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Merrickville Meander (89/62km)

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

Location: Merrickville, Leeds and Grenville, Ontario

Estimated Gravel Time: 70%

Full Route Map:

Full Distance: 88.9km (55.2 miles)

Alternate Route (62km): This slightly shortened version of the full loop foregoes the northern section's mix of asphalt and dirt (as well as the rowdiest section of unmaintained) in favour of maximizing the amount of gravel time by starting from the village of Jasper, rather than the town of Merrickville. Download GPX Track

Suggested Tire Width: 32mm will be more than sufficient for most of the route. However, if you plan on attempting the several short stretches of unmaintained, a minimum of 38mm (with a bit of tread) is recommended.

Amenities: The village of Merrickville has several convenience, grocery and restaurant options. The hamlet of Kilmarnock is home to Lock 24 and makes for an ideal rest stop. Finally, the village of Toledo, slightly off route at the 40km mark, includes a small general store.

Parking: There are several parking options in the town of Merrickville, including the Merrickville Blockhouse Historic Site and the Merrickville Community Centre. Anyone looking to use Merrickville as a resupply option are advised to park at Lock 24 in Kilmarnock.

Full Route Description:

Merrickville, often cited as Canada’s most beautiful village, hosts over 100 designated heritage buildings, including one of the Rideau Canal’s four defensive blockhouses, and is home to several artists studios, boutiques and restaurants. It also makes for an ideal jumping off point to explore the farm country and hidden cemeteries south of the Rideau River.

Burchill Rd.

Starting from the Merrickville Blockhouse, head north to Burchill Rd. and the beginning of an extended stretch of firm gravel. Those wishing to avoid the upcoming unmaintained section are advised to make a left onto Richardson Rd., which brings riders back to the main route via McCrea Rd. Otherwise, continue on route to the unmaintained double track west of McConnell Rd.

A dry section of the unmaintained double track west of McConnell Rd.

This 3.5km municipal right-of-way can see its fair share of mud and standing water, so be prepared for the occasional hike-a-bike. Upon reaching the end of the double track, make a left on Wood Rd. and continue on gravel to Municipal Highway 41 and the route’s longest stretch of blacktop.

Lock 24
Rideau River

While the initial stint of pavement can see some high-speed traffic, the outer edge of the gravel shoulder is quite firm and perfectly rideable. After 2km, make a left onto Kilmarnock Rd. This quiet and scenic stretch of asphalt continues for approximately 7km, hugging the shores of the Rideau River as it crosses the Lock 24 bridge (a lovely, if early rest stop).

Willows Rd.
Hughes Rd.

Eventually, the route returns to dirt via Kitley Line 2, and remains on easy to navigate gravel farm roads (including Willows and Hughes Roads, two brilliant sections of treelined single-lane gravel) for over 10km to County Road 1. Here, the route heads south, returning briefly to pavement before making a right onto Kitley Line 5 to the next section of unmaintained.

Second section of unmaintained

While not as long or as rowdy as the previous double track, those wishing to avoid any potential mud are advised to remain on County Road 1 to County Road 8. Otherwise, continue on route, following the unmaintained for just over 1.5km to County Road 8 (the village of Toledo, route’s sole resupply option, can be found just 1km to the east). Here, the route remains on pavement for 3.5km, before returning to gravel via Line 7 Rd.

Rudl Rd.
Kitley-Elizabethtown Townline Rd.

The loop then stays on dirt for approximately 20km as it winds its way along various local farm roads and woodlots before reaching County Road 7 and a 1.5km section of pavement.

One of several small cemeteries hidden in the woods on route
Yule Rd.

Here, riders return to gravel via Atkins Lake Rd., the beginning of a winding 10km section of treelined gravel which brings riders to the hamlet of Eaton’s Corners and the John Watts and Sons Carriage Factory building. The remaining 10km of the route continues on asphalt back to the start in Merrickville.

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Sep 21, 2023

I rode the MM a day or two after a substantial amount of rain. The unmaintained double track west of McConnell Rd. mentioned above was, um, interesting. I had to carry my bike to get through one mud hole section, and nearly got dragged down into the mud myself. It looks like this bit drains a large area so if it's rained recently you might consider the advice: from Burchill Rd, appx 5-8km in "Those wishing to avoid the upcoming unmaintained section are advised to make a left onto Richardson Rd., which brings riders back to the main route via McCrea Rd. Otherwise, continue on route to the unmaintained double track west of McConnell Rd." Other than that, a thoroughly enjoyable…

Sep 23, 2023
Replying to

The first portion of unmaintained can definitely be a bit of a quagmire after several days of rain (though a small part of me appreciates a little saucy adventure riding).

If you manage to hit that section after a dry spell, it takes on a whole different character.

Nov 01, 2020

Tompyatt. It certainly adds some sauce to the ride ;)


Nov 01, 2020

Thanks for another fun, scenic route!

That first unmaintained section is not to be underestimated for water and mud.. I’ll probably give that part a pass next time . 😉

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