Bordered at the north by Algonquin Park, the Highlands features extensive mountain biking trails and a network of quiet roads. Lucky bikers may catch a glimpse of the Highland Wheeler, a phantom cyclist who roams the roads of the Haliburton Highlands.
Established On-Road Routes
The Haliburton Highlands Cycling Coalition mapped and published 14 popular road routes across the County, ranging from 6 to 100 km. The Bike Haliburton County map features difficulty ratings, information on traffic levels, road surfaces and facilities en route, with options for all levels of cyclists. Paved shoulders are intermittent. Cyclists should expect to share the road with motor vehicles on all routes, and follow the rules of the road accordingly. For more information on routes below, consult the Cycle The Haliburton Highlands cycling map.
Easier Routes: Minden Village Loop – 2.5 km; Haliburton Head Lake Trail – 6 km loop; Stanhope Heritage Cycling Tour - 10km loop; Stanhope Green Lake West Guilford Eagle Lake - 44 km.
More Difficult Routes: West Guilford Eagle Lake Loop - 23km; Haliburton Donald Lochlin Ingoldsby Haliburton - 39km; Minden Norland Kinmount Minden - 65km.
Most Difficult Routes: Haliburton Tory Hill Wilberforce Haliburton - 65km loop; Haliburton Tory Hill Gooderham Irondale Kinmount Gelert Lochlin Haliburton - 109km loop; The Loop Road: Tory Hill Wilberforce Harcourt Highland Grove Tory Hill - 53km; Haliburton West Guilford Carnarvon Minden Haliburton - 66km loop; Minden-Bobcaygeon Rd* to 118 Carnarvon Minden - 35km loop; Haliburton Harburn Rd Fort Irwin Eagle Lake Haliburton - 50km loop.
Road & Trail Loops
The following two looped routes in Highlands East are on a mix of quiet side roads and off road trails. They are multi-use routes so users may encounter motorized recreational vehicles and horses. The area is well know for geocaching, which could make a fun addition a bike ride.
- Prospector Trail Loop - This 16km loop that travels between Wilberforce and Harcourt is a trail with a tale of prospectors and miners that came to the area in the early to mid 1900's. Primarily on side roads, there are some off road portions and also options to shorten the ride.
- Homesteader Trail Loop - All but 6km of this 25 km loop are on side roads, following a route from Tory Hill recognizing pioneers and early homesteaders who tried to farm the tough and wild Canadian Shield in this area.
Regional Mountain Biking Information
- Sir Sam's Ski & Bike – Located on the hill overlooking Eagle Lake, north of the town of Haliburton, Sir Sam's has 13 km of cross country trails plus 9 km of downhill trails. Ride up and down, or purchase a lift pass along with the trail pass that is required to access trails suited to all levels of riders.
- Haliburton Forest and WildLife – Mountain biking trails and many other outdoor adventure experiences are available on 70,000 acres of privately owned and sustainably managed forest. There are over 300 km of forest access roads and multi-use trails with detailed trail maps to assist with route selection. Trail passes are required and available at Kennisis Lake Base Camp.
- Glebe Park – The Haliburton Highlands Mountain Bike Club has developed a network of single track trails that, combined with existing double track trails, offer over 10 km of riding. Trails start at Glebe Park Haliburton Sculpture Forest and are open for members or day users with purchase of trail pass.
- Silent Lake Provincial Park – Located in the southeastern corner of Haliburton County, this provincial park has a cross-country trail network wih two loops; 13 and 19 km in length. The 13 km loop is moderately difficult, while the 19 km loop is considered difficult. Access fee Cost - $14.00 per car/ Day Use Fee or $1.00 to walk/ride into the Park.
- Byers Lake – Located in the south end of Algonquin Park, this 7 km mountain biking trail is easy for the first 4 km with hills and some wet areas for the rest. The journey takes about an hour to cycle and is open from June to Thanksgiving. The side trail to the Gut Rapids Canyon on the York River is a must see.
- Wilberforce Harcourt Loop – This 20 km mountain biking loop is appropriate for beginners and intermediate riders with a mix of trail riding and unpaved roads.
Major Off-Road Trails
- Haliburton County Rail Trail - The 35 km multi-use rail trail takes cyclists through forests, past rivers, waterfalls, bogs and heritage bridges between the communities of Haliburton and Kinmount. In Kinmount, connect to the Victoria Rail Trail, which continues another 55 km to Lindsay, and on to Peterborough. Trail surfaces are mixed and rough so a mountain or hybrid bike is essential. The trail is open exclusively to non-motorized use from the beginning of April to mid-May. The trail is shared with motorized users from mid-May to November 30th.
- IB & O Rail Trail – This flat and easy rail trail near Tory Hill travels 14 km through forest with rocky outcrops in the north and lakes and wetlands to the south. This multi-use trail, shared with hikers and motorized vehicles, is suitable for mountain bikes.
Cross-Regional Routes & Trails Information
- Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT) – A 450km loop incorporating the Victoria Rail Trail, The Ganaraska Trail, The Hastings Heritage Trail, The IB & O Rail Trail, and cuts through the Ganaraska Forest; home to Paul’s Dirty Enduro IMBA Epic Trail.
- Victoria Rail Trail – This 85 km links Bethany and Haliburton. The mixed surface path requires a mountain or hybrid bike and is shared with other non-motorized and ATV users. The South Corridor connects Bethany to Lindsay along a surface of railway ballast materials consisting of large stones. The North Corridor runs from Lindsay to Haliburton on various surfaces including stone dust, gravel, and potholes filled with sand. The trail connects to the Haliburton County Rail Trail.
Information Sources & Published Maps
- Cycle the Haliburton Highlands. Map. County of Haliburton and Cycle Haliburton. 2015. This map details 16 of the most popular and commonly used cycling routes in Haliburton County, with options for easy to difficult rides. Print copies available at: Minden Tourist Information Centre, Rails End Gallery in Haliburton Village and bed & breakfasts and resorts throughout Haliburton County.
- Haliburton County Rail Trail Maps. There are two useful maps of this trail from Haliburton to Kinmount: County of Haliburton trail map 2014; Friends of the Rail Trail map 2013, with landmarks and services, including washrooms, marked.
- Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve Ltd. Trail Map. Map. Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve Ltd. The summer map details mountain biking trails by difficulty. Print copies available free at Base Camp.
- Sir Sam's Ski and Bike Trail Map. Map. Sir Sam's. Rates trails by beginner, intermediate and expert levels.
- The Homesteader Trail Loop & The Prospector Trail Loop. Map Brochures. Municipality of Highlands East. Detailed maps of each route and useful information.
- Cycle Haliburton. Website. Haliburton Highlands Cycling Coalition's website is the local resource for the latest information on cycling in Haliburton County, maps, and more.
- Haliburton Real Easy Ryders Cycling Club. Website/Online Maps. Cycling club has mapped routes in Haliburton County and made accessible for pdf download.
*Please note there are many additional map guides for the region that cyclists may find interesting or useful. New maps and guides are produced yearly, and the information listed here may change.
Program Funding Partners
Haliburton Highlands Workshop Partners
Halliburton Highlands Workshop Supporters