Trail News

Where to Safely Take Kids Cycling?

My nephew Anthony recently asked me for advice on where he could take his son cycling. Having gone through many years of biking with my son Trevor in tow, I know that kids can get bored easily and parents can get concerned about road safety. I gave it some thought, then sent him a shortlist of suggestions.

Then the wheels in my head kept turning (MTB wheels, lol) and I realized that other parents have the same dilemma every weekend: Where can I take my kids outside to get away from their screens, video games, and electronics? 

I feel your concerns. So let me come to the rescue with some excellent kid-friendly bike rides around Ontario that the whole family can enjoy. 

Are you a parent who needs to feel your children are able to exercise in a safe environment? You have come to the right place: this website features only off-road, car-free bike trails. Most of these routes are entirely on trails and paths, with at most 15% requiring you to veer off occasionally onto a side-road bypass. You can’t get better than that.

For your sanity and everyone’s better health, read on! You can scroll down to jump straight to the trail recommendations, but I advise you to read this whole post, since it’s got some great info.

father with bike trailer
boy learns to ride

Basically, kid-friendly bike routes have all of these four things:

  • They’re safe – Look for off-road, car-free routes with minimal hazards and street crossings with lights
  • They’re easy to cycle – You want paved, level, wide paths and small, gentle hills
  • They have amenities – Playgrounds, washrooms, picnic areas, food/drink close by
  • They are interesting – Winding, varied paths, bridges, boardwalks, tunnels and water features

 

There are a few stages you will go through as a parent with children and a fondness for cycling. 

The first thing is: don’t let the arrival of a newborn end your cycling days. Sure, it’s going to be a lot of work at first and a big change. Just adapt to the circumstances and keep cranking. 

Once your son or daughter is ready to be introduced to your world of cyclingprobably not before their first birthdayyou have a few ways to start.

Long before your child is able to propel themself, you can transporting them in a child seat on the bike or in a trailer you tow. Chain Reaction Cycles has baby seats.

No matter which option you choose, always make them wear a helmet (like you do) and strap them in!

You can balance better without another little person on board, so I went with the trailer and bought one with a ski attachment so I could take Junior cross-country skiing in winter. Double trailers can seat two little ones.  MEC sells a few versions of bike trailers.

When they get to be three to four years old, they get restless and heavy to tow. Now it’s time for you proud parents to buy them their first bike with training wheels. (Those training wheels won’t stay on for long.) 

Another step up for toddlers are push bikes that help the little ones work on their balance. These can eliminate the need for training wheels when they grow into a bigger bike. MEC sells push bikes.

Keep raising their seats and handlebars and replacing their bikes with larger models as the years pass. Chain Reaction Cycles has kids bikes for all ages.

As I pulled together this list, I kept in mind (and you should, too) a few things specific to riding with kids. Kids have short legs and short attention spans. They are little monkeys and need to burn energy.

Every year you can ride farther and faster—but at their pace, not yours. You need to be a patient parent to deal with all the delays, drama, and spills. Depending on your children’s energy level and desire to cycle (or not), you may only get in a few kilometres for the first few years.

bike trailer
family bike ride

Keep the ride short. (Well, at least shorter than what you may wish for until they are teens, then you may suddenly have trouble keeping up, lol.)

Always turn back sooner than you want to. Don’t wait till they complain and bonk out. 

Stop often. Especially if your child is not actually engaged in pedalling and is just looking out from the trailer.

Make it fun for them. Some kids will need to check out every set of monkey bars they see. Give them opportunities to run about. Bring a ball or frisbee. 

Make sure there is ever-changing scenery. I’ve found this is the most important way to keep kids on their bikes. Trails with lots of twists and turns in the path, and/or bridges, boardwalks, and tunnels are winners. Rivers, creeks, and ponds add interest, and the possibility of wildlife sightings, to keep kids moving. 

Bring snacks. Juice boxes, water sippy cups, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts. Bring nothing messy like melting chocolate.



With all these points in mind here is what I recommend. Since most of these trails run flat along creeks and rivers, none of the locations I list has any large hills to climb, nor fast descents that can stress out your kids (or you, when you’re watching them!). There will still be a few short climbs, trail intersections, and street crossings you need to supervise.

 

Here are my Top Kid-friendly Cycling Paths:

Park Trails

Rouge Valley – Park Trail  – twisty, ever changing, loads of bridges and boardwalks, greese

Oshawa Creek – Park Trail  – winding, tons of bridges and tunnels, beach & playset at lake

Highland Creek – Park Trail  – bridges, winding creek

Toronto Islands – Park Trail ferry ride, scenic, plenty of playgrounds and beaches

Ajax Waterfront – Park Trail scenic, bridges, beaches

Nokiidaa – Park Trailchanging scenery, playgrounds, ponds, old Newmarket

Rouge Waterfront – Park Trail water, beaches, large bridges

Humber River – Park Trail playsets, bridges, flower garden

Island Lake – Park Trail – long bridges and boardwalks

Taylor Creek + Warden – Park Trail – ponds, 3 water creek crossings 

Beaches Boardwalk – Park Trail – beachcomb the peninsula, sailboats, swimming

Upper Etobicoke – Park Trail – playsets, bridges

Rideau Canal – Park Trail – boats, locks, falls, gardens

Upper Ottawa R. – Park Trail – views of the river, play areas, beach

Grand River – Park Trail – playgrounds, old bridges, falls

Welland Canal – Park Trail – kids love big boats, and locks

Thames Valley – Park Trail – London has lots of playgrounds + Storybook Gardens

 

Rail Trails

Riding a Rail Trail with kids is a little more challenging. While these former railway beds offer an easy, largely flat ride, most are not interesting enough for younger kids, nor are there many or any amenities or playgrounds to stop at. Still, here are a few that could work out nicely with older kids.

Thornton Cookstown – Rail Trailbridges, a creek, and nearby ice cream, in Simcoe County

Tay Shore – Rail Trail – paved, lakeside location on Georgian Bay 

Brock – Rail / Park Trail – walk through a train tunnel

Greenway – Park / Rail Trail – bridges, dams and falls

 

(I will post a list of kid-friendly Mountain Bike locations in another article soon.)

kid bike splash

My last thoughts:

Kids get hungry and thirsty, and they need bathrooms often. I wish I could say that Ontario city parks have an abundance of toilets and snack bars; they do not. So use ’em when you see ’em and pack your own extra nibbles or it will be hell. 

Planning a picnic stop halfway is also a chance to break up the outing and get a bit more riding out of your child later. Give them a riding goal. Promise and ice cream once they get to a certain point. And bring napkins when it gets messy, as it usually does.

The last issue: Keep an eye on them. Once you give them wheels, you’ve given them freedom, and they may dash off. Stay in range and have other adults along to help watch over larger groups. Assign a lead bike and a spotter at the back. And while you are at it, work in some basic riding skills and safety and biking etiquette, and now everyone’s having a good time.

With that sensation of freedom on two wheels, you will have hooked them for life on cycling. Awesome job, Mom & Dad!

fully loaded bike trip


July 9, 2021No comments, ,
OBT Newsletter – Spring 2021

 

This is an excerpt from a recent Newsletter I sent out. You can subscribe here.

 

Welcome to yet another unusual spring. We had an early melt and a long cool spring, now it seems like the heat is here. I can see from the surge in traffic on the OBT site that everyone is keen to get out. This Covid lockdown is almost over and has got us primed and eager to hit the trails.

I have been reluctant to post any new trail locations and to encourage you all to travel. The Ont. government does not want us cyclists travelling too far from home. With that in mind, I have just posted my first new trail review this season. It’s a good one out in Markham you can bookmark; many more to come.

The Trail Guide Grind:

I was very busy over the winter updating my two trail guides. Beyond minor typos and layout fixes, I have replaced the 65 maps in the Park & Rail Trail book with more detailed versions. I also added a large map with all the trail locations as a quick reference and listed parking lot locations. Oh my, so many details, so boring, yet important! LOL.

Park & Rail + MTB eBook Update For those of you who bought a copy, an email was sent out in April with a link to the new version. It now has pdf bookmarks.

Park & Rail Paperback Update – If you bought the actual book, you can get the latest eBook version too.  And as a bonus, I made an extra file you can print out as an insert for your paperback that lists parking lot addresses. Details as to where to get those downloads can be found at the back of your book.

 

 

Being Popular is Good & Bad:

I started the OBT site eight years ago as a side project. It has recently grown quickly due to the limitations of this pandemic. With few other sports activities permitted, everyone is cycling!

Now, I am not complaining that the site traffic has doubled again this year. It’s now seeing over a thousand visits daily, and more on any sunny weekend. What comes with this popularity are increased costs. I had to upgrade to a faster website server to handle the visitor volume. And my costs for security and the use of Google Map services have risen.

So now the site has to pay for itself. As you will experience, the site loads faster but costs more to run. You might think income from those annoying Google Ads I have might do it. Alas, at less than a penny a person it’s lunch money.

Income from my two books covers the time invested to make them. So I am at an awkward point where I have to start selling other items or services on the site. Not a natural direction for me to take, but necessary. Don’t worry I’m not going to sell mugs and baseball caps.

I added a Store page to the menu. It’s a humble beginning. I am not driven to push products or recommend everything I see. Rather, I shall be selective and mention quality goods and services I believe in.

 

Any businesses wishing to advertise relevant services or products on OBT, send me a noteThere are many opportunities to do so for bike shops, bike touring, lodging and eateries…

 

As always, the site info will be free for you to use. If you have benefited from this site, then shop here in the future or donate a wee sum now on PayPal for the cause.


PayPal QR code

PayPal QR Code

Help Wanted: With site growth, comes many more issues I have to deal with on the backend. This has limited my time to create new content. I need the help of a skilled web developer to occasionally put in some time with issues. I’ll see what I can pay but it won’t be much so if you love cycling I got that covered.

3 bike riders on a trail

What’s New

Add Rail Trails – Last year my focus was on MTB trails as I was all in publishing my book. This year I am working on the Rail trail category. Plans are to ride more Rail Trails this year (if possible) and post reviews.

I have already started to add trail lines to the map starting in Eastern Ontario, even if I have yet to review them. This is a shift for me, as I do not like to suggest trail locations and then have little info to follow up. Yet I am asked often why this or that trail is not on the map… so now you know where they are.

Blue Mountain DH MTB – Sadly management has changed the flavour of mountain bike riding over the winter to a more mellow offering. No more Downhill MTB thrills, trails have turned into hiking paths.

I have few answers and will have to inquire as their site says currently little and they are still closed. Certainly a blow to the regular avid MTB downhill riders in the province. It was a top spot with few alternatives close by. Let’s hope the times change and it comes back one day.

Future Posts – Now that I have finished the formidable tasks of updating my books and moving my site to another server, plans are to post a few articles on these subjects this year:

  • Bike Tune-ups
  • Bike Riding Apparel
  • Bike Security 
  • GoPro Cameras
  • Other Bike Trail Guides
  • Buying an eBike
  • eBike routes
  • Bike Photographers

Are there any other topics you wish me to write?

Submit a Bike Trail Tale As with last year, there is again an invitation to submit your own cycling stories. If you have the time (and some of us have plenty) and the writing bug, send me a proposal. Don’t be shy.

 

Keep pedalling safely and don’t forget to get vaccinated! That’s one of the simplest actions we can take to help things get back to normal.

 

Wishing you all a great, safe summer outdoors on your bike – Dan Roitner

May 29, 2021No comments,
Covid Cycling Risks & Precautions

January 15th, 2021 – As of this week, the Ontario Government has issued new stricter measures to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus that lurks among us.

The government also recognizes that its citizens need to exercise for its physical and mental benefits as we hibernate this winter. This is good news but requires that we all still be prudent and cautious more than ever while still having some fun too.

It has been strongly advised to stay close to home and reduce your travel. Keep to yourself with no groups larger than five people. Wear a mask when close to others on the trail. Pack all that you need for the trip, head straight there and back home with limited stops for gas or errands.

I wanted to write this as a public service to riders who may be using this site to plan outings. I have been diligently working on my new MTB trail guide for this spring. But let me take a moment away from that, as some of you have been asking…

As the long weekend arrives and the spring weather prompts us to head out on our bicycles, the question is, should you? 

Yes, you can go bike riding, but these are not normal times and precautions need to be taken.

Currently, for exercise, and mental sanity, the government is allowing us to ride our bikes (this may change). Is cabin fever setting in? Planning to get out for some sun and fresh air is certainly a welcomed thought.

You are best to stay close to home and ride solo, on the backstreets in your neighbourhood.

 

That is what I am doing and have concluded this from reading the links below. Please read them too and make your own judgement. 

This is all about RISK management. You do not want to get hurt, go to the hospital, tax the medical system or catch the virus. 

This means ride within your limits, keeping your ride risk LOW. I know this could be boring and easy terrain. Or riding the road, a paved one at that, OMG! Get over it!

Cycling with someone you live with is OK but NOT other friends, or a club group ride, sorry.

The concept is the virus can be airborne briefly and you, riding behind someone, could inhale what they exhale. If they are contagious, and this could be days before feeling ill, it poses a risk to you.

When you ride the road or a wide park path there is plenty of space, the winds blow and one keeps their distance from others; lower risk. On mountain bike trails passing someone can be a tight squeeze, riders are exercising harder = more exhaling = higher risk.

With that and the fact that many more cyclists are free to go out, it has CLOSED Provincial Parks, Conservation Areas and woodlots. Parking lots are too crowded, trails are too confined when encountering others and because many still don’t get it.

This is a nasty virus, that has a new set of rules, be it temporary. Follow them, play it safe for you and the sake of others.

These are just a few key points regarding your safety to add to what you are already doing…which is social distancing, stay close to home, limiting your visits to stores, washing your hands (scrub for 20 seconds before rinsing) refrain from touching your face. (mouth, nose and eyes are virus entry points)

Stay informed, read a few links below for more “new rules of the road”. 

Doing so will reduce your fear, anxiety and the need for speed. Remember this will pass, the trails will still be there to welcome you back, in time. Actually a little vegetation rejuvenation would be a good thing for our trail ecosystem.

Sure, browse this site to make future plans, but for now, stay home and ride on your own, locally.

I am going to post a few favourite videos this weekend to keep you dreaming of that day we are all back doing what we love – Trail Riding 

 

Be Well – Dan Roitner

 

Note date and location of articles for current news.

Canadian Cycling Magazine

MTB Atlantic

Bicycling Magazine

MTR.com (Mountain Trail Review)

MTB Pinkbike

IMBA Canada

 

Ontario Government  – Covid info and self-assessment

Canadian Government – Covid  info

bike path and cyclist
April 10, 20202 Comments
Winter Fatbike Riding in Ontario

winter 2020 update

When winter comes around in Ontario most of us fair weather riders put our bikes away.

But Fatbikes (or is it Fat Bikes?) are a new design of mountain bike that enables riders keen on riding year round to get out of the spin classes and do real riding.

This new trend evolves our bike sport to new possibilities and one day I see it in the winter Olympics.

These new bicycles are a hybrid of the MTB concept.

The obvious difference you can see is the fat tires that help you “float” over loose, soft terrain, be it snow, sand or soggy soil. A base on regular MTB tires to have an easier and more enjoyable ride.

What also has changed is one crank gear up front, fewer speeds to change and a lower gear ratio. These bikes are not made for speed as there is plenty of friction at work as the fat tires plow through the snow.

Fat bikes come with wide handlebars, disc brakes on a wide fork frame, but few have shocks. You just don’t need them on the soft stuff. Tires may have studs for ice and tire pressure is a low 10 psi or less.

With the fat soft tires and wide handlebar stance, riders have firm control and keep moving beyond what a typical MTB could handle.

There is a limit naturally, traveling through half a metre of powder is going to be tough. Ice is more manageable but still treat with caution as any rubber bike tire can slip from under you in a blink.

Metal studded tires come to the rescue giving a rider a firm tread on maneuvering precarious icy patches.

In a way riding on snow would give you a soft landing when a fall comes. Still wear a helmet over a thin toque cause those trees are not moving.

Keeping warm is an issue and requires a change in tactics. How to keep your feet, fingers and drinking water from freezing is a concern. You may opt for flat pedals and winter boots, or covers for riding shoes and your bar handles. Lots of accessories are coming out to fill this niche.

If you cross country ski you know all about the balance between staying warm but not sweating too much, as this moisture will chill you out eventually.

One has to dress in layers and peel before overheating. Remember that the days are short and be certain not to get lost. That’s definitely more of a problem than in the summer.

So with that short intro where can you ride your Fat Bike in Ontario? The simple answer is everywhere you could with your summer bike. Well almost… there are exceptions to this new sport.

Many summer ride locations on this site’s map pages are Nordic ski locations in the winter. Be sure you are welcome and give lots of space to skiers as you have better braking and turning then they do. And never ride over the ski tracks set in the snow, that’s just bad etiquette.

Most MTB, forest parks and rail trails on this site have easy routes to try. Also up north snowmobile trails are a possibility with hundreds of kilometres to ride if you find a quiet side loop. Use caution as these snow machines need as much respect as cars.

Below is a list of links to get you on your way. Rent first then buy into it later.

Check the Weather and Snow Depth, before you Go

Where to Ride a Fatbike in the Winter:

First try my Fatbike Tag on this site for ideas…

 

My close to Toronto favourites – free, few hills, no crowds:

Whitchurch – flat, easy, just north of Toronto

Bendor  – easy rolling hills

Long Sault – hilly, small fee north of Bowmanville

Eldred King – gentle grades, sandy too

Palgrave – north of Albion Hills and similar

Durham Forest – free, groomed loops!

Glen Major – beside Durham for more action

 

Farther away from Toronto

Northumberland – free, hills, large area north of Cobourg

Dufferin Forest – south of Collingwood, some grooming

Hydrocut – Waterloo

Guelph Lake – Guelph,

The Pines – Woodstock, some grooming

Turkey Point – on Lake Erie, snow depth could be low

Ottawa – river park trail

Larose Forest – south of Ottawa

Kivi Park – Sudbury

Torrance Barrens – Bala

Algonquin Park – Minnesing,  Rail Trail

BRMC – Bracebridge

Shuniah Mines – Thunderbay

+ Groomed with Trail Fees $

Why would you pay when you can ride for free? Well, few times the snow base is ideal for Fatbike riding. There may be too much snow and you are getting nowhere fast burning up energy. Or it could be icy and lumpy, no fun either.

A groomed path sets up the snow base to roll easier with better traction. Climbing and zipping down winding tracks become manageable and fun too. Plus even your regular MTB  with not so fat tires can take on these trails.

 

Albion Hills –  Black Trail only

Horseshoe – 9 km on snowshoe trail and beyond into Copland forest

Hardwood – Barrie lots to ride

Highlands Nordic – Collingwood – New trail

Georgian – Parry Sound

Walden – Sudbury

Hiawatha – Sault Ste. Marie

Gatineau – Ottawa area

LivOutside – Bracebridge, bike park

 

Rail Trails – And then there are many Rail Trails in Ontario that one could Fatbike on. Granted they flat and straight, but if you want to put in some mileage they go on forever.

Most Rail Trails allow snowmobiles on parts of or the full length of the route. Some are popular snowmobile highways and likely not a good experience (or safe). Lesser traveled routes may be found and other Rail Trails, where sleds are banned, you will have no one but only the odd Nordic skier or hiker in sight.

Where to Rent a Fat Bike:

Approximate full day bike rental rates below, some shops do half day and hourly rentals. Also, the price gets better if you rent for additional days. Call ahead to be sure they have them as some locations have very few.

Horseshoe – $38 for 2 hours

Hardwood  – $ 50

Albion Hills – $56 (8 bikes, different sizes) no reservations

Algonquin Outfitters – Huntsville $45

Parry Sound Bikes – $50

Try Sports – Parry Sound  $48

Liv Outside – in Bracebridge ~$42

Oxygen Bike Co. – Toronto $ 75

Kamikaze Bikes – Collingwood $50

Friday Harbour  – Lake Simcoe  $25 for 2 hours

Adventure 360 – Sudbury $65

velorution – Sault Ste. Maire  $50

 

Here are a few websites for more info:

Wikipedia – Fatbike

Bike Cottage Country

Explorer’s Edge

Northern Ontario Travel

Fat Bikes.ca

Fat Bike.com

Now get out there and have some fun you crazy kids!



February 5, 20207 Comments, , , Bike Rentals | City Paths | Fatbike
Bicycle Trail & Tour Guides

After publishing two editions of my own bicycle trail guide, I got to know other guide books out there. Some are useless, while others are very inspiring to browse through and consider riding.

Whether you actually cycle any of them is secondary. Just exploring the possibilities, dreaming and scheming a way to do them is a buzz.

Here are a few guides I have checked out that will get you perhaps planning your own grand tour…far away.

Cicerone

In the U.K., Cicerone has been for a long time a big name for hiking and cycling guides. I had a few books sent to me and the quality is excellent.

You can tell the authors have ridden the routes many times. The books have plenty of detail and directions. At the beginning of the book is a primer to get familiar with the way the author rates trails.

There’s also some insight into what you need to prepare for the rides and conditions to expect. Colour maps and photos round out the guide.

Here is a sample of the two types of the many riding guides offered – MTB trails or longer cycling tours.

If you favour mountain biking, pick your flavour. The Lake District is a hilly and beautiful place in England. The rocky highlands in Northern Scotland push your limits and give you awesome views when you finally make it to the top.

Both guides give you a taste of what to expect with difficulty ratings and elevation graphs. MTB riding in Europe is different than Ontario. Expect more open established paths (centuries-old), with some side roads, farm fields and a recommended pub at the end!

Bike touring can be all road riding but I found these ones use paved path off the road too. Following along the famous Rhine, Danube or Loire Rivers gives flat terrain with scenic historic sights.

After looking at the guides, I am thinking of now doing sections of the Rhine River, one summer soon. The Loire Valley in France, I have done and it was a marvellous time. Then perhaps trying a few MTB trails in the Lake District is next.

 

Buy the book on Amazon – MTB Lake District, Northern Scotland or tour Rhine, Danube or Loire Rivers.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Detour – Cycling Across Canada on a Recumbent

An old riding mate, Paul Stockton from the Toronto Bicycle Network, (TBN) sent me his book to read. Though I am not much of a road rider anymore, his tales of cycling across Canada from the comfort of my couch were enlightening and entertaining to read.

A few years ago he got laid off with a “package”. Just the excuse to go for a spin — a long one.

Paul has a dry sense of humour and many years of touring behind him. (India, New Zealand, Switzerland, the North Amerian Pacific coast…)

He details his daily encounters with other riders, local friendly Canadians, the ever-changing weather and contending with 11 flat tires.

To make it even more “fun” he went basic, no electronics (left his cell phone at home) and promising never to enter a Tim Horton’s on the way.  If you ever considered the journey, here is a book to get you going.

Buy the eBook or Paperback 

August 10, 2019No comments,
OBT Bike Trail Guide

Best Bicycle Park & Rail Trails in Ontario

New 2019 Edition –  Bike Trail Guide –  eBook or Paperback
Park-and-Rail-Books-

    • 65 Trail Reviews, 150 pages 

    • Top 45 Park Paths + 20 Rail Trails in Ontario, Canada

    • 65 NEW Maps and Elevation Charts

    • Links to local trail websites and OBT

    • Most paths 100% car-free, easy terrain, with few hills

    • Consistent review ratings, from one source – the author

    • 30 day money back guarantee

There are 65 reviews in this eBook – 151 pages

45 Park Paths through city parklands and forest trails in rural Ontario wood lots. Plus 20 Rail Trailways through country and urban areas. These are some of the best bicycle routes you can find in Ontario, Canada.

All trails were scouted, reviewed and photographed by the author.

Most trails are easy, scenic, leisurely bike cruising, with few hills and all are off road, car-free bike riding fun!

Use this guide to dream, plan and cycle somewhere new on your next outing. Make vacation plans as a tourist and visit other areas in Ontario.

Subscribe to the Newsletter and get it for only $8.90

(with the discount code) or pay the regular $9.90 – Canadian

An email will be sent within minutes with the PDF download link.


Buy the eBook 

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Paperback Hardcopy Version

Dan Roitner

Author -Dan Roitner

Want a 8.5 x 11” full-colour book to flip through?

A paperback version of this guide book is now available on Amazon.
(the eBook version is included, details in the paperback to download file)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

I Thank You for Your Support – Dan Roitner  – Author and site owner

Any Questions?  send me a note

For all the mountain bike riders, a similar MTB Trail Guide for Ontario is up next. That will take another few months for me to update, take photos and make maps, design, layout…

May 10, 20197 Comments
Free Bike Trail Reference Chart

Last year I got thinking that it would be very handy for bike riders to have something they could refer to when looking to go out and ride somewhere new.

Sure you can come to this website and surf for ideas, but what if you also had a condensed list of all the trails as a starting reference.

After much thought and many hours of labouring, I think I’ve put together a wonderful list of most of the bike trails on this site, in a quick to read format. This PDF file can be saved on your phone, desktop or printed out as a reference.

Here is What is Listed on Our Chart :

Trail Number – number matches the approximate location on the map on page 1

Trail Name – common name for this forest, woodlot, park, Rail trail or BMX park. Links are to ontariobiketrails.com webpages with full reviews.

Location – general location in Ontario of trails. Some trail spots do not have exact addresses; refer to OBT website maps

MTB km – total kilometres of mountain bike style trail – combined single + double track

Park km – total kilometres, one way, of Park style paths on paved and soil trails in city parks or forest woodlots.

Rail km – total kilometres, one way, of Rail trail style routes on repurposed old railway lines.

BMX – BMX Park/Racetrack or suitable Skate Park at this location

Skill Level – minimum skill level and rated mainly for that skill level range for your safety and enjoyment.

E = Easy, enough trail here for a beginner to enjoy and learn bike riding
I = Intermediate, enough trail here for a seasoned, intermediate bike rider to enjoy
A = Advanced, enough challenging, expert trail here to keep the pros happy
All = All Levels, enjoyable for everyone; there are enough sections of trail for every skill level to enjoy,  though not all trails may be suitable for all skill levels.

>  Note this rating is not based on distance.  One could ride an Easy Rail trail, which is flat, crushed gravel for 50 km, at which point is not going to be easy for a beginner.

Surface & Terrain – a brief summary of the trail base, general elevation and any added structures (log hops, boardwalks, skinnies, jumps, bridges…) more detail on the site pages

Trail Fee – typical cost (if any) to bike for the day for one adult on a weekend

Rentals – bike rentals are available locally

Toilets – always good to know of pit stops – fancy public washrooms or just an outhouse

chart page 1

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to my  Newsletter below and a link to the trail chart will be sent. Stay subscribed to get the updated version.

A newsletter is sent a few times a year, seasonally. Current cycling trail news, tips, discounts.

No spam – opt out anytime




I am interested in these topics:


To get this free Bike Trail Chart, check which of the 4 boxes; Mountain Biking – Park Paths – Rail Trails or BMX Parks you are interesting.

Tell us what kind of bike riding you favour. This right away tells us what type of riding the newsletters in the future should focus on for you. Yes, you need to subscribe to our newsletters to get the freebie.

Next check your email inbox for one of those confirmation emails (so that I know you’re a real person –with a bike and not a robot bike). Once you’ve done that, a link to a OBT webpage will show you how to download the chart.

Now I encourage you to stay subscribed to the newsletter, because with each new issue I will have a link to an updated version of this chart.

Newsletters take time to make, you won’t be getting a flood of them. Maybe 4 or 5 a year?? My priority is to add new trail reviews, cycling articles to the site and publishing guide books. Naturally, staying subscribed will inform you of that and current Ontario bike trail news.

Have a great ride; see you on the trail! – Dan Roitner

March 2, 20188 Comments
Where to MTB as a Tourist Near Toronto

Where to Mountain Bike Ride when Visiting Toronto?

So you love mountain biking and what better time to do it than on a holiday. Whether you are visiting Toronto for a few days or longer, here are a few tips and destinations I would suggest.

Many of us have travelled around and wondered where are those hidden trails the locals frequent? Finding them and getting the real deal as to if they will suit your taste in riding is a time consuming task that does not always pan out. Hence this post, and on a grander scale this site, is here to help you.

Are you bringing your MTB? If not, here are a few places that rent.

Next, which top rides close to Toronto would I recommend? There are many that are good on our map but if you only have time for one bike ride, look through the list below.

Unfortunately there is only one trail system in Toronto itself (the Don Valley), any other loops are too short or convoluted to make your visit in a strange city enjoyable. So you will need a car and typically an hour or more to drive to one of these trailheads. And Toronto traffic is a gauntlet at times so plan your trip, and give yourself half a day.

Near Toronto

Don Valley –   in Toronot (if you can’t even leave town) central, moderate, flows, hilly
Kelso – (west of Toronto) hilly, variety
Albion Hills – (north west side of town) hilly, variety, long
Centennial Park – (central close to Toronto) short, easy, flows
Durham Forest – (east side) easy to hard, large area, joins with Glen Major


OK, what you really want is an EPIC Ontario ride when you visit. Hmm, it won’t be as EPIC as riding Utah but it could be different and fun anyway. You’re on holidays and have all day to ride and you’re looking to take back tall tales and life is short. Here are a few MTB rides a little further from Toronto, but certain to please.



A Day Trip

Hardwood – (due north) full service, great trails, mtb bike rentals
Haliburton Forest – (further north) large, trails just keep going
Ganaraska Forest – (east side) has a IMBA Epic trail, endless trail and not too tough
Harold Town – (new) IMBA designed trails, maybe too short but all sweet
Hilton Falls – (west side) rocky, trails keeps going…NE and W

And if you need to ride in the winter we have an indoor ride park – Joy Ride 150

TIP: One last bit of advice if you want to find a trail, which is to hitch up with an organized ride by checking out bike club websites for what’s scheduled. Send them a note, ask if you can join them.

It’s a great way to get guided to the best track, in the best direction. The locals know their turf and will not only welcome you but it’s always safer to ride with others and you could make a few friends.

So come out and visit Toronto one day   – Dan

July 30, 2017No comments, EPIC
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Hey, this may be interesting for you: Where to Safely Take Kids Cycling?!

This is the link: https://ontariobiketrails.com/where-to-safely-take-kids-cycling/

Lets get together and do a ride soon.