Haliburton Forest

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  • 07-24-2006
    m3talslug
    Haliburton Forest
    I was in haliburton over the weekend and this was my experience in the "highly rated" trailsystem in haliburton forest.

    This trail is supposed to be one of the best Ontario has to offers. That's a load of crap. I like tight, twisty and technical single track. There was NONE of that. I like the rides in Ravenshoe, Durham, Coulsons and even Stoufville/Bayview aka mosquito coast(if I'm up for a short ride).

    Normac was a very WIDE trail with a lot of loose rock on the climbs. I'm all for the challenge but at many parts, it's faster to walk than ride. At times it felt like I had to "trials" the whole way up certain tough uphill sections. I started doing this at first but realized that this was not sustainable for the 40k ride I had planned. So I ended up walking it when the uphills got too tough.

    Trails were plagued with mudspots (Middle of July in a DRY summer) There were ATV ruts all over and I kinda expected that because the trails were wide enough for 2-3 of them to ride side by side.

    The bridges were SUPER wide and not a challenge at all. Some bridges were broken.

    After normac, I was so displeased with the trail, I considered riding back, but I wondered if maybe this was just one bad trail in a system with 100s of kms full of trail. I hit the Red trail to find the same kinda crap, then connected it to green and found the same junk. Unchallenging, wide, straight, loose trail that's more hard on your bike than anything else.

    I got onto the East road (main road that leads you back) and considered riding back to the base after about 25kms. I got to the trail head of Krista's trail and this one seemed to have the best reviews. I decided to give it a go. It was just as bad as everything else. HUGE mudspots that have so many flies and bugs festing in them.

    The massive number of loose uphills prevent you from carrying a lot of speed throughout the trail system. I'd say if you can average 10km/h you're pretty fast. The mutant bugs here are able to keep up with you at that speed. <-- I ride mosquito coast on a weekly basis and I NEVER get bitten there as long as I don't stop. I got eaten alive here.

    Anyhow, this trail was just under 3 hours away from toronto, there was a 15$ admission charge, and the only thing I can positively say is they are very well marked. Oh, and I took a break in one of the lakes and the swimming was awesome.

    If you're a beginner, they will be WAY TOO CHALLENGING (you'd be taking your bike for a walk). If you're an experienced biker you'll find that they're just TOO straight and do not utilize a full array of mtbking skills. It was cardiovascularly taxing. You're pushed to keep the speed high mainly because of the bugs and there are TONs of bugs.

    At the end, I'd done about 45kms (almost 5 hours of riding breaks and swim included) in this trail system with almost no overlap. I didn't have a good time, I was totally beat and half eaten alive. I didn't know anyone that had personally ridden in haliburton and I wish I knew someone that would've told me about these lousy trails.
  • 07-24-2006
    osokolo
    i cant wait for labour day weekend
    which my riding group spends at haliburton forest every year... we always have a blast - start with a night ride on Friday evening and end at Porcupine Ridge on our way back... in between, we have 2-3 epic rides 4-5 hours each...

    haliburton forest is not a singletrack heaven, but it provides for a LOT of fun and some kind of adventure... it has grueling climbs, hairy descents and breathtaking scenery...

    if you had talked to me, i would have recommended this trail system wholeheartidly to you... next time you go, dont EXPECT it to be another ravenshoe or durham etc...

    take it for what it is and enjoy it.... there aint no trail that cant be fun as long as you have passion for biking...




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by m3talslug
    I was in haliburton over the weekend and this was my experience in the "highly rated" trailsystem in haliburton forest.

    This trail is supposed to be one of the best Ontario has to offers. That's a load of crap. I like tight, twisty and technical single track. There was NONE of that. I like the rides in Ravenshoe, Durham, Coulsons and even Stoufville/Bayview aka mosquito coast(if I'm up for a short ride).

    Normac was a very WIDE trail with a lot of loose rock on the climbs. I'm all for the challenge but at many parts, it's faster to walk than ride. At times it felt like I had to "trials" the whole way up certain tough uphill sections. I started doing this at first but realized that this was not sustainable for the 40k ride I had planned. So I ended up walking it when the uphills got too tough.

    Trails were plagued with mudspots (Middle of July in a DRY summer) There were ATV ruts all over and I kinda expected that because the trails were wide enough for 2-3 of them to ride side by side.

    The bridges were SUPER wide and not a challenge at all. Some bridges were broken.

    After normac, I was so displeased with the trail, I considered riding back, but I wondered if maybe this was just one bad trail in a system with 100s of kms full of trail. I hit the Red trail to find the same kinda crap, then connected it to green and found the same junk. Unchallenging, wide, straight, loose trail that's more hard on your bike than anything else.

    I got onto the East road (main road that leads you back) and considered riding back to the base after about 25kms. I got to the trail head of Krista's trail and this one seemed to have the best reviews. I decided to give it a go. It was just as bad as everything else. HUGE mudspots that have so many flies and bugs festing in them.

    The massive number of loose uphills prevent you from carrying a lot of speed throughout the trail system. I'd say if you can average 10km/h you're pretty fast. The mutant bugs here are able to keep up with you at that speed. <-- I ride mosquito coast on a weekly basis and I NEVER get bitten there as long as I don't stop. I got eaten alive here.

    Anyhow, this trail was just under 3 hours away from toronto, there was a 15$ admission charge, and the only thing I can positively say is they are very well marked. Oh, and I took a break in one of the lakes and the swimming was awesome.

    If you're a beginner, they will be WAY TOO CHALLENGING (you'd be taking your bike for a walk). If you're an experienced biker you'll find that they're just TOO straight and do not utilize a full array of mtbking skills. It was cardiovascularly taxing. You're pushed to keep the speed high mainly because of the bugs and there are TONs of bugs.

    At the end, I'd done about 45kms (almost 5 hours of riding breaks and swim included) in this trail system with almost no overlap. I didn't have a good time, I was totally beat and half eaten alive. I didn't know anyone that had personally ridden in haliburton and I wish I knew someone that would've told me about these lousy trails.

  • 07-25-2006
    TT.
    x2 on that osokolo:thumbsup: we used to go every year until the bikes got bigger and heavier:D :D
    one of the best places to ride in ON...... where else can you ride 8-10hrs straight and not hit the same spot twice:D there's something for everyone.... newbies and hcore....epic ride heaven...... Comparing it to Ravenshoe is like comparing apples to oranges IMO....Haliburton is ALL about the RIDE:cornut:

    a few shots from last year.. got a chance to ride there while moving a buddy of mine up to Hali......









  • 07-25-2006
    m3talslug
    I agree the scenery was good(maybe breathtaking if you get off your bike and walk through the trees) but I don't really stop and stare during the ride. However, I had a blast taking a swim in a prestine lake to cool off from the ride. Although, some of the trails were "lakeside" I never really got a clear view of the lake while riding. There was always a few metres of treeline and that ruined the view. I suppose it is an apples to oranges comparison to what I enjoy in Ontario. It's just not my type of ride.

    BTW, great pics TT... some of it looks familiar, but there was so much trail, I can't really say whether I got on it or not.
  • 07-25-2006
    Kay.
    I had that same experience about 10 years ago, just as you've described it. That was the summer they got nailed by a few downbursts, and though they gladly took my $10 they never mentioned that the trails hadn't been cleared. I remember Normac as the one quasi-single- track trail. I remember most everything else as just snowmobile groomers. At one point the blowdowns were so heavy it was all I could do to hurl my bicycle across the obstacle and then try to clamber over after it.

    Now, I'm particularly intrigued by your post because I was thinking lately maybe I should go back there and check it out some time. However, I can't see the point of paying ($15 now) to ride snowmobile groomers when I can ride so many snowmobile trails (including trails which aren't graded for the groomers) all over Muskoka for free.
  • 08-15-2011
    Dr.Zoidberg
    Only because this page is one for the first hits when googling "haliburton forest mountain biking", I don't think the OP's review is as valid today as it was back then. Check out an updated review:
    Haliburton Forest Ontario Trail Reviews

    Overall I recommend this place if you are at least an intermediate rider. But it will definitely challenge seasoned riders technically and physically as well, especially if you are used to the normal GTA trails.
  • 08-16-2011
    fatboyp
    I rode Haliburton Forest at the end of July and some of what the OP says is still true 5 years later. Normac still had some unrideable muddy sections which is surprising given the dry summer but there are ways around them. I'm an intermediate rider and in pretty decent shape and Normac was a pretty good workout. There are some technical descents and climbs, some I made, some I didn't. In addition to Normac I rode the Red Trail, Dog Trail and a couple of others. I agree that the bugs can be pretty intense. I rode into one clearing and was literally swarmed by deer flies so remember to pack your bug spray. For me the cool part about riding here was being able to combine two things I love doing, mountain biking and fishing. I bring a telescopic fishing rod and some tackle with me in my pack and when I ride by a nice looking lake I stop and do some fishing. Caught a nice 2 1/2 lbs bass and some other smaller ones. Then hop back on my bike and hit the trails until the next lake. Overall I'd say its a bit pricey but worth the experience. It is a beautiful place and riding the trails provides a solitary experience which I don't often get riding my usual trails.
  • 08-16-2011
    Dr.Zoidberg
    Interesting. I didn't notice any unrideable muddy sections on Normac, all of the water crossings were covered with wood or rock bridges. There was one small mud pit but I blew through that; there was also a bypass option. Mid-Aug the flies and mosquitos weren't that bad at all. Only used non-deet spray sparingly and didn't have any problems. By the marsh lookout there was a fast cloud of flies chasing after the rider in front and he was going at a good clip!

    Gorgeous country-side up there. I'm taking the family in a few weeks just for the sceneary alone!