Algonquin Park – Minnesing Trail

Darcy Mountain Biking Leave a Comment

Good ol’ Minnesing Trail.  Lots of good but exhausting memories.   Found in Algonquin Park, Minnesing Trail is a moderately difficult one way trail that was created for mountain bikes.  The trail starts off fairly easily and ramps up.  Fear not, if you realize that you may be in over your head from an endurance point of view, you can tap out by taking one of the smaller loops so you can exit to freedom.  The only thing Dave and Darcy, relatively clean after another ride on Minnesing Trail in Algonquin Park you need for this trail (aside from some decent mountain biking skills if you want to stay on your bike the whole time) is endurance as it will take you around 3 to 3.5 hours to do the full trail.  Of course, you can always cut your ride short as there are several turn intersections where you can create shorter loops if that is what you want to do (what?  and deprive yourself of the overgrown and muddy outer loop?).   The shortest loop is 4.7km and the longest loop is 23.4km.  The trail will bring you through hardwood forests, up muddy & rocky hills, through technical rocky sections and will sometimes throw knee deep mud at you if it has been raining recently.  Don’t forget the mosquito repellent as when you have to walk a hill or two, you will be thankful for it.  For all that effort, you are rewarded with some of the best single track downhill sections at the end of the trail.  I smile the whole way down as you fly through the forest and leave the buzzing insect behind.

Back when my buddies and I did our annual camping weekend at Cannisbay, I would make sure I would hit this trail as it would give me a gauge on where my fitness level was at for the summer.  An aerobic barometer of sorts.  I’ve done it about 7 times and it is still the perfect challenge for my skill level.  Word of warning to the princesses of the world; if you go in a wet season be prepared to do some serious personal and bike cleaning when get out of there.  Other than that, the trail reads like a movie script – things start off okay, get a little rough and then go to hell (if it’s raining).  Once you struggle through all that, the end is a story book happy ending.  For most people anyways.

A few pieces of advice:

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  • Do not attempt Minnesing Trail without front suspension.  I’ve seen some bikes come out of there in a twisted heap because they brought in a CCM special.
  • Bring some food and a sports drink.  You will want it at about the half way point.
  • Follow the direction of the trail.  An older couple failed to read the sign about the one way and it resulted in a nasty spill off the path and into the woods for a buddy of mine.  It was the final descent section as well so we were flying.  Nothing that 4 years of physiotherapy didn’t fix.  Keep an eye out.

Not much else to say except for this:  have fun.