Renfrew Ramble (69 km)
Location: Renfrew, Renfrew County, Ontario
Distance: 69km (42.9 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: While the vast majority of the loop may be ridden on 35mm tires, something slightly beefier ought to be considered when tackling Sammon Rd (a fantastic stretch of unmaintained dirt) or Toms Road early in the season.
Amenities: The starting point in the town of Renfrew includes a number of restaurants, pubs, grocery and convenience stores. There are no other amenities on route.
Estimated Gravel Time: 80%
Parking: The official starting point is the Renfrew Park-and-Ride on O’Brien Rd. This parking lot also provides easy access to the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail system, as well as several grocery and convenience stores. Otherwise, there is abundant on-street parking throughout the town of Renfrew.
This shorter variation of the In-A-Gravel-Da-Vida route is highlighted by Sammon Rd., a 4km roller-coaster of unmaintained dirt.
Starting from the Renfrew Park-and-Ride, follow O’Brien Rd south-west along the multi-use pathway before turning left onto Gillan Rd., followed by a right onto Barnet Blvd. Continue briefly on a series of multi-use pathways before making a left onto Burnstown Rd., then a quick right onto a couple of side streets before existing Renfrew via Pucker St., which eventually transitions to Swamp Rd and the route’s first extended stretch of gravel. Here, riders will notice a number of 19th century log cabins which dot the southern end of the route.
Eventually riders return to Pucker St. and a 2km stretch of pavement, followed by a left onto Inglis Rd. and a right onto Ashdad Rd. as the route takes advantage of a 12km stretch of treelined gravel before winding its way back to Pucker St.
Pucker St. ends at Whelan Rd. Here, the loop heads right, staying on pavement for approximately 2km, before turning left onto English Rd. and continuing on dirt for 10km before reaching Highway 132. Here, the route turns left, before making a quick right 500m later and beginning an extended climb up Toms Rd, followed by a steep descent to Sammon Rd. Both Toms and Sammon Roads are the route’s highlights, consisting of a combined 13 kilometers of single lane tree-lined gravel and unmaintained, with several punchy ascents and flowing descents.
Sammond Rd. eventually turns into Lynch Rd. as the route transitions from gravel to pavement shortly after Samally Lake. Here, the loop continues along several quiet paved country roads, eventually crossing the Bonnechere River before making a right onto the Algonquin Trail. As of September 2020, this section of the ATV trail is still in rough condition. As such, those with skinnier tires are advised to continue to Ontario Highway 60. Here, make a right and proceed to McBride Rd., at which point the ATV trail changes from rocks to crushed stone.
As the route continues south-east towards Renfrew, riders have the choice of continuing on the rail trail and completing the loop, or heading back to the start via downtown Renfrew, the latter allowing for the option of stopping at one of several local restaurants or pubs for a post-ride bite.