Riding season for 2017 is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about all the places you want to ride this summer.
We are lucky in Ontario, especially in the GTA to have so many options for riding. The places listed below are our favourite places to ride and where you can find us on most weekends.
1) Christie Lake
These are our home trails and the place we ride the most. They may not be the most technical and there is not a large trail network like Hydrocut or Hardwood Hills but the trails they do have are very fast and fun. Maintained by the Hamilton Cycling Club the trails are always in great condition and they are expanding every year.
The trails are multi directional so you do have to be careful for riders going the other way, but on most of the trails you can see them coming and can avoid each other quite easily.
Almost every trail has a nice set of berms that really allow you to build-up and carry your speed through the singletrack. There are not any technical features so it is a great place to bring a beginner or someone who is new to mountain biking, but still fun enough to keep the more experienced riders interested.
2) Hydro Cut
Easily one of Ontario’s most popular riding destinations, it can see up to 200 riders a day on a nice weekend. Despite the number of riders, the trails aren’t crowded due to the 26km of singletrack and being one directional.
With just under 26km of singletrack it is easy to spend 2 to 3 hours and never ride the same trail twice.
The terrain is quite hilly especially on Frankenstein, Adam’s Run, Twister and Creepy Corner. The trail joining both forests is all uphill as well. But those climbs are worth it because the downhills are fast, fun and with enough speed, they can be a little scary. There are a couple rock gardens that will challenge riders. More common are large boulders along the trails that the trail designers have made rideable and quite the challenge.
You can’t come to Hydrocut and not ride the Kamikaze trail. Built into a ravine the trail drops down one side and then quickly transitions to climbing the other side. It is quite steep and tricky. The trailbuilders have put some stone and rock on the climbs to stop erosion and make it easier to climb but if there is any moisture you can forget it. If you don’t think you can ride the full Kamikaze there is cheater line down the middle that you can carry great speed and a couple of turns that can cause a surprise.
3) Dagmar Forest
Making a comeback after the trails were closes for a few years, Dagmar may not be as popular as Durham forest to the north, but in my opinion the trails are better.
The Dagmar trail map says that there is 13km of singletrack but it feels longer. That is not a bad thing, there is an amazing variety of trails that make you feel like you have ridden at a couple different areas. The first few trails have a good mix of technical descents with some rock gardens and little drops while the further you get on the trails they become more open and less technical.
There are some great descents that really allow you to challenge yourself, mainly Mr Mayhem, Zipline and Biopace blowout. Zipline is very fast and one – direction only, while Biopace Blowout can be ridden in both directions it is only recommended as a downhill because it is quite steep and has some blind corners. Mr Mayhem is more fun going downhill but can be ridden uphill as well to give you a good leg burning work out.
If you want some man made obstacles then you can ride CattleLogs for some teeter totters, skinnys and log formations. They kept it all to one trail so that you don’t have to worry about them on the other trails.
The only downside to Dagmar is the lack of parking. You have to park on the road at a small area near the trail entrance or at an intersection about 2km away from the trailhead. Not the most convenient.
These three locations are just some of the great places to ride in Ontario and we will be reviewing more throughout the year. If you have any recommendations for great rides reach out at one of our social media accounts and let us know. We are always looking for new places to ride and explore.