Central Frontenac Circuit (80km)
Location: Parham, County of Frontenac, Ontario
Distance: 79.7km (49.5 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 35-38mm
Amenities: Parham, the route’s official starting point, includes a small general store. There is also lovely public beach on the eastern shores of Long Lake. Otherwise, there are no amenities on route.
Estimated Gravel Time: 75%
Parking: Parking can be found at the front entrance to the Parham Fairgrounds.
This loop through Central Frontenac offers abundant back road cycling options, providing the means to explore the exposed bedrock and the hundreds of small lakes that make up this gorgeous portion of the Canadian Shield.
Starting from the fairgrounds parking lot in the village of Parham, head west on Wagarville Rd. Followed by a left onto Rayme Rd., and extended stretch of single-lane gravel. From here, continue south for just under 8km to Echo Lake Rd., where the route makes a sharp left and remains on firm and easy to navigate gravel for another 8km to Second Lake Rd.
Upon reaching Second Lake Rd. proceed left and continue on quiet pavement to Snider Rd., where the loop transitions from asphalt, to well-maintained chip seal, to gravel upon reaching First Lake Rd. Continue south on First Lake Rd., where the road shifts from dirt back to asphalt before reaching the hamlet of Bellrock.
From Bellrock head north on Leveque Rd., remaining on quiet pavement for another kilometre before returning to gravel soon after passing Pero Lane. The route stays on dirt for another 7km or so, before returning to asphalt via Church Rd. just outside of Chippewa.
Just over 6km later, the loop reverts back to gravel soon after crossing the railroad tracks. Over the next 11km, riders will pass through some of the route’s most scenic sections, including multiple lake views, before reaching 5th Lake Rd. Make a right here and switch from pavement, to gravel (Dorothy Peters Rd), and back to asphalt again, before making a left and returning to dirt once again via McLean Rd.
This next section of gravel continues for another 20km, as the route meanders north, then west, via Fox and Babcock Roads, before eventually reaching the eastern shores of Long Lake, home to a lovely public beach. From here, descend on pavement via Long Lake Rd. for 7km back to the start in Parham. While Long Lake Rd. sees little traffic, be aware that it can move at a high rate of speed. Anyone looking to avoid mingling with traffic should find the outside portion of the gravel shoulder firm and rideable.