Route Author: Marc Sinclair
Location: Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, West Guilford, Haliburton County, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 100%
Full Route Map:
Distance: 26.7 km (16.6 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm, though experienced riders should be able to get away with less.
Amenities: Riders driving to the starting point are advised to stop in the village of West Guilford for any necessary supplies, including a convenience store, pizzeria and snack bar. The Cookhouse Restaurant located just outside the Haliburton Forest itself also offers breakfast/lunch/dinner.
Parking: Parking at the can be found at the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve Centre. There are also washroom facilities nearby.
This route replicates the 8 Hours of Hurtin’ Haliburton race route developed by Marc Sinclair. This challenging 8-hour solo or relay race is held every September in the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, home to hundreds of kilometres of logging roads and trails, making it an ideal spot for a backcountry gravel adventure. For anyone looking to extend their stay in order to explore the hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads the reserve has to offer, the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve also offers several reservable waterfront camping spots. It should be noted that a day pass must be purchased before entering the reserve, and be sure to check the hunting and logging schedules before you go, as the park has many competing user groups.
Starting from the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve Visitor Centre parking lot off of Redkenn Rd., riders proceed north-east, past the washroom facilities, to Wilkinson Dr. and the beginning of the race loop. Upon reaching the intersection with E Rd., proceed anti-clockwise and follow E Rd. along the shores of Macdonald Lake, past the first campsite on the lake’s southern shore.
Continuing east, the route eventually veers briefly north, staying on E Rd. past the second campsite on the eastern shore of Macdonald Lake, before gradually turning right and past a campsite on Clear Lake. From here, the route continues along the south-eastern shores of Clear and Eyre Lakes for approximately 5km, before reaching an intersection. Here, the route turns left, heading north along the eastern edge of Eyre Lake.
After departing the shores of Eyre Lake, riders will encounter a steady 2km long ascent, the route’s longest and steepest, before rapidly descending towards Dutton Lake. Continuing south-west, past another campsite on the eastern edge of Minna Lake, the route eventually transitions to North Rd. before intersecting with a dirt trail which briefly parallels nearby Watts Rd. Less than a kilometre past the campsite on the shores of Wolf Lake, the route eventually veers away from Watts Rd., as riders head south back towards the start.