Ashton Amble (78km)
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Location: Ashton, Ottawa, Ontario
Distance: 77.9km (48.4 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 32mm-35mm or wider
Amenities: The starting point in Ashton includes a brewpub and a small general store. A few kilometers away from the start, the route passes just south of Carleton Place, with several nearby amenities including restaurants and convenience stores.
Estimated Gravel Time: 80%
Parking: Ashton Park Community Center, 8958 Flewellyn Rd.
With its non-technical gravel and limited elevation gains, this loop provides an easy introduction to gravel for anyone transitioning from road riding,
Exiting Ashton and riding counter-clockwise, the route follows 9th Line Rd, a paved section that sees moderate levels of traffic. After approximately four kilometers, the route turns right and briefly follows Cemetery Side Road, before turning left onto St. Fillans Rd. While Cemetery Side Rd is a feeder to a Highway 7 on-ramp, its wide paved shoulder make it relatively stress-free.
Continue on St. Fillans Rd. before entering the Beckwith Forest trail system and following the doubletrack west to 10th Line Rd. Riders who may have forgotten any essential supplies have the option of turning right at the McGregor Branch of the Beckwith Trail and continuing north 0.5km to the Carleton Place Colonnade Plaza, which houses several coffee shops, fast food restaurants and gas stations/convenience stores.
Continuing on route, the loop crosses Highway 15, before turning left and taking advantage of the new Ottawa Valley Rail Trail for approximately 5.8km. This flat and quiet trail, while open to ATVs, offers an excellent alternative to riding with traffic on the provincial highway that parallels it. Riders have the option of continuing on the rail trail all the way to Brown Rd, and effectively shortening the loop by 15km, or staying on the suggested route and turning right onto 6th Line Rd. From here, the western section of the route includes a mix of gravel and quiet paved roads, highlighted by Gillies Corners Side Rd.
The route eventually turns back east, briefly rejoining the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail, before exiting on Browns Rd. and eventually crossing back over Highway 15 (use caution when crossing here as traffic moves at a high rate of speed and there is no signalized intersection). After 4.4km of quiet pavement, the route turns right onto Pinery Rd., and for the next 11km this twisty section of forested gravel road leaves riders with the feeling of being far more isolated than they actually are. Definitely the loop’s pièce de résistance!
Upon exiting Pinery Rd, the route turns left and follows a series of gravel farm roads for approximately 16.5km all the way back to Ashton. It should be noted that, after crossing Richmond Rd., riders have the option to continue north on Ashton Station Rd. all the way back to the starting point. However, as this road includes several washboard sections and larger bits of gravel, it is recommended that riders turn right onto McLinton Rd. and take advantage of the McCaffrey Trail, a far more scenic way to end the loop.
Once back in town, it is highly recommended that riders make a pit-stop at the Ashton Brewpub for a well-earned pint.