Southern Simcoe Shuffle (127km)
Location: Schomberg, York Region, Ontario
Distance: 126.8km (78.8 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 35mm
Amenities: Schomberg, the loop’s official starting point, includes several convenience stores, a grocery store, a number of restaurants, and an ice cream shop. Cookstown also hosts a few convenience stores, a grocery store and several restaurants. The town of Alliston, at the approximate halfway point, is home to several convenience stores, a grocery store, a number of restaurants, and an ice cream shop. Finally, a convenience store and the Caledon Hills Brewing Company are located in the hamlet of Palgrave, approximately 20km from the end of the loop. The route map also identifies two camping options, Earl Rowe Provincial Park and the Albion Hills Conservation Area, providing an opportunity for a mellow weekend dirt tour.
Estimated Gravel Time: 75%
This loop tours the scenic farmland dirt of southern Simcoe County, located less than an hour north of Toronto. While the initial two-thirds of the route includes limited elevation gains, be prepared to exercise your climbing legs at the 75km mark, as loop parallels the legendary BT 700 bikepacking route and the outer edges of the Caledon Hills.
Beginning from the Schomberg Community Farm and Park, exit town via the 10th Concession, being careful when crossing Highway 9, before transitioning to dirt immediately upon reaching 17th Sideroad. Stay mostly on gravel backroads for the next 11.5km, past the remains of Black’s Primitive Methodist Cemetery, to 7th Line.
Make a left on 7th Line and continue on relatively quiet pavement for the next 6km to 10th Line. Head right as the loop transitions back to gravel and stays on exposed farmland dirt for 9km before eventually joining the Thorton-Cookstown Rail Trail. Stay on this silky smooth trail for another 3km to the village of Cookstown.
Exit the village via the rail trail and head north for approximately 6km to 10 Sideroad. Here riders leave the rail trail behind as the route descends on asphalt for the next 7km to 6th Line. After a short 3km stretch of dirt, the loop continues on pavement for another 6.5km before reaching the birthplace of Sir Fredrick Banting. After touring the grounds of this historic homestead, follow the dirt trail for 300m to the community of Alliston.
Depart Alliston and head south on pavement for another 3km to Adjala 25 Sideroad, where the route returns to gravel and remains of dirt for the next 13km to Concession Road 2. Following a brief section of sandy unmaintained, the loop winds its way south as it stays on well-maintained gravel to Mono-Adjala Townline. Following a short section to tarmac, the route transitions back to gravel for 3km to Hockley Rd.
Cross Hockley Rd. as the route parallels the BT 700 and proceeds to climb steeply on dirt up 7 Line EHS, before descending to 5 Adjala Sideroad. Here, riders will join a glorious stretch of smooth car-free tarmac, descending gradually for 7km to Concession Road 5.
Make a right here and proceed on gravel for the next 4.8km to Finnerty Side Rd. Riders will then have a choice of continuing south-east via Duffy’s Lane, or following the main route and navigating the non-technical single track through the Palgrave Forest and Wildlife Area. After exiting the trail system and following a brief section of pavement, the route joins the Caledon Trailway Path.
Follow this rail trail north-east for 8km, through the hamlet of Palgrave, to 2nd Line. Make a right here, continuing on this section of pavement for 3.5km to 10th Side Rd., as the loop transitions back to dirt, remaining on gravel to 20th Sideroad. Follow 20th Sideroad to Highway 9, taking advantage of the traffic lights as riders make their way back to the start in Schomberg.