Top 20 in 2020
We are stoked that the riding season is just around the corner. Winter has been busy at the Ride the Highlands World Headquarters. We’ve been planning and prepping for the new season, and now we’re ready to ride. To kick off this year, we’ve created a list of the top 20 things for you to do in Ontario’s Highlands in 2020, as you wind your way along our epic roads.
3. Charlie D’s in Barry’s Bay has been part of the Ride the Highlands family since the beginning. Visit this destination and find out why it has landed on the Must See list in the past. While you’re there, try one of their 16 Poutines with Personality.
5. Plan a day out of the saddle and experience a different thrill with class III-V rapids on the Ottawa and Madawaska Rivers. Raft or paddle in the Whitewater Capital of Canada with some of the world’s best rafting companies including: OWL Rafting, Wilderness Tours, River Run Rafting and Madawaska Kanu Centre.
7. The Ontario’s Highlands region has become a hot spot for craft beer, wines and spirits. As you tour the region, fill your saddle bag to enjoy later.
8. Snap some photos with larger than life roadside attractions.
9. Take a break and enjoy the view at one of these perfect patios.
10. Drop your kickstand at the oldest continually operating general store in North America. Pakenham General Store is a step back in time with its charming wood floors and original counters. Make sure you try their famous sticky buns.
11. Experience one of the best views in Ontario’s Highlands. Climb the 30 metre tall Dorset Lookout Tower for a scenic view of the Lake of Bays. (The Dorset Lookout Tower is currently closed until further notice. Keep checking back regarding its status, because it is worth the climb!)
12. The fall colours in Ontario’s Highlands are beyond epic. Take the ultimate rip with the Ride the Highlands Fall Loop. Make sure you go counter-clockwise to avoid traffic driving through Algonquin Park.
13. Ontario’s Highlands was settled early and is blanketed in history. Visit the area’s local museums and historic sites to learn about its hardy people.
14. The Rideau Canal is a National Historic Site and is equally as impressive as the roads which wind their way around it. The Rideau Ridge takes you through many historic downtowns where you can walk along the canal.
15. Eat! The food in Ontario’s Highlands is unreal and many of the restauranteurs take pride in sourcing their products locally. If there’s no time limit on your Ride the Highlands adventure, we suggest you drop your kickstand at as many restaurants, bakeries and cafés as you can. Trust us; you’ll be happy you did.
16. Ride your bike on the Quyon Ferry that crosses the Ottawa River to Quebec. It’s only a couple bucks and is a fun way to enter La Belle Province.
17. Like good coffee? Like, really good coffee? Get a shot of high octane espresso at these coffee shops Madawaska Coffee Company, The Cottage Coffee House, The Little Coffee Shop, and Espresso Ur Self Café; or grab some beans to take home from these amazing roasters.
18. Photograph your bike in front of town welcome signs. A Where’s Waldo of sorts; and your friends will love seeing where your trip is taking you.
19. Take a roadside nap. Find a scenic and safe place to pull over, lie on the ground, look up, take a deep breath, and let the Highlands whisk you away for a quick nap. Trust us…..it feels good.
20. Just wing it. Yes, we have lots of great preplanned routes, but sometimes the best part of a ride is the unexpected. The left right game is always fun once you are here.