Old Nipissing Road
|Location||This trail runs through various towns and villages|
|Trailhead UTM||605821 mE x 5057798 mN|
|Length||70 km / 44 mi|
|Activities||hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing|
|Amenities||parking, rest area|
Rules for Use
- much of the land around the Old Nipissing Road is private, so users must be respectful of landowners adjacent to the trail
- Visit the Old Nipissing Road website for detailed information about what you’ll find along the trail!
The Nipissing Road was once home to many settlements of hopeful pioneers, but is now guarded by their abandoned log cabins and weathered barns. The road runs through the centre of the Parry Sound District between highways 69 and 11. It winds along 70 km of gravel road, bush trail and paved highway (#510) from Rosseau on Hwy 141 to Nipissing on Hwy 534. The Nipissing Road is a ghost town trail with no facilities between Magnetawan and Nipissing. Although the road is gravel, its condition varies. Some sections are wide and well kept; others are little more than two ruts plunging into dark woods, much as the pioneers might remember it. A series of historic markers are located along the route. (See Additional Information for route details.)
Leave Magnetawan north on Hwy. 520 and turn right onto Hwy 510. Cross Hwy 124 past the Chapman cemetery. Here, the road is as the pioneer travelers might have known it. The forest is tall and dark, and the dirt ruts bend and twist around each obstacle. Despite its pioneer condition, the road may be passable by bicycle or 4 wheel drive, although slow. After 18 km, there appears a clearing and a white frame house. This is the site of a famous hotel with the colourful name of ‘Bummer’s Roost’. For the next 2 km the Nipissing Road is impassable, except maybe by foot or bike. If driving, take the road right for 1.5 km and then the first road left, which again has no number. After 2 km you will rejoin the original alignment at the abandoned hamlet of Rye. Gone now are the store, post office, and log hotels – some sources say as many as four – and Rye today consists of a brick school (now residence) and 1.5 km north of that, an intersection full of old foundations. Four bush farms still guard the next km of road, until once more the route becomes deserted and unusable. The road in this area is passable by bike only. Watch for the “Forgotten Trail” signs. Follow a one-time concession road “the Jerusalem Road” for 6 km to a T-intersection with the Mandeville Road. Then turn left for 3 km to another T-intersection. Here you pass through an abandoned rural settlement, which was called Mandeville. The land is low and swampy, and a young forest closes In overhead. Bush barns, long abandoned, are collapsed, and their overgrown clearings are indiscernible from the road. At the second intersection again turn left. Once more, you emerge onto a rocky upland – the hills however are steeper. After winding through a mature forest and past a pair of marginal farms, you will suddenly come to the crest of a knoll. Below lies the Commanda Valley. As you descend the valley to Commanda village, the road merges imperceptibly with the Nipissing Road. Words of caution – some of the bridges in this part of the route are closed and may necessitate a detour. Following Rye Road, you will emerge at Hwy 522. Make a turn to the right for 2.0 km to Commanda.