Location: Sharbot Lake, Frontenac County, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 90%
Full Route Map:
Full Distance: 104.9km (65.2 miles)
Alternate Route (67.7km): The original Frontenac Folly route allows riders to avoid the eastern portion of the full loop by heading north on the K&P Trail back to the start at Sharbot Lake, rather than crossing Road 38. The link to the alternative route can be found HERE.
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm or wider
Amenities: The starting point in the village of Sharbot Lake has a grocery store and several restaurants. The hamlet of Arden, at the western end of the loop, serves as an alternative starting point, but includes no amenities. Finally, three public beaches can be found on route including on the north-western shore of Big Clear Lake; on the north-eastern shore of Long Lake; and on the eastern shore of Crow Lake.
Parking: Ample on-street parking can be found in the village of Sharbot Lake. Public off-street parking can be found at Sharbot Lake Beach, as well as the old train station park and boat launch. Those wishing to avail themselves of Sharbot Lake’s amenities during the ride itself are advised to start from the hamlet of Arden. Here, off street parking can be found at the Kennebec Recreation Park, as well as the new municipal parking lot off Arden Rd.
Full Route Description:
The Frontenac Folly has quickly become one of RideGravel’s most popular routes. However, at only 68km, it might be deemed a bit short for anyone looking for a longer ride, especially if you happen to be travelling from Kingston or Ottawa. The Frontenac Flyer extends the Frontenac Folly by an additional 40km, giving riders the opportunity to spend a full day experiencing some of the best rolling and twisty gravel the region has to offer.
Starting from Sharbot Lake, the route proceeds counter-clockwise, heading north along the K&P Trail for approximately 5.5km, eventually making a left onto Bell Line Rd., as the route follows this rollercoaster section of gravel for 6km to the Tamarack Trail. Here, riders will have the option of tackling a short segment of navigable unmaintained before re-joining Bell Line Rd. and following it a further 7km to Highway 7.
As the route approaches Highway 7, riders have the option of continuing on Swamp Rd., an extended portion of unmaintained, effectively bypassing most of the busy rural highway. However, the name alone should provide a clue that this road is only rideable during extremely dry periods. Unfortunately, should the section of the loop prove to be impassable, the only alternative is to follow a small section of Highway 7. As this road sees a large amount of high-speed traffic, it is highly recommended that riders make use of the outer edge of the gravel shoulder, which is firm and easily rideable.
After just over 2km, riders leave Highway 7 behind and turn left onto Mountain Grove Rd, followed by a quick right onto Price Rd. The route then follows this dirt road south-west for just over 6km, eventually hugging the north shores of Big Clear Lake and passing a small public beach (with a privy), before reaching the hamlet of Arden (home to a small general store and chip stand).
Continuing briefly south on Arden Rd, the route returns to dirt via a section of the Central Frontenac Rail Trail. Shortly thereafter, riders make a left onto Clark Rd., continuing on gravel before making another left onto Brock Rd., an extended section of not quite asphalt, not quite gravel (graphalt?), which takes riders all the way to the route’s highlight, Frontenac Colonial Rd.
Turning right at the cemetery, route follows an 18km section of Frontenac and Ducharme Roads, featuring a heady rollercoaster of ups/downs and twists/turns, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. As an added bonus, this portion of the route passes close to the shores of Long Lake, the approximate halfway point, providing access to a lovely large public beach/boat launch, complete with picnic tables and a large privy.
Eventually, the fun must end as riders reach the K&P Trail. Turning right here and follow the trail for just under 4km, then make a left onto Bradshaw Rd. and continue on this stretch of quiet tarmac for just over 2km, before returning to gravel via Anderson Rd. North.
Continue north on this section of dirt for just under 10km, riders will eventually reach the northern shores of Crow Lake. Here, the route returns to pavement briefly, passing a small public beach before making a left on Cross Rd. and climbing steeply away from the lake.
Following a series of dirt roads for approximately 12km, riders eventually make a left onto Highway 7 (which includes a nice wide paved shoulder), followed by a right onto Zealand Rd. and a paved climb up to Bell Line Rd. Here, riders make a left, heading back towards the K&P Trail and eventually the start of the loop in Sharbot Lake.