Get ready for a summer of awesome riding in your own backyard. Choose as many of these prime destinations as you can fit in. Use the maps as a guideline and let your sense of adventure take you off the beaten path. Ontario is motorcycle-friendly and most local tourism associations have detailed area maps available through their websites.
1. Niagara Parkway. Significant for its political and geographic history, this stunning ride takes you along the powerful Niagara River, border between Canada and the United States. Start in Niagara-on-the Lake where the river empties into Lake Ontario. Historic buildings transport you to a bygone era as you explore the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada. Then head upstream along a manicured parkway through stands of hardwoods, flanked by the river on one side and lush vineyards and farmland on the other. Stay on the Parkway as it rises to Queenston Heights, site of the first major battle of the War of 1812 between the British and Americans. Continue south and gasp as you ride along the brink of Niagara Falls, letting its cool mist refresh you on a hot day. The massive river remains in sight all the way to Fort Erie. The area is a tourist mecca, which means that traffic can be busy during peak season. Plenty of scenic places to stop welcome you. Grab a bite to eat or just park, kick off your boots, and lie in the shade of the towering maples that have seen so much history. Map:
2. Lake Erie Coastline: Kingsville to Port Dover This waterfront trail along the smallest and shallowest of the Great Lakes is known for its mild climate, farming regions, and nautical history. The lake is never far from sight and often in plain view. Natural forces have created large sand spits, or points, known for their shallow waters and beautiful beaches. Stop and unwind at places like Turkey Point, Long Point, and Point Pelee, world-famous for its birding. The fishing industry, once the mainstay of this area is defunct but go to the waterfront in any of the small towns and their history has left its mark. Savor a meal of fresh fish in touristy towns such as Kingsville, Port Stanley, Port Burwell, and of course the iconic Port Dover—a destination on its own.
3. Thousand Islands Parkway: Gananoque to Cornwall. Start your scenic ride in Gananoque, gateway to the Thousand Islands. East of town, the picnic pavilion at Gray’s Beach overlooking the St. Lawrence River makes a great place to pull over and stretch your legs. Further downstream, catch the elevator up the Hill Island Tower for a magnificent view of the Thousand Islands from 400 feet above the horizon. The river’s strategically significant history has shaped this corridor. Prime waterfront viewing, quaint towns, and a varied countryside make this an awesome yet casual ride.
4. The Highlands Loop. Enjoy a weekend of intense riding in the Ottawa Valley. Once a corridor used by traders, explorers, and settlers, it boasts a rich heritage and spectacular riding. The natural topography delights with winding roads, twisties, and sweeping vistas courtesy of massive elevation changes. Ride along the Ottawa River in both Ontario and Quebec, cross on the Quyon Ferry, flex your technical skills along Calabogie Road, and take a trip back in time at the Bonnechere Caves. Map:
Stay tuned for more amazing routes in our next editorial!