“Almost every type of terrain you could imagine in one place on one ride.
— Trevor Miller
The 3 Stage trail system is amongst the best variety of trails in Ontario. As you ride through the web of unmarked trails in the Pretty River Valley, you can encounter five different forest types. With 2,500 acres, 700 vertical feet, 40+ km's, and loads of trail variety, there is more than enough to keep you coming back for more.
The trails at 3 Stage are unmarked and it is now impossible to find a map anywhere, which just means that you have to work a little harder to find your way around or find a local to take you out. This Upper Loop incorporates the "Red" and "Green" trails and does not descend down the trail.
If you incorporate the "Blue" trails, you could pack a lunch and spend a whole day exploring 3 Stage. One of the best ways to explore 3 Stage is to go out and get a little lost (have your MTB Project mobile app
so you don't get too lost though).
Need to Know
We love the saying "Ride dirt, not mud" to keep the trails great for every rider. When it comes to this motto, it might be more important here than some other places for not only keeping the trails in great condition, but also because the clay and rocks are almost impossible to ride after a rainfall.
With four entrances to 3 Stage, you can tailor your day to a section of trail that you can't wait to ride again or discover a new section. Most people will meet at the Sideroad 6 and 2nd Line parking, which is where this ride starts.
At the parking area, you'll find two entrances to the the trail system and both will take you into the park. Hop on either Green-1
or Osler Side Trail
in and make sure to ride the other out. Each of these two trails are great warm-ups and have tons of flow. As you're coming to the end of Osler Side Trail
, take a look into the meadow, and you'll likely see some deer hanging out.
Cross The Gateway
doubletrack and jump right onto Green-3
, which brings you to the highest point along the Bruce Trail
, which runs 890 km from Niagara to Tobermory. The trail takes you onto one of the Bruce Side Trail
and then winding down on Green-4
At the end of Green-4
, you'll meet up with The Gateway
again, and again cross over onto a great ridge run. For the nice downhill flow you just had on New Ridge
, you're going to make up for it when you cross over Firepit Run
and up New Trail-1. Hang a left on Clear Sailing
and enjoy a nice section of fast, pretty straight singletrack.
There are two trailheads at the end of Clear Sailing
, skip over Easy
and take Red-5
. If you come to a gate, you've gone too far, so turn back and Red-5
will be the first singletrack you encounter. The "Red" trails are going to be much more technical than the "Green" trails. You'll find more rocks, roots, but will still get some great sections of flow. At the end of Red-5
you'll have a fork that seems to have countless options, if you stay to the left, you'll jump on Red-4
and will wind your way around some great technical terrain.
At the end of the Red-4
loop, hang a left on Red-1
and start riding some rocks back to The Gateway
. Jump back on Osler Side Trail
and at the fork, ride whichever trail you didn't coming into the park.
History & Background
3 Stage is located in the Pretty River Valley Provincial Park, which is a non-operating park. This means that visitors can use the trails and enjoy the park, but there are no facilities located here. Pretty River Valley has significant glacial and post-glacial features and is comprised of five different forest types and all can be ridden in a single day.