Riding Trails and Roads in and around Thunder Bay

From leisurely rides viewing the Sleeping Giant to the challenge of wilderness single track, Thunder Bay has something for riders of all skills.

Be sure to pack your bike this summer when you plan your next outdoor adventure to Thunder Bay. You will find a variety of cycling options that range from leisurely scenic rides by the big water of Lake Superior to challenging rides carved out of the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield and the expanse of forests here in Northwest Ontario.

The City of Thunder Bay, the largest urban centre in Northwest Ontario known for its iconic landmark the Sleeping Giant has more than 45 km (27 miles) of multi-use recreation trails plus an additional 30 km (18 miles) of bike lanes with more being planned.  Maps of Thunder Bay’s Active Transportation routes are available on the City of Thunder Bay website.

By riding a combination of existing streets and dedicated trails, visitors can get pretty much anywhere in the city without having to burn a drop of gas.  

One of the most popular areas for cycling and mountain biking is around Boulevard Lake, Centennial Park and Shuniah Mines.  This vast city park, greenbelt area at the north end of the city has a mix of multi-access double track trails and purpose built single track. The maze of trails developed by the Black Sheep Mountain Bike Club provides opportunities for every skill level with detailed maps available on the Trail Forks website.

The trail around Boulevard Lake is just over 5 km (3 miles).  Pause to look at sculptures on the north side of the lake, catch your breath at any of the benches along the trail, or pack a picnic lunch and spend the day tanning along the shoreline.  If you’re a Frisbee fan, you can even try the free 18-hole Disc Golf Course at Birch Point on the north side of the lake.  

The Arundel Street Active Transportation Corridor can be accessed from the North West end of Boulevard Lake.  This provides a link to Centennial Park and its trails which connect to the popular and complex Shuniah Mines Mountain Bike area.  

For the kids, at Marina Park, there is a world class skateboard/BMX park within view of the Sleeping Giant.  After the kids are done practising their rail slides and McTwists, the entire family can grab a meal at Bight Restaurant, located just a few feet away.  

If you’re too pooped to pedal by the end of the day, just grab a Thunder Bay Transit bus.  The city has installed bike racks on the front of all its buses.  Each rack can hold up to two bikes and are easy to load.

When you’re ready to visit the surrounding area, be sure to take your bike with you. At Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, bike racks have been installed at the bottom of the popular Top of the Giant Trail.  Park officials say biking will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the 23 km (14 mile) trail by about half.  That will allow you plenty of time before or after, to cycle through the historical village of Silver Islet and see original miner’s homes from the 1800s.

Your visit to Thunder Bay will provide many other cycling options in and around the city. The options include the country roads south of city that connect to Kakabeka Falls call the Niagara of the North and the recently built gravity track and other trails at Loch Lomond Ski Area and if you really adventurous you will find off road options for fat bike and other large tire bikes.

And after a hard day of riding, you will want to relax and recharge. Thunder Bay has all the amenities you will need to refuel your engines including a wide choice of culinary experiences and comfortable accommodations.

About Richard Boon

Richard Boon is a Thunder Bay native who spends much of his spare time hiking and doing nature photography.  He is a past member and hike leader with the Thunder Bay Hiking Association and a former broadcaster..

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