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Writer Dawn Huddlestone raves about her visit to the awesome new multi-use trails in the Lake of Bays region.
For cyclists seeking adventure in Ontario’s cottage country, a visit to the new Echo Valley Nature and Bike Trails in Lake of Bays Township is a thrilling way to spend a day in the scenic woods of north Muskoka. Don’t let the serene name fool you – the 3.5 kilometres of trails are full of fun and challenging obstacles for riders of all abilities.
Pump Track Bliss
At Echo Valley, you’ll waste no time jumping into adventure. Right at the trail head is a brand-new pump track – a looping route made of dirt mounds and berms that new riders and kids can ride (almost without pedalling) for easy skills development. More experienced riders can take it at a faster pace for leg-pumping, heart-pounding excitement.
Once you warm up, hit the wider-reaching trails for some woodland action. The main trail is 1.5 kilometres of scenic, all-abilities terrain.
If you want a challenge, veer off onto one of the side trails – they’re marked by difficulty level – to encounter a variety of obstacles like rocks, single-track bridges, hills and stairs. (Descending stairs was a first for me and – as an intermediate rider – an initially daunting but ultimately exhilarating experience.)
With fourteen trails that all loop back to the main artery, you could easily spend half a day or more exploring the woods without ever returning to the parking lot.
Whether you’re on foot or wheels, make sure you take the short trail to the observation deck (!) that overlooks the protected nature area. Watch quietly for a variety of local birds, deer, moose and other wildlife, both from the viewing platform and on the trails. We spooked a ruffed grouse on one trail and saw signs of deer activity on another. And if you’re a tree lover, the mixed-growth forest is a treat to explore.
There’s an honour box at the trail head to accept suggested donations of $2 per rider, to help cover the costs of trail development and maintenance.
And keep in mind that these are multi-purpose trails – if you’re biking, watch out for hikers on foot. Ditto the other way around.
What a fantastic day we had exploring this gem of a spot in cottage country on our bikes.(The best part is you can head to a number of great eating spots pre and post riding to refuel on delicious eats!) You can bet we will return again soon to Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trails in Lake of Bays Township. Check it out!
For more information on the Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trails, click here.
For tourism info on the Lake of Bays area in Ontario’s cottage country, click here.
To plan your stay, visit ExplorersEdge.ca
Guest Blogger: Dawn Huddlestone
Dawn Huddlestone is a freelance writer, as-yet-unpublished novelist, and wannabe photographer. She’s living the dream in Muskoka with her family and a growing zoo of pets.