The Mono Mix-It-Up (81km)
Location: Orangeville, Dufferin County, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 85%
Distance: 81.3km (50.5 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm
Amenities: This multi-tiered loop includes two resupply options. Starting from the Park ’n Ride in the town of Orangeville, riders can choose from several nearby convenience stores, restaurants, and grocery options. Meanwhile, a quaint general store can be found in the village of Hockley, just beyond the route’s halfway point.
Parking: The route includes several parking options in Orangeville itself including the Park ’n Ride, the Orangeville Conservation Area on the shores of the Orangeville Reservoir, and the Orangeville Fairgrounds. A small parking lot servicing the Glenn Cross Side Trail is located on 3rd Line EHS, while the Splitrock Narrows Nature Reserve parking lot can be found slightly off route via Second Line EHS.
Featuring a heady mix of gravel, unmaintained/abandoned roads, tract trails and singletrack, this three-tiered loop, developed by Ed Daugavietis, highlights some of the best dirt riding in the township of Mono, north-west of Toronto. Bonus? Take a slight detour off the main route to visit the “Rosebud Motel”, featured on the Canadian comedy classic Schitt’s Creek!
Starting from the town of Orangeville, head north and follow the Vicki Barron lakeside recreational trail along the western shores of the Orangeville Reservoir (while being mindful of other pathway users). After approximately 4km, exit the trail via Hurontario St. as the route transitions briefly to gravel to Side Road 5. Make a right here and continue east on pavement, past the Orangeville Fairgrounds, to 1st Line EHS.
Here the route remains mostly on dirt, eventually rejoining Hurontario St. to Mono Centre Rd. and the start of the largest of the three loops. Keep your eyes peeled for the entry point for the Mono Tract off of Hurontario Rd. which continues on a narrow trail east for 1.5km before turning left (north) where the route intersects with a wider north-south trail before reuniting with 1st Line EHS as it meanders north on gravel to 25 Sideroad.
The next 13km is one of the loop’s unquestioned highlights, featuring an extended descent along a mix of exposed farmland and tree lined gravel, to Concession Road 3. Remain on easy to navigate dirt before switching gears as the route takes a couple of brief detours along some sandy sections of unmaintained, then continues on a blend of firm gravel and quiet country pavement to the village of Hockley.
Exit Hockley via Hockley Rd., remaining on asphalt before reaching 7 Line Road East. After a short detour to visit the motel featured on Schitt’s Creek (while being sure to respect all “No Trespassing” signage) head north, following the maintained gravel to Side Road 15. Ignore the “Road Closed” sign and continue on this abandoned dirt road for the next 2km.
Shortly thereafter, make a left on 4 Line Road East and descend on this lovely stretch of twisty tree lined dirt for approximately 3km. Following a brief stretch of asphalt, the loop ascends north as it parallels the eastern edge of the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve, before eventually reaching Mono Centre Rd. and the end of the main loop. From here, double-back along Mono Centre Rd., eventually making a left on Hurontario St. and remaining mostly on gravel for the next 8km to the Orangeville Reservoir. Complete the loop around the reservoir by following the recreational trail back to the start in Orangeville.