Ranger Camp Ramble (74km)
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Location: Hopetown, Lanark County, Ontario
Distance: 74.4km (46.1 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 37mm or wider
Amenities: The starting point in Hopetown has a gas station/general store that serves a light breakfast/lunch. Other than that, this route includes no other amenities.
Estimated Gravel Time: 75%
Parking: Paved shoulder next to the cemetery across the street from the gas station. Overnight parking is also possible here.
Riding south-west on Stewart-Gibson Rd., the gravel portion of the route begins immediately after leaving Hopetown, and eventually transitions to a delightful section of unmaintained. Upon exiting Stewart Gibson Rd., turn left onto Concession Rd. 2 and ride clockwise, where the route remains unpaved for an extended period, with a mix of quiet two lane gravel and easy to navigate unmaintained, before the route turns south-west onto Ranger Camp Rd.
Ranger Camp Rd. is a forest access road that eventually winds its way between Woods Lakes, Bowers Lake, and Upper Park Lake, approximately 20km from the start of the route. This area of Crown Land is a popular spot for campers and there are multiple sites available along the various lake shores.
That said, it should be noted that, due to their popularity and relative accessibility, these sites tend not to be the cleanest available. Those looking for more solitude (and less toilet paper confetti) should avail themselves of the sites on the shores of Paddys Lake, which are accessible by following an ATV trail less than 2km from the Upper Park Lake bridge. The sites themselves can be found a further 2.7km north on this trail. As always, please leave no trace.
Continuing down Ranger Camp Rd., the route makes a sharp right at a T-junction, and goes north along Lavant Mill Rd., transitioning from unmaintained, to gravel, to chip seal and smooth pavement, before turning right onto South Lavant Rd., where the loop continues east along an extended stretch of rolling pavement. After just under 5km, turn left onto Black Creek Rd., returning to gravel and the beginning an extended climb.
Eventually, riders will hit the top of Black Creek Rd., leading long descent to Joes Lake. Just off route, on the north shore of Joes Lake, is a small Crown Land campsite across from the baseball diamond. Another campsite option can continue east off route on Clyde Forks Rd. to the K&P trail. After turning north onto the rail trail, riders continue for a further 9.3km to the northern edge of Clyde Lake, the location of a small campsite.
However, the best site can be found a further 2.8km along the route on the southern shores of Green Lake, along French Line Rd. This extended stretch of quiet pavement continues for just over 9km, before transitioning to gravel and then turning right onto Waddle Creek Rd., a beautiful stretch of tree lined dirt. From here, the route eventually rejoins Concession Rd. 2 as the loop continues south-east back to Stewart Gibson Rd, and the starting point in Hopetown.