The following contains a few of the gravel, touring, bikepacking routes I’ve ridden or would like to ride, along with links to both my own stories about those routes or links to the stories written by other adventurous souls.
Note – All bikepacking routes have been arranged from shortest to longest for a return trip.
The Motherload – Loop 1 – Mono Centre to Terra Nova – 73km/1380m
The Motherload – Loop 1 was inspired by The Motherload as crafted by Tiago. Although only 75km, it feels much longer. Loop 1 throws a little bit of everything at you, including three epic climbs, beautiful views, double track, hard-pack gravel, a rough gravel climb and descent, a little bit of pavement to rest the legs, and of course the epic climb north out of Terra Nova.
5 Cambridge Loop – 95km/600m
- My Ride Report will be coming early May 2021
The 5 Cambridge Loop was discovered on Ride with GPS while searching for route options in the KWC area. The route was created by Ron M, who has also built lots of other routes I want to explore via Ontario Gravel Week.
The Rookie is the first of three Durham Destroyer routes, at 100km it’s the easiest of the bunch.
Tour of Scugog – A Route in Progress
The Tour of Scugog is my first attempt at a gravel route build. Starting in Port Perry, you will head towards the Town of Lindsay via some excellent gravel roads featuring some great panoramas of The Township of Scugog before heading south on the Victoria Rail Trail and then the turn back home on Ballyduff Road. It’s on the turn that the day will get interesting, due brave Ballyduff in its entirety, or bypass the Ballyduff ATV track via Gray Road Bypass.
Burks Falls Gravel Loop
- Ride Report by Tiago Varella-Cid from Team Colin’s Blog
- Pedal Poetry – Riding a Painting – Burks Falls Gravel Loop in Autumn – September 2020
I first learned about the Burks Falls Loop in the summer of 2020 while reading Team Colin’s blog, as noted above. It sounds like an excellent route and is on my must-do list for 2021.
I’m Not Worthy is the second of three Durham Destroyer routes. With close to two kilometres of climbing over an imperial century, it’s not for the faint of heart.
- My Ride Report of the Simcoe County Loop Trail – August 2020
- Biking in a Big Cities – Simcoe County Loop Trail – September 2020
- Ride Cycle Spin – Bikepacking the Simcoe County Loop Trail and More! – August 2020
The Simcoe County Loop Trail is an excellent intro to bikepacking and is popular as both a one or two day route. The 160km route is 90% on trail and passes by a number of towns including Barrie, Elmvale, Penetanguishene, Midland, Victoria Harbour, Coldwater, and Orilla.
I recently came across this new route posted by Paul Galipuea on comewander.ca. The Hastings-Haliburton 50/50 is a route he crafted which follows 50 percent gravel / rail trail and 50 percent quiet paved roads. Paul markets this route as a beginner-friendly route with lots of options if you prefer not to bikepack by tent.
As copied from the RideWithGPS route that Tiago Varella-Cid posted… “A epic challenge route designed for intermediate to advanced gravel riders using 40C or wider tires. A variety of terrain ranging from gravel roads to gnarly unmaintained roads, single track and quiet country roads. This is an adventure route that requires appropriate fitness, preparation and skill. Total actual elevation is closer to 4000m rather than the value estimated by RWGPS.
Haliburton to Uxbridge
- My Ride Report from August 2019
- The Outside Project Ride – Along the Rails: Haliburton to Uxbridge – 2015
The Haliburton to Uxbridge Rail Trail is an unofficial trail that is 90% rail trail from Haliburton to Uxbridge. The ride itself is excellent with many different types of views along the way from the bussiness around Fenelon Falls to the solitude of the forests south of Haliburton. Be warned, the trail from Kinmount into Haliburton can be very sandy, and may require a detour, the rest is excellent.
The Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail is a 127km point to point multi-use trail that runs from Guelph to the shores of Lake Huron.
The Full Monty is the longest of the three Durham Destroyer routes and is currently targeted for my first bikepacking trip in early June 2021.
The Cannonball300 is another beginner friendly intro to bikepacking route covering 330km from Dundas to Port Dover to Port Colbourne to St. Catharines and back.
The GNR is the baby brother of the BT700 covering a more manageable 350km around the Waterloo and Hamilton areas.
The Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT) by Matt Kady
- Ride Cycle Spin – Bikepacking the Central Ontario Loop Trail October 2017
- Pedal Poetry – COLT (Central Ontario Loop Trail) – August 2019
- Team Van Go – Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT) – Our Take – September 2020
Matt Kady who developed the BT700, GNR, and assisted with the Log Driver’s Waltz created an alternate version of Miles Arbour’s original COLT route, see below, that passes through Peterborough, rather than the shores of Lake Ontario.
The COLT was one of Ontario’s first named bikepacking loops, consisting of a 400km plus route throughout Central Ontario consisting of gravel roads, rail trail, and ATV trails.
The BT700 is a 750Km plus route across gravel roads, single track, and rail trail touching parts of Waterloo, Port Elgin, Wiarton, Collingwood, and Orangeville.
Having just been published earlier this year, the LDW is the newest member of Ontario’s bikepacking community. The LDW follows an 800km route throughout Ottawa Valley and Outaouais regions of Ontario and Quebec.