Hopetown Hoedown (Classic Edition) (86km)
Updated: Feb 10
Location: Hopetown, Lanark County, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 85%
Full Route Map:
Distance: 85.8km (53.3 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm or wider
Amenities: The starting point in the hamlet of Hopetown has a convenience store and gas station that serves a light breakfast and lunch. There are no other amenities on route.
Parking: Next to the Hopetown cemetery, across the street from the convenience store/gas station. Overnight parking is also available for anyone looking to turn this into a brief overnighter.
This 86km loop was the first route to open my eyes to the potential offered by the Lanark Highlands as a one of the Ottawa area's premier gravel riding destinations.
Starting in Hopetown, the route begins immediately on dirt via Stewart Gibson Road, transitioning eventually to a rough (but rideable!) section of unmaintained. Upon reaching Concession Rd 2, riders turn left, heading briefly south-east before turning right onto Sugar Bush Way which eventually to leads to several sections of smooth single lane unmaintained including Lodore Rd. and the legendary Ranger Camp Rd,, the latter having several Crown Land campsites available.
Reaching the end of Ranger Camp Rd, the loop turns right onto another section of unmaintained, Lavant Mill Rd., which eventually turns to pavement after exiting the woods in the hamlet of Lavant. The route then turns left onto South Lavant Rd, an extended stretch of hilly pavement.
Continuing west, the route eventually reaches Lavant Station and the K&P Rail trail. Here, riders have the option of heading north via the trail all the way to Clyde Forks Rd., effectively shortening the route by 9km or so. Staying on route, riders continue west, eventually turning right and returning to gravel via Cruise Rd and Folger Rd., before reaching the K&P Trail, following it north all the way to Clyde Forks Rd.
Here, the route heads east, reaching Joes Lake, the location of a small campsite opposite of the baseball diamond (or alternatively a nice rest stop). Those looking for a large site to spend the night can continue east via French Line Rd. to the southern edge of Green Lake, where several large pretty sites can be found.
Staying on route, the loop heads south from Joes Lake and an extended climb up Black Creek Rd., before descending quickly to South Lavant Road. Heading east, riders continue on pavement for approximately 7km, before turning right onto Concession Rd 2 and continuing south to Stewart Gibson Rd. Here, riders turn left to return to the start in Hopetown.