Learning to Ride an ATV in Mattawa, Ontario

The Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System, Mattawa Ontario
Going full speed through the mud holes.

“Oh you’re going to get addicted to this” said Rex, an ATV aficionado and one of four ATV enthusiasts who lead our group of three inexperienced female riders. It was a positive outlook for the start of the day. I, on the other hand, was focusing more on making sure I wouldn’t crash and burn.

I was recently invited by Ontario Tourism to visit Mattawa, a small Northern Ontario town about a 4-hour drive north of Toronto, to experience riding an ATV on the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System. I’d never been on an ATV before and was excited about the opportunity. I also thought it could make for a fun video (see below).

I was joined by two other newbies to the sport, Dani of Going Nomadic and Christen of Divas and Dorks. Together we amped each other up, cheered each other on, and got in touch with our inner bad-assery (I know, that’s not really a word, but I’m going with it). We were instructed and lead by 4 experienced ATV riders, Jeff, John, Mark, and Rex who are passionate about the sport and want to show off why Mattawa is a great place to experience it, even for this all female crew. We were in great hands.

ATV Riding in Mattawa, Ontario
Taking a break and enjoying the scenery.

Tucked between evergreen and maple trees, the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System branches out like a spider web with Mattawa as one of its entrance points. There’s over 200km of signed, marked and mapped trails, with 1000 more kilometers of unmarked trails in the area. It’s an outdoor playground for motorized sports, with lookouts, lakes, rivers, and even an abandoned mica mine to enjoy and explore.

As we zipped over the various terrain, weaved around corners, and pushed the throttle just a little bit further, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a ‘Mission Impossible’ film with the bad guys hot on my tail. I could literally say “eat my dust”.

*Make sure to change the viewing setting to 720p for the best experience!

I loved the thrill of it all, zooming along the paths, wind in my face, the sound of the engine, and even traveling full speed through the mud holes.

The Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System was a great area to learn how to ride an ATV. There was a perfect balance between flat, sandy-terrain, rocky inclines, shallow mud holes, and beautiful scenery to enjoy it all with.

As Jeff perfectly summed up the sport,

“there’s a trail and type of bike for everyone out there, whether you’re youth in the beginner market or more experienced and are looking to get into some deep mud or climb some rocks. There’s a bike and a trail for everyone in Ontario”

The Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System
Dani, Christen and I had an amazing time learning to ride ATVs in Mattawa.

Thrilling, muddy, fast-paced, exciting…addictive.

Those are some of the best words I could use to describe my experience learning to ride an ATV in Mattawa, Ontario. Yes, Rex knew what he was talking about from the start. It is addictive. Even after returning covered in mud, smelling like bug spray, and feeling some stiffness from the day, I was already thinking about my next ATV adventure.


If you want to see more footage from the day, check out the video Rex put together. (He’s kind of a big deal on YouTube).

Disclaimer: This experience was made possible by Ontario Tourism and Mattawa Travel. All views and clear examples of excitement remain my own.


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  • http://insidejourneys.com/ Marcia Mayne

    This looks so cooool!

  • Britany Robinson

    ATVing is SO much fun and those trails look great! Way to go on the video – I would probably fall off if I tried to drive and shoot at the same time!

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Thanks Britany! It’s a good thing it was shot with a GoPro so I didn’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it :)

  • Jess

    I got to try ATV riding last summer in Alaska – it was amazing, but I’m sure I looked way less cool. Possibly because I was slowly going up and down the beach, not speeding through the forests and mud.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Haha, but I’m sure the scenery was spectacular!

  • Seattle Dredge ✈

    ugh addictive is the right word! Haha. Snowmobiling and ATVing are my weaknesses. This sounds awesome.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      You should definitely check out Mattawa and the surrounding area. There’s an extensive trail and activities for both summer and winter fun. But then again, I don’t want to be responsible for enabling the addiction ;P

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy

    I really wanted to do this trip… great pics!

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Thanks, it was incredible!

  • Carol Perehudoff

    Loved the music! Looks like you had a blast. I’m all about quiet sports, though. Bet the hiking is amazing up there. Still, I’d give it a try. You make it look fun.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Thanks Carol! There’s actually so much to do in the area, even for quieter sports lovers like yourself :)

  • Natalie T.

    My cousin used to do this all the time! Amazing. :)

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      How about you Natalie? I think you’d be quite the speed demon :)

  • Ayngelina

    Who knew you could do something like that right here in Ontario? Wow.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      It’s incredible, and only a 4 hour drive outside of Toronto. Time to start seeing more of Ontario!

  • http://www.manonthelam.com/ Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    Looks like heaps of fun!

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      It really was. Bugs, mud and all!