Peterborough + Haliburton Motorcycle Trip Report

honda cbr250r setup for summer motorcycle touring in ontario

In this post I want to share my experience exploring Peterborough and Haliburton with my Honda CBR250R.

This was a trip I took during the Canada Day long weekend in July 2018.

Day 1 – Hamilton to Peterborough

With Peterborough less than 300km from Hamilton I was in no rush for an early-morning departure.

This was my Canada Day weekend motorcycle trip. The trip started on the Thursday before and returning on the Sunday of Canada day.

Leaving Hamilton around 10AM I followed Highway 6 until turning right onto a Concession Road just before Puslinch. From here I would follow scenic side roads all the way to Peterborough.

The first stop was at the Robert Edmondson Conservation Area. I stopped to get off my bike and stretch my legs out of the heat. After rehydrating I got back on the bike and took off.

2011 Honda cbr250r beside one of the Grand River plaques on the highway near puslinch

The scenery on the way to Peterborough was unimpressive for the most part. This so-called “scenic route” went through mostly heavily-farmed areas and built-up suburbs.

For lunch I stopped beside the highway at the memorial plaque for the opening of Highway 9.

Stopping for lunch at the side of Highway 9 in Ontario

Memorial Highway 9 plaque

With lunch out of the way it was a straight shot to Peterborough. There wasn’t anywhere worth stopping and I made good time.

The timing wasn’t right for the AirBnb so I decided to keep exploring the local Peterborough motorcycle routes. By chance I ended up on an incredible loop with amazing scenery of lakes and the heavily forested Canadian Shield.

The quiet highway twisted and turned as it looped around the lake and made its way back into Peterborough.

It was getting late and the sun was starting to set. After the full day of riding I was ready to jump onto the bed and relax for the rest of the night.

At the AirBnb I was able to park my bike in the owner’s garage overnight. Once I brought all the gear inside I hopped on the bed and planned my route for the next day.

Day 2 – Exploring Haliburton County on Two Wheels

morning at the airbnb in peterborough
Getting ready to leave the AirBnb in Peterborough

The day started off early. At 6AM I was already lubing the chain, checking the tires, and doing some basic maintenance before heading off for the day.

Before nine it was already 30 degrees and more than 90% humidity. The goal of today’s riding stay on the scenic road as much as possible to avoid traffic and enjoy the breeze.

Today’s destination was Algonquin Park. From there I wanted to ride through the park to Dorset and follow the roads south back in to Peterborough.

From Peterborough I made my way to Bancroft where I stopped to fill up on gas. Outside of Bancroft I stopped at a small park to rest my legs and relax before heading to Algonquin.

bancroft rest area
Scenic rest area outside of Bancroft

There were a number of side roads and detours that I took before reaching the park. It’s hard to explain the vast expanse of this part of Ontario with how much there is to explore off the beaten path.

Eventually I stumbled into Maynooth. The bright purple Arlington Hostel & Pub was a surprise to me since I didn’t realize there was much accommodation in the area.

Arlington Hostel in Maynooth
The Arlington Hostel & Pub

The next time I’m exploring the Haliburton Highlands I’ll definitely stay at the Arlington Hostel!

In Maynooth I sat at the abandoned Scotiabank and drink my water in the shade. Afterwards I hopped on the bike and made my way towards the Algonquin Park sign for a photo with my motorcycle.

Stopping at the Algonquin sign is a must for riders! The grass here is flat and it’s easy to park your bike to get a good shot.

Riding Through Algonquin Park

riding motorcycle through Algonquin park

Highway 60 through Algonquin Park is amazing on a motorcycle. For more than 80km the highway gently winds through Algonquin Provincial Park with jaw-dropping vista’s around every turn.

The highway is relatively new, well-maintained, and there are plenty of pull-offs for photo opportunities.To be honest, I was having so much fun while riding and enjoying the scenery that I hardly stopped to take any photos.

scenic lookout algonquin park

riding motorcycle through algonquin park

algonquin park lake of bays

Before entering the park be sure to fill up in either Dwight/Huntsville or Whitney. These are the two last fuel stops before the park. There is fuel available inside the park but it’s overpriced and not easily accessible.

The Algonquin Park Visitor Center has maps and information about visiting or camping at the park. A day pass is required if you want to visit any of the trails, beaches, lookouts, or other facilities.

It’s hard for me to capture the beauty of Algonquin Park in words so hopefully my photos are able to do a little more justice.

Riding Back to Peterborough

Two hours later, after riding through Algonquin Park in the humid late June heat, I pulled off in Dorset at the Dorset Parkette for a swim.

My bathing suit was strapped to the back of the bike.  Less than 10 minutes later I was cooling off in the chilled waters of Trading Bay.

Sufficiently cooled down, I jumped back on to the CBR250R and took off towards my next destination – Haliburton. Highway 35 south from Dorset was incredible and arguably more scenic then Highway 60 through Algonquin.  The road was narrower and there were more lake vistas. Highway 35 had its own twisties and sweepers where the road through Algonquin Park took on more of a relaxed pace.

haliburton lookout view

From Highway 35 I jumped onto Highway 118 as it twisted and winded into Haliburton. Driving through Halliburton there wasn’t much that caught my eye so I stopped at the Halliburton Lookout for a quick break.

After relaxing and enjoying the view for more than 20 minutes at the Halliburton Lookout it was time to ride back to Peterborough. Once I got back to the AirBnb the routine was the same as last night. With the bike put away I jumped into bed, planned the next day’s route, and went to bed.

Day 3

motorcycle in peterborough

It was my last full day in Peterborough and I wanted to take full advantage of my motorcycle ride through Haliburton county.

Waking up early, I double-checked the bike before hopping on and ripping through Peterborough. It was a quiet Sunday morning so there wasn’t any traffic or people around.

Peterborough is a smaller city and this early there wasn’t much going on. After cruising for 15 minutes I decided to hit the road.

Before getting to the main Highway running north I stopped twice more in Peterborough for some photo opportunities.

Less than an hour after leaving the city I was well on my way north. There wasn’t a destination I had in mind – I just wanted to thoroughly explore this part of Ontario.

abandoned house near bancroft

Friends from Instagram told me about some cool abandoned places between Peterborough and Bancroft. Halfway through the ride up to Bancroft I decided to start searching for these rural roads and abandoned properties.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specific roads I took or the directions I followed to make my way back to Peterborough. I’ll have to return back in the next few seasons to give you guys a more accurate description of the specific places I visited.

scenic roads near bancroft

In the areas around Bancroft and Haliburton there are countless abandoned cottages, homes, and other interesting properties. Unless there are “No Trespassing” signs I always take the liberty to explore anything abandoned.

By mid-afternoon I had stumbled onto a few abandoned places that I took the time to check out. At this point it was getting late and I still had a 2+ hour ride back to Peterborough.

old abandoned church near haliburton

old abandoned church near haliburton

After a few more photos I put the motorcycle camera away, jumped on the bike, and started heading back to my AirBnb.

These three days I had exploring Peterborough, Haliburton, and the areas around Bancroft and Algonquin Park were incredible. This is an incredible place for riding, especially during the summer, and I’m jealous of the people that live here!

at the airbnb in peterborough

The next day I packed up the bike early and hopped on the main highways to quickly get back to Hamilton.

I’ll definitely come back to Peterborough in the future and I’m excited to share my next adventure with you guys!

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