Silent Lake – MTB Trail

south of Bancroft
Posted on July 22, 2022 / 719
Silent Lake – MTB Trail
Listing Types : MTB Trail
Location : Eastern Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 19
Double track % : 80
Hiking trail % : 20
Rate Skill Levels : Intermediate, Advanced
Terrain : water crossing, can be muddy, bridges, large hills, tree roots
Faclities : parking, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, change rooms, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained, shelter
Trail Fee : Park Pass

Length –  19 km

0% MTB singletrack
20% hiking trail
80% doubletrack Nordic paths

Elevation – Numerous climbs step up to make it over seven large hills. Fast descents come after that. :^)

Terrain – Nordic ski doubletrack, tall grasses, fallen branches, stones, and roots; will be muddy after a rain

Skill – Intermediate to Advanced

Traffic – Not busy; maybe a few bikers and hikers

Maps – Posted signs and maps on the trails – printed map at the gate

Facilities –  Parking lots, comfort stations, park store, camping, cabin, yurt, canoe & kayak rentals. 

Highlights Quiet wilderness, fast hills, deer (we saw some)

Trail Fee – Day or overnight pass 

Phone –  613 339 2807

Website –  Ontario Parks

Similar Trails – MinnesingKolapore Uplands,  Haliburton Forest

Local Clubs –  None

Access –  NE of Peterborough, take Hwy 28 north past Lakefield. The provincial park is on the east side 21 km past the town of Apsley on your way to Bancroft in cottage country.


No Fatbike trails, why? … maybe they should!

mtb trail guide

Find Silent Lake Provincial Park on your way to Bancroft this summer. While we were camping there, I headed out one morning with my son, Trevor, to take on the XC track / summer bike trail that circles the lake.

We started at the post marked with an A on the day-use beach area at Silent Lake. The bike trail, which runs north behind the campgrounds, provides an enjoyable, fast XC mountain bike ride along a winding route. 

Watch for tall grasses that can hide branches, roots, rocks, and mud that you need to take on. The successive hills in the first 50 m climb lead to the highest point on the loop.

I have Nordic skied these routes a few times in my life, but had never been here in the summer. I must admit that I didn’t remember the climbs being that enduring when I was on my skis.

At Post D, the trail widens out to a full doubletrack ski path. Once you cross Bonnie’s Pond hiking loop twice, this 17 km loop forks. This makes for an 11 km smaller loop or a shortcut back. (have a look at the map)

Trevor and I managed to do the yellow loop as far as the ski hut at Post F before the hills, high humidity, heat (32C), and deer flies had him. (One has to listen to other riders for when to bail. It is not always your turn to call it quits.)

Oh well, I was not sure we could make it around the back side of the lakeanother 12 km of ridinganyway. It had rained hard two days before and rangers at the office did mention something about mystery swampy sections. 

Certainly, the full loop is a route less travelled. It looked more overgrown but doable. I would rate this cross-country style MTB ride as an Intermediate to Advanced trek. It is a wild, forested area that challenges those looking to cover some terrain and test their endurance. Just be sure you can commit to finishing the loop before you head in too far.

Most of the ride is in the shaded woods with a few glimpses of marshes and ponds. Be sure you tell someone when you leave and pack everything you need. Cell signals are weak in here; GPS will be fine. You’re not likely to get lost, as the route has enough signposts and “you are here” maps to sort it out.

As mentioned, on our mid-July ride, the deer flies were out to greet us. Pack some Deet spray and keep moving. By August, when it cools down, there will be fewer of them.

Also, I highly recommend camping here. It is terrific! With large sites, good showers, and a quiet lake, it takes you away from the city madness. You can also rent cabins and yurts with your ridin’ buddies and make it a memorable weekend.


This new ride review is not yet published in my book. But 55 other great MTB destinations are with better topo maps and tons of riding tips. Available as an eBook or paperback.

Silent Lake MTB trail map

Silent Lake MTB trail map

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