Ride The Edge Check 2016: Top Touring Roads in Explorers’ Edge

Each spring, Explorers’ Edge sends a motorcyclist to review the condition of our Top Ten Touring Roads in Algonquin Park, Almaguin, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka and Parry Sound. This year, motorsports journalist and photographer Martin Lortz picked up the gauntlet and headed onto the roads to render his opinion of their condition and what you can expect when you “Ride The Edge” this season. His reviews are brief – but helpful for you to plan your trip this spring and summer to Ontario’s cottage country.

ride the edge check 2016 1

10. Tally-Ho Swords Road

A shorter stretch compared to the other recommended roads, but satisfying all the same. The pavement is beautiful, traffic is light, and it makes for an escape from the major highways. This is a connector between the village of Orrville in the north and the village of Rosseau in the south – both in Seguin Township – and the scenery is as picturesque as you’ll find anywhere in the region. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”

9. Ravenscliffe Road

While it’s tough to ride the full length of this road without a smile on your face, it’s generally only ridden by those comfortable with a little bit of road wear for manoeuvring certain sections. This is a connector between Sprucedale and Huntsville, Ontario. Spring 2016 Review: “First half is excellent, a fair bit of sand around south end of Fox Lake,  and some sand spots along Stisted Rd S.”

8. Muskoka Road #3 – Aspdin Road

A quick connector between the village of Rosseau and Huntsville, Muskoka, with lots of tight corners so be prepared to check your speed. A favourite stop for riders traversing this is Crossroads Restaurant in Rosseau, especially for a break on their patio overlooking the village. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”

7. Muskoka Beach Road

Connecting the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, this is a great start point for riding in the region.  Leave Highway 11 in Gravenhurst and following this through to Bracebridge, and enjoy the canopy of trees over all the curves. (Just take it easy in the fall when leaves can make the surface a little slick.)  Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”
Muskoka Beach Road (3)

6. Highway 632 – Peninsula Road

Muskoka’s iconic touring road from the village of Rosseau in Seguin Township to Port Carling in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Essentially you’re riding a ridge between two lakes on what is the most technical road in the region – best for sport touring bikes. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”

5. Highway 520

Starting in the scenic village of Burk’s Falls in the Almaguin Highlands of Ontario and right around the corner from the unique “Screaming Heads” sculptures (and Midlothian Castle), Highway 520 is packed with incredible vistas.  Don’t forget to stop in beautiful Magnetawan for a snack and a view of the meandering river named for the village. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”

Highway 5204. Highway 35

If you can avoid long weekends (when folks are travelling to and from Algonquin Park and traffic is heavier), this windy roller-coaster of a road will whip you around lakes, plunge you through deep rockcuts and take you all the way to the top of Dorset’s Lookout Tower, where you can survey the road you just covered. This is a connector to the Lake of Bays area and the charming village of Dwight. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition!”

3. Highway 141

fantastic twistie
A connector between the villages of Rosseau in Seguin Township and Windermere, Muskoka, this route features fresher pavement, long sweepers, descending radius corners, and probably the most iconic turn in the region (at Skeleton Bay on Lake Rosseau) – maybe in all of Ontario (at Bent River). Make sure you give yourself the time to enjoy this road, and have your camera ready; this route is officially designated a “scenic corridor” by the Ontario government. Spring 2016 Review: “Excellent condition…bridge construction south of Rosseau…down to one lane.”

2. Highway 522

This quiet road in the Loring-Restoule area (at the northern tip of the Explorers’ Edge region) is likely one of our best kept secrets; this is backcountry touring at its best. Take Highway 69 north of Parry Sound to get there, then turn off to enjoy smooth riding all the way to Trout Creek in the Almaguin Highlands. Long sweepers with gentle rising and falling hills, plenty of lakes and a little waterfall halfway through the ride are just part of the reason this road rocks. Take it easy on the first 30k, which is chip-tar (good condition, but a little rougher on the tires). Spring 2016 Review: “All clear with the exception of sand at the turn from 69 on to 522. Wildlife potential – watch for deer and moose.”

1. Highway 60 Through Algonquin Park

lake of two rivers
There’s probably nothing more enjoyable than an unhurried ride through the Canada’s oldest provincial park. The pavement is great, there are plenty of places to stop and take a break (check out Lake of Two Rivers for a neat little beach and stop in at the Visitor Information Centre).  Spring 2016 Review: “Clear and amazing! Bridge construction over the Oxtongue River – down to one lane.”
 This spring, head out onto the roads of Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlnads, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka and Parry Sound – and enjoy some of the best touring roads in the province.

To plan your stay, click here. For more information on motorcycle touring in Ontario’s cottage country, click here.


martin lortz imageGuest Blogger: Martin Lortz
Martin is a freelance photographer and writer specialising in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether he is covering power sports or family-oriented pursuits, his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the people who partake in it is evident in his work. His photos and articles have appeared in magazines such as Ski Canada, Explore, Bike, Mountain Life, Snow Goer,Kayak Angler, and Family Camping.

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