The Oro Trail Network encompasses a large wooded area between Barrie and Orillia. I estimated 65+ km of loops, enough for most any XC MTB rider could wish for to zoom around in one day.
What brings mountain bikers back to Oro is not only the number of trails available, but also how all of it is at a comfortable Intermediate level. You can expect a pleasant day of easy climbs and flowy descents.
The majority of the singletrack is a blend of smooth sandy soil, some gravel, roots, and small fieldstones. It is not as bumpy as it sounds and seldom has any surprises or awkward terrain to navigate for the average rider. It’s perfect for a slower family outing too.
Out in the middle of these back roads, riders park at the “Hub.” Most of the loops emanate from this point, but there are two others not directly connected that you can also explore.
As for the journey through the bush, you won’t come upon ancient temples or majestic fjords, it’s just lots of greenery with a few minor sights.
On the 3.3 km Welsh Tract ride, we found a rock garden and, further down, a homestead foundation made from the same round stones. See if you can spot other farmhouse ruins or stone walls on your trek.
Occasionally there are ramps up large boulders left over from the last ice age, or log piles that can give you liftoff and a thrill.
If you take notice of your natural surroundings, you will be traversing through numerous forest tracts, each in a different logging cycle, from regrowth to harvest. Some areas are more open, with younger saplings (and raspberries!); other wood lots have mature stands of shady, green wilderness.
Down on the popular 9 km Creeks loop, bridges and log paths keep you out of the wet, black muck. Twisting through the cedar grove is a little different than the vegetation on the trails higher up.
In the last decade, much has been done to improve and expand the quality and length of trails in this area. The large Simcoe County Mountain Bike Club (SCMBC) calls Oro its home base and its members have been key in the development and stewardship of these trails.
The trailhead signage here is minimal, no large maps. An old red, black and green colour scheme, with paint swatches on the trees, is used for the trail lines (this is not a difficulty rating). Tiny club trail maps are posted on poles. Some are missing, but new ones are in the works.
When you join the club, you’ll receive a map link otherwise you’ll want to turn on your favourite mapping app to stay on course. Most loops are a few kilometres long with not many shortcuts, so picking the wrong way will cost you time and energy.
These parts see plenty of snow, which means the Fatbike enthusiasts will be out roaming in the winter on 20+ km of mellow track. Grooming is done on parts of it when possible.
Close by Copeland Forest and Hardwood are also excellent MTB rides yet not that similar to Oro, expect them to be a harder day of riding.
Thanks to the quality and amount of great trail here, Oro has become one of Ontario’s MTB meccas. It has produced its share of local top racers and even finds some MTB enthusiasts retiring close by.
For a day trip—or longer—it’s the ideal escape: trade your city obligations for freedom on the open trail with your trusty stallion and a few good riding mates.
Ed note: This is a sample of a new review and map for my soon to be published MTB trail guide book, in a few weeks.