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Riding Ontario’s Creemore Loop: Hilly, picturesque and memorable

Some tough climbs and fast descents (and a tasty bakery on the way)

Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

In 2023, it is the 10 year anniversary of Cycle Simcoe. Since it was launched in 2013, Cycle Simcoe has set out to improve local infrastructure and establish the county as one of, if not the, top tourism destinations for cyclists countrywide.

Just over an hour North of Toronto, Simcoe is in the perfect spot for those wanting to break away from the city’s traffic lined streets. The draw; well apart from the rolling hills and soft flowing bends that nestle between some of the highest points of Niagara’s Escarpment and wind their way down to the Georgian Bay, there are plenty of routes to choose from. Simcoe boasts 1,023 km of road cycling, in addition to 320 km gravel, and a further 207 km of single track, should you want to skip the asphalt. In short, from short flat coffee shop rides to longer steeper climbs up and over the escarpment, there is something for every ability level and plenty of other activities to engage in off the bike too.

The Creemore Loop is 60 km of fantastic riding

Having already tackled the renowned Simcoe County Loop Trail on a previous visit, I set out with a couple of locals to explore another signature route, the Creemore Loop; a 60 km round trip from Collingwood to the quaint village of Creemore. Starting with a relatively flat section out of the town, this route offers plenty of time to warm up before the rolling hills and fast descent into Creemore. Here, the views are exceptional, making it hard to believe it is so close to the city.

A must-see bakery

First stop, the Creemore Bakery; Quite the hotspot, I would recommend getting there early ahead of the hungry cyclists that are lining up for a fantastic selection of butter tarts. Packed with a variety of places to eat and drink and small, often bespoke, stores, it would be easy to while away the time in Creemore and perhaps enjoy a couple of drinks at the Creemore Springs Brewery, but we were back on the road relatively quickly.

Fuel up for the big hills

Just outside of the village, the Fairground road climb is perfectly placed to meet you with a belly full of Butter Tarts on your way back to Collingwood. I had been ‘warned’ about the hill as we sipped on our coffee at the bakery, so I dropped back a little in anticipation for the steep and gruelling climb that awaited us, only to realize that the stories had been somewhat exaggerated. A cyclists sense of humour, I am certain!

Up and over what was certainly the biggest climb on the route, but nothing in comparison to some you might find in Simcoe, the hill gives way to a fast roll back to the start of the loop for a quick dip in the bay to cool down.

Lots of sights to see in Collingwood

Once in Collingwood there are even more breweries to choose from, each with its own delicious menu of thirst-quenching beer and tasty food, perfect after a few hours in the saddle. We opted for Black Bellow’s Brewery to make the most of their patio given the good weather. Should you plan to stay locally overnight, keep your eyes peeled for the live events that are often held at the breweries throughout the summer months and so open up the opportunity to return with friends and family in the evening.

Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn

One of five of Simcoe’s signature routes, the Creemore loop is classed as a more challenging route, but I would say that it is easy enough for a regular cyclist to complete in a few hours, so don’t let the classification intimidate you, and for those who would rather take their time, you can easily make a day of it with the tapestry of stops along the way.

Commemorate the 10 year anniversary of Cycle Simcoe in 2023

To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, Cycle Simcoe is hosting a number of events this summer. They are also inviting people to join them to ride the Simcoe County Loop Trail on September 9. Starting at the Snow Valley Ski Resort at 7.30am, riders will be fully supported as they complete the 160km of gravel rail trail, with short bursts of paved and or low traffic road sections. In addition, anyone who completes the loop on that day, or any given day, will receive a free t-shirt to celebrate their ride; just tag Cycle Simcoe into a social post, en route.

Photo: Jody Wilson

Now with two of Cycle Simcoe’s loops under my belt, I have certainly gained a tase for Ontario’s so called cycling Mecca, not to mention the butter tarts and beer, and I will be returning to explore more of what this county has to offer. If you are interested in the Creemore Loop, the Simcoe County Trail, or indeed any of the routes and activities available, head to CycleSimcoe.ca for more information and let them do the hard work for you. Here you will find details on where to stay, where to eat, and plenty of route maps too.