Four Day Tour Itinerary - Horseshoe - Orillia - Barrie

The Huronia district of Simcoe County is one of the most historic and scenic parts of Ontario. French explorers, led by Samuel de Champlain, made contact with the Huron Indians in 1615 near Penetanguishene. Jesuit missionaries subsequently moved into the area establishing many missions in their attempts to “convert the natives”. The Hurons were an agricultural tribe spread out in many villages across the region. Unfortunately, they were eventually all but wiped out by disease and the Iroquois.

Huronia covers the area of land between Penetanguishene, Midland, Orillia and Barrie. It is characterized by a variety of geological features including rolling forested hills, large freshwater lakes (including Georgian Bay), flat expanses of farm land and the Niagara Escarpment to the west. The cycling routes in this region provide great beauty along with great challenges.

 

Day 1 – Intro Ride (25 - 50 km optional)

The tour starts in Oro Medonte (either Forks in the Trail B&B or MoonStone B&B). Depending upon your arrival time, you can complete a short cycle loop before dinner. The routes are all on paved quiet country road passing through forests and agricultural land. There are many rolling short hills which can make even a short ride challenging.

Dinner can be reserved at one of the Horseshoe Valley or Coldwater area restaurants.

 

Day 2 – Horseshoe Valley to Orillia (42 km)

Today’s ride starts in the Oro Moraine with its hills and rolling paved country roads. The route initially travels north and then east towards Orillia. The terrain becomes flatter agricultural land passing a variety of farms and large homes.

The suggested route is on paved road in Severn township, but there is rail trail option available. As you approach Orillia, the rail trail takes you under Hwy. 11.

The route continues into the north end of Orillia bringing you to Couchiching Beach Park on the Orillia waterfront. The Orillia waterfront trail is named the Lightfoot Trail after well-known singer Gordon Lightfoot. It is paved bike path along the waterfront to the Narrows (where Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe meet). In addition to being Gordon Lightfoot’s home town, Orillia was immortalized as the “fictional” Mariposa by humorist Stephen Leacock. Don’t miss the statue of Champlain in Couchiching Beach Park or the stores lining Orillia’s main street.

Enjoy the Stone Gate Inn, a small boutique hotel in Orillia. They can assist you with dinner reservations in either downtown Orillia or at Casino Rama.

 

Day 3 – Orillia to Barrie (45 km)

Day 3 is the flattest day of the tour as your route follows the Oro Medonte Rail Trail (crushed limestone surface) and lakeshore roads between Orillia and Barrie.

Leave Orillia heading south-west on the rail trail until you enter Oro Medonte. From there you can follow a variety of paved lakeshore roads along the shores of Lake Simcoe. You’ll pass parks, marinas and many large waterfront homes. Watch for the general store in the Village of Hawkestone and the Carthew Bay Café for snacks or ice cream.

Heading further south-west, you can ride into Barrie along the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail or along Ridge Road (a paved road favoured by local cyclists). The trail connects with the Barrie waterfront trail which follows the lakeshore directly into downtown Barrie through 5 km of waterfront park along Kempenfelt Bay.

There are several B&B options in Barrie (Richmond Manor or Three Wishes B&B), both located close to the many downtown restaurants.

 

Day 4 – Departure (35 km)

After breakfast, depart from Barrie and ride back to Oro Medonte to pick-up your car for your return home. The route retraces yesterday’s route into Barrie along the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail. However, you will then turn north cycling on paved township roads through reasonably flat agricultural areas until the uphill climb back up the Oro Moraine.

 

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