Harkaway Forest

Harkaway Forest is east of the Robson Road trail and is owned by Grey County.

A nature trail through hardwoods and evergreens, this 2 km multi-use trail is used by hikers, horseback riders; ATVs in the summer, and snowmobiles in the winter.

Harkaway Forest is open to hunters at certain times of the year.

For ATVs, Harkaway Forest trail is open from June 20th (to accommodate the wild turkey hunt) to October 15th (or snow, whatever comes first).

Parking is located off the Townline just north of Markdale.


News Stories:

June 3, 2010 – Grey Allows ATVs in County Forest for Trial


Tourism – Canadians Spend $6.9 Billion in 2015 on ATVs/ROVs


The Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV), formerly the Canadian All-Terrain Vehicle Distributors Council (CATV), founded in 1984, is a national, nonprofit, trade association representing the responsible interests of the major ATV, off-highway motorcycle and recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) manufacturers, distributors and retail outlets of OHV related products and services. The member companies of the COHV account for over 90 percent of all the new OHVs sold in Canada.

The COHV sponsored an independent study of the impact of ATVs and ROVs on the Canadian economy.  They found that Canadians spent $6.9 billion on direct activities involving ATVs and ROVs in 2015.

That’s a lot of money.  That kind of money gives ATVing and ROVing credibility when it comes to establishing trails for tourism.  Talk to your local government representatives, ask for better ATV/Side-by-side trails, and make sure they see this article.


Trail Users – Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers, Greg and Rich, were kind enough to send us pictures and comments about our trails:

“We enjoyed riding the Orangeville-Owen Sound rail trail immensely and very much appreciate all the work you folks do to maintain it … We found the trail conditions to be excellent for mountain biking. In general, hard-packed gravel is perfect but of course, where the trail is freshly groomed the softer gravel or sand makes it tougher going. The Orangeville-Shelburne segment was mostly hard-packed I would say. The trail got a bit softer in sections north of Dundalk. In the vicinity of Holland Centre there were work crews actively grooming the trail. For a few kilometers the trail was being graded by an operator and then for several more kilometers north of that was freshly laid crushed limestone and another crew were working on spreading and packing it. From that point north to Owen Sound it was all crushed limestone and the trail was in excellent condition.”  Rich M.

“My friend Rich and I had an awesome mountain bike ride From Caledon to Owen Sound on Monday and returning on Tuesday, for a total of 300k. The best part was the 100k of Dufferin and Grey County rail trails. Thanks for having them so well maintained.”  Greg A-B.

While Dufferin Grey ATV Club membership is for riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs, 2-Ups, Side-by-sides), we do consider ourselves a custodian of the trails for other users as well.

In the summer the public trails are shared by walkers, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. ATVs are permitted on the trails throughout the ATV season. Motorcycles are not permitted.

In the winter snowmobiles use much of the same trail (although not identical as they are subject to different landowner agreements). Walkers and cross-country skiers also enjoy the groomed trails.

Dufferin Grey ATV Club spends a significant sum of money from user fees and fundraising on trail maintenance every year. Funds and Volunteer hours go towards grass mowing; tree trimming; brush and trash cleanup; gravel for filling holes, smoothing slopes and preventing erosion; dust suppression; safety; signage; gate installation and maintenance; bridge building and maintenance.

When the trails are tended for ATV/snowmobile use, all users benefit.


Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act


In May 2015, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau, introduced a bill:
• to increase awareness and encourage use of Ontario trails;
• to enhance trails and trail experience;
• to recognize the contribution that trails make to quality of life; and
• to protect trails for today’s and future generations.

Bill 100, known as the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, became a concern for landowners and trail stewards. The section of the bill regarding establishment of easements to protect the trails for future generations caused alarm.

At the time the impacts of the bill and reasons for government interference were generally unclear. Advisory groups committed to protecting land rights recommended stopping the bill. Some Landowners felt it better to be safe than sorry and refused to let trails cross their properties.

After one year, much discussion and final amendments, Bill 100 was passed by the Ontario legislature on June 1, 2016. Today it is clear that the granting of easements by property Landowners to ATV, snowmobile and other clubs is on a voluntary basis only. In fact, most clubs, including Dufferin Grey ATV Club, prefer traditional Landowner Agreements and will not pursue an easement in any way.

Landowners can rest assured that their property rights are safe. However, if a Landowner needs that extra layer of confidence, make sure this clause is included in the Landowner Agreement: “the Landowner/Occupier by signing this Landowner Agreement is NOT requesting nor granting permission for a registered easement over designated premises.”


Link to Legislative Assembly of Ontario – Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016

Bill 100 has been enacted as Chapter 8 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2016. The Bill enacts the Ontario Trails Act, 2016 and makes amendments to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, the Occupiers’ Liability Act, the Off-Road Vehicles Act, the Public Lands Act and the Trespass to Property Act.



Side-by-Sides & 2-Ups

Since July 1st, 2015 side-by-sides and 2-ups* are legally allowed on the roads in Ontario, but each municipality must amend their by-laws to allow the vehicles locally. To that end, OFATV clubs approached each of the regional counties and townships asking to amend the by-laws so that side-by-sides and 2-ups can be welcomed on local trails.

2-ups were an easy sell. Today 2-ups are allowed on all of DGATV’s trails, however, the larger side-by-sides are another matter.

Side-by-sides are not allowed on county-owned properties, the CP rail trail or the forest properties, including Harkaway Forest, without special permission.

DGATV continues to petition the counties hoping to approve and widen the rail trail gates (maximum vehicle width 65”) to accommodate these larger machines. Progress is being made so keep an eye on our social media for special events that welcome side-by-sides.

Side-by-sides are allowed on most municipal roads and the majority of county roads, as well as private property. DGATV has a private property in Walters Falls where members can ride although some of the trails are challenging.

Dufferin County

In Dufferin County, side-by-sides are not allowed on the rail trail, in the forests or on the roads. However, Amaranth, East Luther and Melancthon municipal roadways are open.

Grey County

In Grey County, side-by-sides are not allowed on the rail trail or in the county forests pending their overall forest trail strategy.  All municipal roads and the majority of county roads are open for the season.  A map of open Grey County roads (.pdf) is available at GreyCounty.ca.

What Can You Do?

Let the counties know that you would visit, or would visit our area again, if side-by-sides are welcome on the trail. For Dufferin County e-mail info@dufferincounty.ca with your comments. For Grey County e-mail tourism@visitgrey.ca.


*  Single-rider bikes with an added-on passenger seat are not considered 2-ups and are not legal to ride on the roads with a passenger.


Keeping It Safe On The Trail

Contributed by Jason Mueller

Side by Side 001

ATV riding may just be one of the best activities that you can do outdoors. It is also an activity that needs to be done safely whether you have been riding for years or are completely new to the sport. When it comes to having fun riding an ATV, there is no time for an accident while on a long and rugged trail or even if you are riding in an ATV event and taking a few precautions can really help to ensure that your ride goes smoothly and ends with great memories instead of bandages or a cast. To prevent an accident while on your ATV and keep it as safe as possible when you are on the trail, keep these tips in mind before you hop on your ATV.

Never Ride Alone

First and foremost, when you are planning a ride be sure to have a buddy go along with you. Accidents can and do happen all the time and riding alone can be very dangerous. Even if you simply run out of gas or have a mechanical issue, having a friend around with a way out can really help when a bad situation arises. On top of that, nothing makes an ATV ride quite as fun as when you have someone to ride and have fun with.

Stay On The Trail

Unless you are an experienced trail rider and know your way around the wilderness, be sure to stay on the trail at all times when you ride. Venturing off into the woods may seem like a great idea when you are out for a rugged ride, but getting off the trail is a great way to get lost as well as tear up your ATV. Riding in areas that are not specifically for ATV riding can be a hazard to your ATV just as much as it can be for you.  Additionally, there is a good chance that the land is subject to land-use agreements between the ATV club and the land-owner/steward, so leaving the trail is trespassing and jeopardizes those agreements, which may result in the loss of that part of the trail.  There is never a reason to head off trail and risk having an accident where other riders may not be able to easily locate you to help.

Wear Your Gear

It may not seem cool to ride with a helmet, but keeping your head safe is extremely important. It is also important to wear the rest of your gear including gloves, boots and goggles during a ride. Your gear was made to help protect you during a ride and should always be worn to cut down the risk that you will be hurt when you are out. This goes for you as well as anyone you may be riding with or anyone that may be riding on the ATV with you. If someone will be riding with you, the ATV should be factory standard to seat two or more safely.

Use the Right-Sized ATV

If it is too large to handle, do not even attempt to ride it. Riders should only ride what they can safely handle and this goes for you as well as anyone that you may ride with. If you have young children or younger teens, never place them on an ATV that has a motor that is too powerful for their age or level of expertise. When you purchase a new ATV, the sales person will be able to show you the right ones for your age as well as your size and level of experience. If you buy one from a seller online or at auction and need to have an ATV shipper deliver it to you, be sure that it is the right size before you place your order.

Be Serious When Riding

There is probably nothing riskier than someone showing off on an ATV. When you are riding, you need to make sure that you never do anything foolish to try to impress someone. Trying to do stunts or other things that you have never done or should not be doing in the first place is a good way to have a dangerous accident.

Alcohol and Fatigue

It is also wise to never ride when you are tired and especially if you are drinking or taking medication that could cause you to become drowsy or not be able to handle the ATV safely. Fatigued or drunk driving is just as dangerous on an ATV as they would be if you were driving a car down the freeway and there is never a reason to risk your safety or the safety of others.

While these are all well-known issues that can affect the safety of an ATV rider, it is wise to strictly adhere to them to make sure that you, and any passengers you may be riding with will remain safe while venturing out on the trail. ATV riding is known to be very extreme as well as a fun and exciting way to spend a day in the woods or on the dirt track and with that excitement comes a great deal of responsibility to keep things safe at all times.

The tips above are obvious and obvious for a reason. Most, if not all, are practically unwritten rules in ATV world. Safety is always a priority and most rules factor in safety for you and others. Also, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the “house rules” when riding a track or designated ATV trails and knowing provincial/state rules like spark arrestors.

See also:           Horseback Riders