Beausoleil Boogie (127km)
Route Author: Jeff Noakes
Location: Wakefield, Municipality La Pêche, Quebec
Distance: 127.1 km (78.9 miles) Suggested Tire Width: 35-40 mm. Most of this route is doable on 35mm, but there are a few stretches where wider tires might be welcome, especially early in the spring or after a significant rainfall. There are also a couple of rocky patches along trail 56 in Gatineau Park. Amenities: The starting point in the town of Wakefield includes restaurants, pubs, and bakeries. Dépanneurs in Lac des Loups (56 km), East Aldfield (66 km) and Lascelles (104 km). There is also a supply store in Gatineau Park, at the 22.5 km mark, although it may not always be open. Finally, there are pit toilets at various points along the southern traverse of Gatineau Park.
Estimated gravel time: 70-75%
Parking: parking is available at the ride start point at the Wakefield community centre.
Note: As of fall 2020, there is one creek at around 50 km that needs to be waded because a culvert has been removed. It’s not clear when the culvert will be replaced, but the creek can be crossed with a bit of care. Some parts of the route also have limited or no cell phone coverage.
The ride starts by heading south along the Tenagadino Zibi (Gatineau River), a scenic warm-up before the climb up Chemin Saint-Clement, then along Cross Loop and the Meech Creek covered bridge, before reaching P16 and the trailhead for P50. There are sometimes heavy ruts and erosion near the east end of the covered bridge. P16 has a pit toilet, the only one before Lac Philippe.
Trail 50 climbs up into Gatineau Park, heading northwest past Lac Mousseau before reaching the beach at the south end of Lac Philippe. After the first steep hill, it’s generally pretty easy going, although there are some soft patches of dirt due to ongoing trail work.
Heading onward from the beach, the loop follows the western shores of Lac Philippe. This stretch can be busy with campers on foot and on bicycle, and a few stretches also have motor vehicle traffic. There are also water taps and pit toilets for the campsites along this portion of the route, as well as a small camp store (closed out of season).
The route continues past Lac Renaud and Lac Taylor, winding past several campsites, until it reaches the gate for Trail 56. From the gate, it’s a bit under 5km to Chemin d’Eardley along Trail 56, which varies between gravel, grass, and some rockier sections. At the 27.7km mark, the trail forks – be sure to keep to the right here.
Chemin d’Eardley is open to motor vehicle traffic again, but it is generally in decent shape. After a few kilometres, the gravel transitions to pavement as the route continues on Rue Principale to Chemin Saint-Louis. Chemin Saint-Louis is paved for the first 3km, before turning into Chemin du Lac La Pêche as riders re-enter Gatineau Park. This stretch of road soon veers into the woods and is generally fast rolling, except after a heavy rain.
At around the 50km mark there is a T-junction. Keep going straight on Chemin du Lac La Pêche, despite the “Road Closed” sign (as of October 2020). A short ride down the road reveals the reason for the sign. An old culvert has been removed, and as a result there’s a deep ditch with a creek running through it. Riders are advised to dismount and ford across the creek to the right-hand side. The water's not too deep, but the rocks on the bottom are chunky and very slippery with algae, so watch your footing!
After the creek, the road gets a bit sandier and more torn up, possibly due to ATV traffic. At around 54km mark, it joins Chemin Gauvin to the village of Lac-des-Loups. The route then turns to the right onto Chemin Pontbriand, and passes a dépanneur on the right-hand side.
Heading out of Lac-des-Loups the loop turns left onto the route’s namesake, Montée Beausoleil, which is paved for the first 3.5 kilometres. After that it transitions back to gravel, which marks the beginning of a steady climb, before a fast descent takes riders to East Aldfield, where there is a well-known and well-stocked depanneur. The next resupply option is the Magasin Général La Pêche some 40km away, so plan accordingly.
Exiting East Aldfield, head north along the western shores of Lac Sinclair to Chemin Fieldville. After 10km, the route turns off Chemin Fieldville, jogging south on Chemin Neely, then east on Chemin McDonald before turning south onto Chemin Kallala, which winds through the trees and past Lac Bernard, before reaching the hamlet of Lascelles.
At Lascelles, the route turns left onto Chemin Pritchard, passing the Magasin Général La Pêche. From Chemin Pritchard, the loop proceeds right onto Chemin Woods, which ends at Highway 105. From there, it’s about a kilometre to the bridge at Farrellton.
From the bridge, head south along Chemin de la Rivière towards Wakefield. In Wakefield, cross the river via the covered bridge (watch out for wheel-trapping cracks in the boards), before heading back to the start and a well-earned beer at one of several local pubs.