Tour de Dalhousie (64 km)
Location: Purdon Conservation Area, Lanark County, Ontario
Distance: 63.5km (39.8 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 38mm or wider
Amenities: While the route itself includes no re-supply options, there is a small public swimming area on the south-western shores of the Mississippi River off Elphin Maberly Rd. Upper Park Lake and Bower Lake off of Ranger Camp Rd. also provide access for swimming. In addition, a small restaurant can be found at the Sylvania Campground close to the end of the route.
Estimated gravel time: 80%
Parking: Purdon Conservation Area
Craving a leg day? This route has you covered with close to 1000m of climbing in just under 65km, as riders navigate the hilly single lane gravel and unmaintained that dominates the area surrounding Dalhousie Lake. Needless to say, a minimum 1:1 gear ratio is recommended.
Beginning from the Purdon Conservation Area, head north along the 8th Concession. This dirt road eventually narrows to sandy single-lane gravel as the route joins Umphersons Mill Road South and climbs steadily to Ranger Camp Rd.
Here, the route makes a left, following this classic stretch of unmaintained as riders continue to climb for approximately 8km, past Upper Park Lake and Bower Lake, as well as several (at times busy) Crown Land campsites before reaching Lavant Mills Rd. The loop then follows this section of unmaintained south, descending for the most part all the way to Gemmills Rd.
Follow Gemmills Rd. west on a series of steep climbs and fast descents to Adams Rd. South. Having ridden this route counter-clockwise, riders will now have the benefit of descending on this rugged stretch of unmaintained (which would otherwise require a bit of hike-a-bike) to Elphin Maberly Rd.
Upon reaching the bottom of the descent, follow the pavement south to the shores of the Mississippi River and a small public swimming area. From here, the route continues south-west on Gully Rd., a quiet stretch of scenic pavement for just under 4km, before eventually making a left onto the K&P Trail, which parallels Township Road 49. This section of the rail trail climbs steadily and sees a mix of nicely maintained doubletrack combined with short sections loose rock, potholes and flooded quagmire, before eventually exiting on Clarendon Rd.
The next 17km of gravel, including Clarendon Rd. and Kingston Line, consists of a series of punchy ups and downs, before transitioning from gravel to quiet pavement via Highland Line, as the route snakes its way east towards McDonald’s Corners. After McDonald’s Corners, the route follows Watsons Corners Rd. for 3km and while this road can see a bit more traffic, riders will have the benefit of a quick descent to the 8th Concession. From here, the route ascends steeply back to the Purdon Conservation Area and the start of the route.