Friday, April 26, 2013

Muskoka is Wheelie Fun!

Now that Spring appears to have finally arrived, it’s an ideal time to get out on two wheels to explore the roads and trails around Muskoka.

Old Railway Bike Trail in Algonquin Park
For cyclists, there are plenty of both moderate and challenging routes for both road and mountain biking. Check the Bike Muskoka website for routes and maps. Among the favourite local routes for road cyclists are Limberlost Road, directly across from Colonial Bay, and the Spin the Lakes routes through Lake of Bays. If off-road is more your style, check out the Buckwallow Cycling Centre between Bracebridge and Gravenhurst. They have more than 30 kilometres of both single and double track trails. For more family-friendly cycling, head to Huntsville’s Fairy Vista Trail, a paved 3.4-kilometre path or try the 10-kilometre Old Railway Bike Trail in Algonquin Park.

Motorcycles and other vehicles can enjoy the same road routes as cyclists, with the advantage of being able to go longer distances. We’ve mentioned these local driving tours before, but they’re worth mentioning again. Spring, with its lack of foliage, is an ideal time to travel these routes looking for wildlife that might otherwise be hidden amongst the trees.

Lake of Bays tour:  approx. 90 km (1.5 hours or more, depending on the number of times you stop)
  • From Colonial Bay, take Highway 60 east through Dwight to Highway 35.
  • Turn right onto Highway 35 to Dorset. (If you have time, the hike up to the Dorset Fire Tower provides a beautiful vantage point over Lake of Bays.)
  • Right onto Highway 117 to Baysville. (If you detour along Old Highway 117 to Norway Point, you can arrange for a water taxi to Bigwin Island.)
  • Right onto Brunel Road in Baysville.
  • Right onto South Portage Road (Muskoka Road 9).
  • Left onto Highway 60 and back to Colonial Bay.
Huntsville Chain of Lakes tour: approx. 100 km (2+ hours, depending on the number of stops)
  • From Colonial Bay, take Highway 60 East to South Portage Road (Muskoka Road 9).
  • Right on South Portage (Muskoka Road 9) to Muskoka Road 23
  • Right on Muskoka Road 23 back to Highway 60 (You have just circled Peninsula Lake)
  • Left on Highway 60 to Highway 11 (Passing Fairy Lake)
  • Left onto Highway 11
  • Right on Ravenscliffe Road
  • Left on E Fox Lake Road
  • Left on Hoodstown Road (Muskoka Road 45)
  • Right on South Drive (still Muskoka Road 45)
  • Left on Etwell Road
  • Left on Aspdin Road (You have just circled Lake Vernon)
  • Right on Highway 11 to Port Sydney
  • Right on Muskoka Road 10 through Port Sydney (Passing Mary Lake). Consider stopping for a picnic lunch at the public beach in Port Sydney.
  • Left on Brunel Road to Huntsville (If you have time, stop at the Brunel Locks and watch the boats or at Lions Lookout above the Canada Summit Centre for a sweeping view of Fairy Lake and the Town of Huntsville)
  • Right on Main Street
  • Right on Highway 60 and back to Colonial Bay
Algonquin Park Tour: approx. 180 km to the East Gate of Algonquin Park and back (3+ hours depending on how often you stop)
  • From Colonial Bay, take Highway 60 East to Algonquin Park (a visitor’s pass is required for the park - you can purchase one at the West Gate) 
  • The drive through the park is beautiful and offers abundant opportunities for short hikes or viewpoints. The viewing deck at the Visitor’s Centre (at km 43) will give you the most accessible panoramic view in the park. 
The big news in Muskoka right now is all of the recent flooding. Our thoughts are with the homeowners and businesses who have been displaced or sustained damage from the high waters. Fortunately, the water level has begun to recede in northern Muskoka and clean-up and restoration efforts have started. If you’re inclined to help those who have been affected, donations can be made to the Salvation Army in Huntsville at 4 Mary Street E.

From our Muskoka chair to yours,
The Howell Family

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