Epic Adventure in the True North

Take an Exotic Snowmobile Trip to Moosonee

True Adventure

It’s something that we all look for at one time or another as sledders… a true northern snowmobile adventure. Imagine a tour that’s not for the faint of heart—415 km (about 250 miles) each way, straight towards the area known as Ontario's "Gateway to the Arctic,” and one of the only saltwater ports in the province. Located north of Cochrane in Northeastern Ontario, Moosonee can only be reached by plane, train, or snowmobile. And of course, travelling by snowmobile is the best way to do it for travel and adventure… this is one sled trip that offers more than the ordinary.

winter vista
Abitibi canyon x

If you’re thinking of visiting Moosonee by sled, a guide is highly recommended for the trip, especially when riding the river, with its ever-changing ice conditions. Along the way, you’ll feel the wilderness as the scenery changes through the Abitibi region. There is a really good chance of wildlife sightings, and the awesome views of the canyons in Fraserdale are breathtaking. This snowmobile tour includes a combination of smooth OFSC trails, off-trail riding and even running down the frozen Abitibi River into Moosonee, and then out onto the ice of James Bay. Everyone who has experienced this trip agrees that it’s a once in a lifetime experience that leaves you with lasting memories. Any avid snowmobiler can make the trip, even with a short track machine, with the right preparations.

sledders outside lodge
fox on tundra

For several years now Extreme Tours has been operating this snowmobile adventure, and promotes a three-day package. “Back in the 1990s,” says William Tozer, one of Extreme Tours’ guides, during a recent interview, “we ran the tours from the beginning of January until the end of March, but with the change in the weather patterns, we now run from the middle of January to the middle of March.” Tozer continues, “This is why we have increased our tours from two trips a week to three.” There are several sled-heads already booked for this season, but there is also a new trend for this year. The tour staff has informed us of an increase of bookings with couples. There are now a greater number of women wanting to try out this adventure. Yes, women too are thrill-seekers and they’re tired of being just passengers. This trip is for anyone who is looking for something different, an exotic adventure to the extreme north.

Hitting the Trails

sledders at camp

For our trip we were able to join in a mixed group of ten riders that came from different parts of North America. On the first day, we left from Cochrane—the trip is about two-thirds of the way to a hunt camp at Onakawana. After an overnight stay, on Day Two a guide leads us thrill-seekers to Moosonee for a lunch break, then later out onto James Bay and back to the camp. Day Three is a sled ride back to Cochrane. This trip could be done in a shorter period of time, but that wouldn’t allow for much time in Moosonee or for anything unexpected.

The scenery here is outstanding and covers such different terrain that it really is time well spent. If your group happens to be looking for some challenging off trail riding, there’s the Abitibi Canyons, which are along the way. The riding here can be as simple or demanding as you wish, depending on what the rider is looking for. One thing is for sure: the Abitibi Canyons have something to satisfy every rider.

fuel cans
sledders group

The terrain that we encountered varied from tabletop smooth OFSC trails—which ended at Fraserdale, where the off-trail adventure began near the Abitibi Canyon—to powdered snow running, beside the railway right-of-way, to river-running, all the way to Moosonee. The Cochrane to Moosonee snowmobile tour is recommended for anyone who is looking for something different and who enjoys riding off the beaten trail. Anyone with a minimum amount of experience can do this trip, as long as they don’t mind roughing it a little at hunt camp. With a guide there are no worries, as they have plans for almost every scenario. All that you have to do is enjoy the ride and they will provide for a more interesting tour. The scenery is breathtaking and overall this trip does offer lifelong memories.

horizone sunset

Extreme Tours is a family operated business, in operation since early 2000. Your guides, Bill and his son Mark, have both been snowmobiling since childhood. Bill is also a paramedic with 13 years experience, and both guides have the qualifications and experience necessary to handle any situation. 

About Bob Island

Bob Island is passionate about off road riding and is a long time off road instructor, an editor, photographer and he works in the powersports media industry.

Recommended Articles

Search Snowmobiling