California Dreamin' (97km)
Updated: Feb 11
Location: Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 75%
Full Route Map:
Distance: 96.6km (63.9 miles)
Alternate Route (72.2/56km): Looking to experience the legendary California Rd. without the additional mileage? The Going Back to Cali version of the route starts from the hamlet of Clayton, allowing for both 72 and 56km options.
Suggested Tire Width: 35mm or greater
Amenities: The starting point in the town of Almonte has every amenity a rider could want. Convenience stores, coffee shops, grocery stores, pubs and a brewery. However, there are no further amenities on route
Parking: Across the street from the Metcalfe Geoheritage Park
Starting from the parking lot across the street from the Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, and riding clockwise, the southern end of the loop replicates the Almonte Roubaix along Old Perth Road, a classic section of treelined dirt. Upon hitting Tatlock Rd, riders have the option to continue on Old Perth Rd, or veering left on Tatlock for a few meters and then turning right onto a small section of unmaintained, before turning right onto Concession Rd 1, and its rolling hills.
The loop then turn left onto Miller Rd, which eventually traverses some exposed farmland, before turning left onto Concession Rd 10B, which includes a series of punchy ups and downs.
Riders then descend on some pavement (Upper Perth Rd) before turning right back onto gravel for a short distance via Giles Rd., followed by several kilometers of pavement (Pine Grove Rd), Continue north and east on a series of concession gravel and paved roads, eventually hitting an extended section of hilly gravel on Darling Rd,, before transitioning to the legendary California Rd.
California Rd is a classic bit of local dirt, and has a well-earned reputation as one of the most rideable (and fun!) sections of unmaintained in the Ottawa Valley. Upon exiting California Rd, the route reverts briefly back to pavement via Snye and Peneshula Roads, before turning right and reverting back to gravel on Bellamy Rd.
Riding south-east on Bellamy Rd, continue south-east on Bellamy Rd. past the hydroline cut, followed by a left on Cedar Hill Side Rd. From here, the route follows a brief section of pavement before reverting back to gravel via the 7th Concession, as the loop ends via a series of flat dirt farm roads all the way back to Almonte.