Haliburton Highlands

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Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve - photo by Thom Lambert

Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. Photo credit: Thom Lambert.

Explore the breathtaking scenery of the Haliburton Highlands through a network of on and off-road cycling routes. With over 600 lakes, numerous rivers, and the rolling hills of the Canadian Shield, there is ample topography and scenery to enjoy. Cyclists can also explore the area’s flourishing artist studios and charming villages.

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.

Find bicycle friendly businesses to eat, visit and sleep

Haliburton Highlands – Gravel Biking Routes – A little more remote, a little more adventure, a lot more scenic. Gravel biking in Haliburton is for people that want to get really ‘out there’, maybe on some decommissioned service roads or just really chunky, hard to access roads or paths that can take you somewhere really remote and special. Haliburton Highlands Tourism has a new collection of 20 routes covering over 700 Km of some of the best places to get away from the traffic of road biking. These can be accessed and navigated for free courtesy of their Ride with GPS Tourism Account.

Local Recommended Routes:

  • If you are looking for a family friendly, level ride with a great bakery stop halfway, check out the Bakery to Bakery route. Fuel stops on each end, and a great picnic spot partway down makes it a great option for young gravellers.
  • If you want a longer adventure with an easy side trip to a brewery, check out the Blairhampton Ramble. Lots of gravel, some pavement, and a little bit of adventure riding.

Haliburton Highlands Road Cycling – These routes, found on the Haliburton Highlands Ride with GPS Tourism Account (free navigation) take advantage of the wide variety of paved riding in the Haliburton Highlands, from secondary highways to quiet cottage roads. Be aware that even winding cottage roads can be quite busy during summer months, and especially in the fall colour season. Share the road by riding single file and making yourself as visible as possible.

Local Recommended 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.

Haliburton Highlands – Two Day Itinerary – Known for its rolling hills, highland views, plus endless lakes and rivers, Haliburton Highlands is a top spot for several days of riding. Enjoy over 200km of smoothly paved roads and easy to navigate loops along with a variety of accommodations suited for smaller or larger groups make the Highlands a cottage country ride destination. Not to be missed.

  • Haliburton Forest MapSir 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 Wild Life Reserve – 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 with two loops; 13 and 19 km in length. The 13 km loop is moderately difficult, while the 19 km loop is considered difficult.
  • Byers Lake – Located in the south end of Algonquin Park, this 7 km mountain biking trail is of moderate difficulty and is recommended for mountain and fat bikes, due to being fairly soft and sandy, with hills and some wet areas.. 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. Be cautious and watch out for horseback riders on the trail.
  • 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.
  • RailTrailCover HaliburtonHaliburton 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.
  • COLTCentral Ontario Loop Trail (COLT) – This 450km loop is a popular multi-day bike packing route that incorporates the Victoria Rail Trail, The Ganaraska Trail, The Hastings Heritage Trail, The IB & O Rail Trail, and cuts through the Ganaraska Forest. Trail surfaces vary, a mountain or cross bike is recommended. With a variety of scenic landscapes the route passes through a number of smaller communities with services and accommodation or camping options. Link provided is directed to blog article, currently best source for information.
  • 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.

* Please note there may be 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.

Haliburton Highlands – Related Blogs:

Easy Rider – Relaxed Cycling in Ontario’s Highlands

September 1, 2023|

Not every bike ride needs to involve grueling hours spent on the road or trail. Sometimes the best rides are the ones where you take it easy, slow it down and see new communities, and maybe even stop for a bite to eat. If you’re not into wearing padded bike shorts and setting a challenging pace, plan your next ride in Ontario’s Highlands where your cycling adventure can match your mood, abilities, and bike.

  • Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve - photo by Thom Lambert

Gravel Riding in the Haliburton Highlands

August 1, 2022|

If you, like thousands of cyclists all over the world, have discovered the joys of gravel riding, you owe it to yourself to consider a trip to the Haliburton Highlands. From smooth, rolling gravel roads to full-on adventure riding in iconic Algonquin Park, you can find a gravel route here to challenge you and re-ignite your love of cycling.

Bikepacking in Ontario? Get Started Here

June 1, 2022|

Bikepacking is a natural next step for those who love both cycling and camping, it truly is human power for the win. Over the past few years, Ontario’s Highlands has emerged as a bikepacker’s paradise. Before you head out, here are some tips for planning your first trip.

For more information on accommodation, attractions and activities within Haliburton Highlands visit Haliburton Tourism.

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