Dirty Blue Sea (82km)
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Location: Gracefield, Vallee-de-la-Gatineau, Quebec
Distance: 81.7km (50.8 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm or wider, due to the small sections of doubletrack that punctuate the north-western section of the loop
Amenities: The start of the route in Gracefield has several amenities including a couple of convenience stores and a pub. There is a depanneur and convenience store in the hamlet of Val-Guertin. Finally, before crossing the Gatineau River, there are a couple of restaurants in the village of Bouchette.
Estimated Gravel Time: 75%
Parking: Public parking can be found in the centre of Gracefield, alongside the Veloroute des Draveurs. There are also restroom facilities here.
This route loops around the Blue Sea, taking advantage of various forest-lined cottage access roads, before heading south-east along the Gatineau River back to the start in Gracefield. Riders can also combine this route with the Sainte-Marie Saunter to create a 140km epic.
Riding clockwise from the Veloroute des Draveurs parking lot in Gracefield, follow the paved rail trail south-west to Chemin du Lac Cayamant. Turning right here, riders follow this road for a short period (no shoulder and traffic can move quickly), before turning right again onto Chemin du Lac-des-Iles. The route follows this stretch of pavement for an extended period (approximately 15km), up to the north end of Lac Morissette. Despite the amount of pavement, as this section parallels the eastern border of ZEC Pontiac, it has a very low amount of traffic and incredibly scenic, with a number of ATV trails branching from it, just waiting to be explored.
Upon reaching the north end of Lac Morissette, riders will need to keep an eye out for a small stretch of doubletrack on the left, which connects the route to Chemin Cousineau, a segment of forest access road that eventually transitions back to doubletrack for a couple of kilometers before exiting on Chemin du Lac-a-Larche, a forested cottage road that provides access to Grand Lac-des- Cedres.
Eventually, the route turns left on to Chemin St. Jacque, a brief section of pavement, before turning left and heading north via Chemin du Petit-lac-des-Cedres Sud, another tree-lined cottage access road. Eventually, this road winds its way east to the Veloroute des Draveurs, where a riders will find a picnic area, shelter and restroom facilities. Briefly following the rail trail south, the route turns left on to Chemin Farley, passing two depanneurs, before crossing Route 105 and eventually returning to gravel via Chemin de la Ferme-des-Six.
This road continues south, paralleling the Gatineau River and eventually reaching the village of Bouchette. Here, riders cross the Gatineau River via Chemin du Pont, then turn right, following the Chemin de la Riviere Gatineau Sud along the river all the way back to the start in Gracefield.