By: Mike Jacobs
Fresh powder at Horwood Lake Lodge
Third in our series that answers the most pressing question for snowmobilers in this late start to sledding season—Where Can I Ride Right Now?—is the venerable mining town of Timmins. One of the largest, and coolest, urban centres in the wilds of Northeastern Ontario, Timmins is a die-hard snowmobile town. The town recently announced limited access to city streets for snowmobiles (follow the Timmins Snowmobile Club on Facebook for the full scoop on this) adding to an already sled-positive culture. There are tunnels for sleds—ones you can actually ride through!
You know a town is dedicated to snowmobiling when it has a dealership for every major sled brand, and plenty of aftermarket shops to boot. In Timmins, sledding is a way of life, with people riding their sleds to work, to school, and to visit family and friends. With annual snowfalls of over 300 cm, and temps that regularly hit -40°C here, pack warm and be ready to ride, because trails here open early, close late, and run for hundreds of miles in every direction—440 km of trails on the local club system alone. If you’re feeling trapped by the rain and high temperatures in the south, just hit the road and head north. You’ll find that old-time snowmobiling is still going strong in Timmins.
Popular with snowmobilers, the Bon Air Motels rooms are spacious and clean with recent renovations. The restaurant next door is open for all meals of the day, and the trail goes right through the parking lot, so you can put your sled right outside your door.
A testament to what one man can do when he has a dream, Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa is the place that has it all. There’s a magnificent restaurant and bar with some truly great food, great rooms, and a killer spa (one of the few places you can actually get a massage after a snowmobile ride) and to cap it all off, they have a wildlife park. If you’ve never seen moose, elk, or bison up close, this is your chance.
New to the Timmins scene, and technically outside the city limits, is Horwood Lake Lodge. They offer snowmobile rentals, lakeside cabins, and homemade breakfasts and dinners. There’s some off-trail opportunities as well as access to OFSC trails.
The newest hotel in Timmins, the Hampton Inn offers a free breakfast, pool, and proximity to the main restaurants in the city. Casey’s and East Side Mario’s have groomed trail service for those looking for something quick and tasty.
Featuring free hot breakfast, pool, and fitness centre, the Timmins Holiday Inn has big rooms (some with an equipped Jacuzzi) for your gear and a good-sized parking lot.
Renovated recently, the star attraction is the massive central parking lot that can easily host tour buses, heavy equipment—heck, even a helicopter! The Ramada Timmins also has secure lockup outside for snowmobiles with a restaurant on site.
Located in the centre of town, the Senator Hotel is built right into the rockface that surrounds the city of Timmins. The rock even protrudes into the lobby! Parking is sparse, but the on-site laundry makes up for it.
As of the writing of this article, it’s possible to do a major ride out of Timmins including a big loop out to Iroquois Falls and up to Cochrane, but you can also ride out to Matheson and Kirkland Lake, as well as branching out to Smooth Rock Falls and Kapuskasing. There is gas and food in almost every community listed here. In short, there is no shortage of riding. As always, check the OFSC trail map before heading out, but conditions are only going to improve.
Passing the McIntyre Mine on the Gold Rush Tour outside of Timmins
Aside from the 400+ km of local Timmins trails, there are a good dozen communities within a half-day or full day’s ride from your hotel in every direction, except west—again, for the time being.
If you’re looking for something a bit longer, once in Cochrane you can make your way west following the TOP A trail all the way along the Northern Corridor (more on that in the next article in our series) to Hornepayne. While a few of the local trails along the way are still closed, the main artery that connects the whole north is wide open and ready to ride as of now—so what are you waiting for? Book a room, load up the trailer, and hit the highway!