Small towns with an array of amenities and unspoilt shoreline add to the romance of an island getaway easily enjoyed by bicycle. LaCloche Foothills offers long distance touring cyclists a great opportunity to experience the beauty of the North Channel and nearby Killarney Provincial Park. The spectacular views will make the hilly climbs connecting Espanola to Manitoulin Island worth the effort. Long distance cyclists can connect from this area to Sault St Marie, Sudbury and using the ferry service, to Bruce Peninsula.
For regional listings of bicycle friendly businesses to eat, visit and sleep visit the Manitoulin Island and LaCloche Foothills - Ontario By Bike Map.
Regional Road Routes
As the largest island in a freshwater lake, Manitoulin is big enough for cyclists to enjoy a multi day tour. Many visitors may be unaware of the following distances between towns and destinations in between.
Road Distances on the Island:
- South Baymouth to Meldrum Bay - 133km
- South Baymouth to Little Current - 64km
- South Baymouth to Gore Bay - 83km
- Little Current to Espanola - 47km
- Little Current to Gore Bay - 63km
- Gore Bay to Meldrum Bay - 70km
Manitoulin Island Cycling Routes and Road Map - New in 2012, this map with over 10 cycling routes across the island has something suitable for every type of cyclists. Routes published online or on print copy of map. For more information and to order, visit: www.manitoulincycling.com
- Short and Sweet (10km+)
- South Baymouth to Meldrum Bay (125km)
- All About Kagawong (52km/23km options)
- Mindemoya to Cup and Saucer (42km)
- Mindemoya Lake Loop (32km)
- Little Current Vista Loop (17km)
- Espanola to South Baymouth (115km)
- Gore Bay – Lake Wolsley Circuit (51km)
- Providence Bay 2 Beach Loop (54km)
- Sheguiandah-Ten Mile Point Loop (52km)
- South Baymouth Country Loop (40km)
Country Roads – With plenty of quiet country roads around it is not hard to create numerous route options. Road surfaces differ from paved with shoulders perfect for cyclists, paved with light traffic, surface treated to hard packed gravel. The only times there is increased traffic and cyclists should use caution, is on the road to/from South Baymouth around ferry times.
Provincial Road Status Report - View a list (pdf) of provincial roadways on Manitoulin Island and their current suitability for cyclist HERE.
Many long distance cyclists travel this way as they are on round the lakes or cross Canada tours. Communities with many of the amenities and services cyclists are looking for are easily arrived at within a day's ride or closer. This area encompasses Espanola, communities along the north shore from Spanish to Nairn Centre, and south from Espanola towards Little Current on the Island.
Provincial Road Status Report
View a list (pdf) of provincial roadways in the LaCloche Foothills area and their current suitability for cyclist HERE. Highway 17, Highway 6.
Additional Information Manitoulin Tourism - General tourism information and cycling / hiking activity information. Bike Rentals - Available at Auberge Inn, Providence Bay & Bike Rentals Bike Service & Sales - Bike Medics, 2394 Hwy 540, between M'Chigeeng & Little Current
Regional Trail and Mountain Biking Information
- Bebamikawe Memorial Trail (Manitoulin Island) - Over 14km of single tract and up to 800m of double tract trail that can accommodate mountain bikes. Signage is mounted at three lookouts describing the historic and ecological significance of the area.
- McLean’s Park (Manitoulin Island) – Located towards the eastern end of the island, the park offers an 8km ride through roughly 40 ha (100 ac) of hardwood bush. The path is challenging along its rough terrain, but there is little elevation gain.
- M'Chigeeng Park (Manitoulin Island) – Located close to Manitoulin Secondary School this road brings cyclists to a few spots where they can swim and takes you uphill through a gravel pit to a spot offering beautiful views overlooking West Bay and the North Channel
Information Sources and Published Maps
- Manitoulin Island Cycling Routes and Road Map - New in 2012, this map with over 10 cycling routes across the island has something suitable for every type of cyclists. Routes published online or on print copy of map. Cost for cyclists to purchase map $2.
- Manitoulin Tourism - The information and call centre refers cyclists to additional sources for information. The website contains information on cycling as an island activity.
- Cycling the Backroads of Manitoulin – This publication is soon to be updated or recreated. It is currently out of print. The new mapbook is expected to be published in the near future. Lead group on republishing effort is MICA – Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocacy group.
Please note there may be additional information and map guides for the area that may be of interest and useful to cyclists. New maps and guides are available yearly, and information above may change.
Cross Regional Cycling Routes & Getting There
Proposed North Shore Bike Route – Currently underdevelopment, this route will take cyclists from Sault St. Marie to Sudbury 340km. With only 5% of route expected to be on busy Highway 17, this route will offer a quieter scenic alternate routing option increasing access to towns enroute and the North Channel shoreline. Plan your own route now - make use of provincial road maps - until route maps are published.
Long distance cyclist can make use of information above to create their own cross regional cycling route by making use of information above, including current Road Status Reports and provincial road maps. Popular route takes cyclists from Sault St Marie, to Espanola, Little Current, South Baymouth with the ferry connecting them to Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula.
- View ferry Information - Ms Chi-Cheemaun - May to October service.
Manitoulin Island / LaCloche Foothills Funding & Event Partners: