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California Dreamin' (97km)

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

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

Route Description

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.

Old Perth Rd.

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.

Miller 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.

California 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.

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Oct 01, 2023

Sept 30, 2023 Rode it today, and a gorgeous day it was, too. Perfect weather, perfect conditions. Not sure about what it's been like in the past but there were long, long sections of leg-sapping fresh loose gravel that made the back third an exercise in struggling with fatigue. Still, extremely happy I rode it.


Nov 08, 2020

Hi David. Thanks so much for the update. The route has been revised to remove the hydroline cut option.


Nov 08, 2020

Did this ride today (clockwise) and it was great. My only concern was when I turned left at the hydro-cut off Bellamy road; I came across some signs saying "private property, not hydro owned, hunters in area" so decided to turn back to Bellamy road. Once I got back to the road I got told off by a man who said that hydro-cut land was private property, that there were hunters back there, and that it was dangerous to go along that route. I would recommend sticking to Bellamy road for anyone considering this route.

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