Ontario’s Ride Around the Park
By: John Arkwright
Ontario’s famous RAP Tour has tenaciously stood the test of time, and continues to get better with age.
The Tour route was laid out in 1994 and masses of snowmobilers, myself included, began riding it in 1995. In the ensuing years it has become one of my favorite rides.
The basic loop around the perimeter of Ontario’s vast Algonquin Provincial Park is a daunting 600 miles long but it can be completed very easily in four days.
The joy of this tour is its versatility. You can take any number of side trips and make a week or more out of it.
You’ll ride through four unique snowmobiling regions: The Haliburton Highlands, Eastern Ontario, the Near North Travel Region and the Muskoka Snowmobile Region.
Every imaginable type of trail is found on this circuit: Rail and hydro lines, abandoned logging roads and, on the north side of this tour from Pettawawa to Mattawa, you’ll ride on a pipeline that offers an experience you’ll talk about for years.
At Mattawa, I strongly recommend crossing the river and taking trails MA-150 and NB-301 into North Bay. It’s a sweet ride. Also, Trail D down through South River to Emsdale is absolutely stellar.
Then there’s B Trail from Minden right up to Pembroke! The list of great trails goes on and on! The four major population centers on this tour are Huntsville, Haliburton, Pembroke and North Bay.
On this tour you’ll find excellent quality accommodations no further than 100 miles apart around the whole loop.
If you’re planning to do the RAP Tour I would suggest late January through February will usually guarantee great conditions. March riding can be excellent, but is sometimes unpredictable.
This part of the province is appealing because of its excellent snow conditions and moderate temperatures. This, in turn, makes for comfortable long distance riding.
When riding the tour be sure to stop in and say hello to Maurice at Spectacle Lake Lodge, Doug at Kingfisher Lodge and Tim at the Algonquin Motel.
These three were an integral part of putting this great saddlebag tour together. There are very few out there that offer the quality of the RAP Tour!
For more information call 1-800-ONTARIO and visit www.ontariotravel.net/goride