5 Year-Round Multi-Adventures in Northeastern Ontario

Escape the usual on the ancient Canadian Shield.

Rocky flowy trails, quiet gravel and rural roads, glacial lakes and rivers —1000’s of km of trails in the North are calling.

There is a song by Canadian rock icons The Tragically Hip that exemplifies Northeastern Ontario’s lesser-known, but soon-to-be-discovered multi-adventures: “The Last of the Unplucked Gems.”

Northeastern Ontario offers a unique and thrilling experience for outdoor adventurers. With its scenic routes, diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife and low population,  plenty of gems are waiting for those seeking an escape from the crowds and a truly northern experience.

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Where is Northeastern Ontario?Map of Northeastern Ontario

Travelling to Northeastern Ontario, visitors can either drive or fly into the region. Visitors arriving by air can connect in Toronto or Ottawa and catch a quick flight into the region’s major cities, which includes North Bay, a perfect home base for all of the multi-adventures. If you’re driving across Canada, then the Trans Canada Highway will take you right through North Bay!

Discovery Routes’ self-guided cycling experiences and multi-adventures are the perfect blend of adventure and wilderness with a touch of urban comfort and a unique Northern culture.

So pack your bags, grab your gear, and head to Northeastern Ontario for an experience like no other!

1. The Urban Adventure Tour: North Bay’s spirited Multi-Adventures

Cyclist admiring mural in downtown North Bay on the Spirit of the Bay Experience

Colourful murals decorate downtown North Bay

A great start to your adventure in the Northeast is a slow roll through the heart of North Bay, Ontario to discover a mosaic of creative and natural spaces reflecting the city’s cultural identity.

Inspired by the mighty Lake Nipissing, Spirit of the Bay is a self-guided cycling experience that will engage you with the local community while cycling through a secret garden, strolling on the shores of Lake Nipissing to take in a performance and exploring colourful murals throughout the downtown.

If you’ve still got energy after the ride, Discovery Routes details over 85 km of hiking trails in North Bay alone, including the not-to-be-missed Duchesnay Falls trails.

2. Heritage Pathways Adventure: Red Toque Tour Multi-Adventure

Three people resting in kayaks on the Mattawa River - Red Toque multi-adventure

Kayakers at Petit Paresseux Falls on Mattawa River photo: Shockwaves Tours

Following the well-worn trails of First Nation trade routes and clad in the iconic Red Toque, the Voyageurs embodied the freedom of the endless spaces of Northern Ontario’s rugged wilderness. Modern-day adventurers will discover this storied past cycling on quiet backroads on the Red Toque Tour Cycling Experience or paddling heritage waterways and hiking along historic portages and ancient trails on the Red Toque Tour Multi-Adventure.

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3. The Riverside Tour: Vive le Nord! in West Nipissing and French River

Group of cyclists biking uphill

Quiet Highway 535

With a fiercely proud Francophone heritage, an outdoor adventure through West Nipissing and the Municipality of French River following the Vive le Nord! Cycling Tour is an escape to an area with deep roots influenced by the region’s early settlers.

Riding the flats through the region’s agricultural lands into the rugged wilderness along Lake Nipissing’s West Arm presents road cyclists with a challenging and exciting ride where the kilometres evaporate over sweeping hills and quiet secondary highways with few cars.

Hike the wilderness trails at Mashkinonje Provincial Park or Dokis First Nation to discover a unique and diverse natural history. Launch a canoe at Wolseley Bay and explore the Upper French River renowned for its many islands, wind-swept pines and rock formations.

4. The Harvest Farmstand Tour: Farmstand 40 & Almaguin Spin

Group of women cyclists at a self-serve farmstand

The Farmstand 40 cycling tour in the Powassan area gives travellers a taste of local produce.

While both the Farmstand 40 and Almaguin Spin are perfect summer rides, they are even better in the glorious fall colours of Ontario. Spend a few days in the area and try out both tours. The Almaguin Highlands is home to surprisingly eclectic artisan villages and unique sites like the Screaming Heads and Crystal Cave.

On the 40 km gravel ride affectionately known as the Farmstand 40, be sure to stop at the many farm stands and pick up maple syrup, fresh veggies, baked goods and harvest fare along the way. Our only recommendation when cycling the tour: don’t put all your eggs in one bike basket 😉.

The Almaguin Spin is a favourite route of the local AIM Cycling Club, with a main 65km loop and 2 extensions rolling on well-paved quiet roads around Ahmic Lake, Eagle Lake and the Magnetawan River, through several quaint and eclectic villages.

clouds, rocks and trees in full autumn colour reflected in water

Magnetawan River in Fall

Savour those fresh goodies on any one of the handful of local hiking trails like The Pines boasting beautiful views of the surrounding highlands from which the area gets its name. To top off the adventure, a leisurely sunset paddle along the South River is the perfect conclusion to this peaceful journey.

5. Ride Winter Multi-adventure

Winter Fat Biking at the Education Centre Trails in North Bay

Winter Fat Biking at the Education Centre Trails in North Bay

Seriously seeking snow?

We’ve got it in spades all winter long, when your snow has melted or is a thin sprinkle or slush, Northeastern Ontario is your fatbiking heaven with its plentiful trail systems turning into a winter playground of groomed and ungroomed trails.

Our Ride Winter Multi-Adventure has everything you need to know about where to fat bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe and kick-sled in the region.

If you’ve never been in Northern Ontario in the winter, then you might not know that one of the most popular activities is ice fishing. North Bay was named one of the top ice fishing destinations in Canada, so give it a go when you are here.

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The vast network of trails we celebrate exist on the traditional lands and waterways of the Anishinaabe people within the territory protected by the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 and Williams Treaties of 1923.