Old Nipissing Road | GTAMotorcycle.com

Old Nipissing Road

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
The other day coming home from a ride, I encountered some traffic and had to make a detour. My GPS sent me down this awesome road which turned out to be the Old Nipissing Road. I read up on it when I got home and it turns out it's a historical road which early pioneers and settlers used to use. Some info here: http://www.nipissingroad.ca/

Basically it starts around Rosseau in the south and ends in Commanda in the north.

If you're not scared of a little dirt or gravel mixed in with your pavement, this is a fun road. Apparently the far north section is pretty rough, but still largely passable by a bike or at least with room to turn around if you encounter a section that isn't. I'm going to go and ride the whole length one of these weekends to see what it's like. It's also nice that it goes through the 518 which is just all kinds of awesomeness to begin with.

I haven't been on the whole section mapped here, but have been on a good portion of it and feel it's one of the better runs through the Muskoka's and free of traffic. The paved sections are really nice with endless hills, turns and all kinds of curves. It is generally paved in the south and gets progressively more dirt and gravel moving north, except of the sections just south and north of Magnetawan, where the road reminds me Southwood #13 but more fun, because when it's paved you know what to expect and there are no loose surprises, and same goes for the gravel/dirt portions. Where it's gravel, it is a hardpacked gravel road and same goes with the dirt section... both are not the really loose stuff. The run from start to finish is around 120km (and more if you include the out and back of Orange Valley Road to Broadbent which also looks like a nice and dirty 40km blast).

Avoid when wet because there may be puddles hiding big potholes:)

Route:
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
agreed - put some knobbies on that and enjoy:) It's also great that you could do a sweet mix of pavement (520/518/Ravenscliffe) with the backroads. Here's the route I did and it was such a good mix of soft and hard surfaces. Route:

There's so many good little roads up there that I'm going to have to check out. It makes going up to the Muskoka's so much more worthwhile now... Also, after that run, I think from now on I'm just going to run knobbies on the front, because it made it so much better - even fully aired up, my bike must have been pushing close to 600lbs with all my camping gear, so can't wait to go up there and run it stripped with no luggage weighing me down.
 

Dan Dubeau

Well-known member
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SHHH, don't go telling everybody about the roads around Mmagnetawan. I've got family up there (live on the 510), and have been going up there since i was born. Fantastic scenic motorcycle roads up there.
 

omnivore

Well-known member
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The KTM came with Pirelli Scorpion Syncs, that I removed immediately. Maybe I need to put them back on and go exploring.
 

STARSHIP

Well-known member
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Bumping an old thread, but wondering how much of the section is paved or packed gravel between Magnetawan and south to Midilthonian Rd to go to Screaming Heads.

Usually check these things myself but taking a small group on shiny road bikes.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Bumping an old thread, but wondering how much of the section is paved or packed gravel between Magnetawan and south to Midilthonian Rd to go to Screaming Heads.

Usually check these things myself but taking a small group on shiny road bikes.
When are you going to do this? I could check it out for you on my way home from BC later this week and tell you exactly.

If I recall from the last time I was on it, it was paved for a short bit south of Magnetewan, but I just can't recall if it goes far south enough for Screaming Heads.

And FYI, Midlothian Rd west of Screaming heads is not paved...
 

STARSHIP

Well-known member
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Thanks Shane, enjoying your ride report. Appreciate the offer but no need to take your loaded bike on it.
 
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shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Really it's no bother if I have the time. I've ridden it before fully loaded on street tires - I just go slow.
 

WaterlooJay

Member
I would be interested in this info, looking to complete this road from south to north. I will try to map it thru Garmin BaseCamp.
Also, nice BC ride report, Shane.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
I should have time to at least check out the section between Magnetewan and the 518 and will update you guys. Maybe I will have enough time to check out the section between the 518 and Rosseau too.

I have read that the section near Commanda gets pretty tight - probably too tight for a larger ADV and better suited for a 250 Dirt bike or something.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
I had time to check the section between Magnetawan and the 518. It’s paved all the way from Magnetewan to Midlothian. About 6 or so years ago when I was last on it, about half of that was twisty gravel, so this is fresh pavement now and quite smooth to ride on.

However Midlothian is not paved west of Screaming Heads. It’s 15km of very easy hard packed gravel to reach Nipissing Rd. Some of the tire tracks are super hard, so it was as hard as pavement. It was exceptionally beautiful with the crisp fall colours today and then you get to ride a really nice paved stretch of Nipissing Rd up to Magnetewan.

Jay - at least 20km of Nipissing Rd was not paved from the 518 northward. Not sure what it’s like south of the 518 or north of Magnetewan, but there are so many interesting looking gravel and dirt side roads to explore that you could easily be kept busy for a day or two. Some trails I saw looked like double track and others like well maintained gravel roads. Definitely makes me want to throw on some different tires and go exploring up there.
 

STARSHIP

Well-known member
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Shane, wow that was fast run back from BC!

Thanks for doing the ride through. Will definitely take the lads through especially if it has not rained on days.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Yeah I wanted to get home since the temps were dropping this weekend and I miss my wife!

That makes sense for you to not go after recent rains, because they would be slippery or messy for sure. Midlothian has a couple sections that are about 1km each where it's a little curvy, so it's not as hard packed in those sections, but still easy to do on street bikes if you take your time. On Old Nipissing Road, in the gravel section north of the 518, there are some sections with much softer gravel and the road also has many small elevation changes and twists, so it's less suited to street tires or heavy bikes. But I did it just fine and just took my time.

Here's some pics to show what Midlothian Rd looks like and what Old Nipissing Road looks like.

Midlothian Rd:


Old Nipissing Road:
 

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