Northeastern Ontario is renowned for its motorcycle touring potential, amazing roads and spectacular destinations; but no matter how good the ride, eventually you will have to answer the call of nature, fill up the gas tank, or simply give your legs a stretch. Taking a break might be a no-brainer but not all stops are created equal! So here are a few of my favourite spots that have become something to look forward to – mini-destinations in their own right.
Note: As you’re travelling throughout the region, please make sure you’re following all COVID-related safety protocols; wash your hands frequently, keep physically distant and wear a mask. Read more here.
McLean’s Mountain Lookout
Perched above Little Current off of Highway 540, you will find the most scenic lookout on Manitoulin Island offering spectacular vistas of the North Channel. This is a lovely location with a challenging uphill approach on gravel.
French River Trading Post
This stop at Highway’s 69 about an hour south of Sudbury has a large store and a great restaurant that are both open seven days a week. The French River Trading Post is a great place to pick up a Canadian-made souvenir for someone you love—could be yourself—and depending on the time of day you stop in, the Hungry Bear restaurant will dish up a stack of their famous pancakes or a giant cheeseburger. If all of that puts you into too much of a food coma to saddle up, walk around the spacious grounds.
Lake Nipissing Lookout
Located west of North Bay along Highway 17, this by-chance stop is now a favourite. The south side lookout is good but the north side is even better. Take in the awesome view of Lake Nipissing, especially on a clear, windless blue bird day.
Lake Side Oasis
Located on Highway 64 just south of Mashkinoje Provincial Park, this road side rest stop is a breath of fresh air. Located lake side, shaded by trees and usually empty, the vibe is pure ‘northern cottage’. This is a must stop every time I pass, just to sit and soak it all in.
The gas station at the south end of Temagami with it’s views of Lake Temagami, boats, float plane landings, gas and food is perhaps the most scenic rest stop in Ontario. The best thing is – it’s no secret so you can always find some fellow riders to chat with.
Miss Claybelt the Cow
As Northeastern Ontario photo ops go, this oversized heifer might just be the most famous of all. Located at the Little Claybelt Homestead Museum, Miss Claybelt the cow looks good with any make of bike.
The Watershed at Highway’s 144 and 560
A dirt parking lot, pickup trucks and log movers. What it lacks in aesthetics, this truck stops makes up for with a northern French vibe and food that is home-cooked goodness. This is the only fuel-up for many kilometres.
So there you have it – my favourite spots to stretch the legs on a Northeastern Ontario moto tour! Every moment of a tour should be memorable, and rest stops are no exception.