checkpoints as assigned either a trek, paddle or bike discipline and are assigned varying points based on how difficult they are to reach.

13-15 – Muskoka River X/Algonquin Outfitters’ Huntsville 110 challenges you to circumnavigate Huntsville’s 110-kilometre four-lake system by canoe, kayak or SUP in the fastest time possible.  

October

20 – Peak-2-Peak Adventure Run for adults and juniors. This two-hour race has lots of climbs with checkpoints on top of peaks. It is a must-do event to prepare for the Raid the Hammer Run. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

TBD – Big Ass Night Run in Dundas is to raise funds for the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The 40-minute speedy race is through the streets and city trails of Dundas at night. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

November

10 – Raid The Hammer Adventure Run is in the Dundas area. The full Raid is a 20- to 25-kilometre course for adults. The Half-Raid is a 10- to 15-kilometre course for adults and juniors. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

TBD – Kolapore Old School Orienteering was held in 2023 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kolapore Wilderness Trails, an area with a rich orienteering history. The 2023 event offered novice and regular orienteering courses using historic checkpoint locations. Check back to see what the 2024 event will bring.

December 

1 – Icebreaker and Ark Fest is for adults and juniors. This two-hour race with many checkpoints is a run through varied terrain, likely tinted with ice or snow. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

TBD - The Hamloppet is Don't Get Lost Adventure Running's traditional end-of-year run. You'll need to visit checkpoints—in this case holiday decorations—in the order prescribed. Racers need to guess how long it will take them to visit all the checkpoints they've planned out. No watches allowed! Whoever is closest to their predicted time wins.

Get Into Adventure Racing Now

Adventure racing is more than just a sport. It is an experience that rewards creativity, mental ability and teamwork. It is about community, family and exploration. There’s no better time than now to get into adventure racing.

About Trish Manning

Trish Manning is an adventure travel writer and the content coordinator for Ontario Outdoor Adventures. She is an avid outdoor person who loves to hike, paddle, SUP, snowshoe, cross-country ski and explore Ontario's great outdoors with her golden retriever, Daisy.

Recommended Articles

Crown Land Camping

What it is and where you can camp in Ontario.

11 Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Landscapes

Don't miss the splendours of Northern Ontario

Incredible Swimming in Ontario

12 best destinations to take a summer dip.

Natural Highs

7 magnificent mountains in Ontario to climb, hike, ride, ski and more.

Explore Ontario’s Hidden Gems

18 destinations you need to visit.

2024 Triathalons

Swim, cycle and run your way to triathlete status at these Ontario events.

Ontario Trail Races

Find out where to test your limits and get out in the woods.

Beach Camping in Ontario

14 sandy places to pitch your tent and swim to your heart’s content.

Your Outdoor Adventure Vacation Starts Here

10 best activities in Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Top of the Giant Trail

Get tips on this amazing Sleeping Giant hike.

Dog-Friendly Campgrounds in Ontario

11 places where Fido can join in the fun.

Hike The Best Trails

Discover your next great adventure.

Best Waterfalls in Ontario

Discover where they are and how to get there.

Attention Detroit

A short drive gets you a lot of vacation fun in Ontario, Canada

Ontario Birding Checklist

Keep an eye on the skies for these 10 incredible species.

6 Best Places To Camp On Manitoulin

Book a campsite as your base to roam this chill oasis.

Ontario's Other Camping Option

10 best private campgrounds in the province.

Ontario's Best Scuba Diving & Snorkelling

Explore beneath the waves at these incredible destinations.

Go Foraging in Ontario

Learn the basics of how to harvest wild edibles found across the province.

Call Us Crazy

23 Adrenaline Rushes Found Only in Ontario