Wakefield Wander (107km / 60km)
Updated: Jul 5
Location: Wakefield, La Peche, Quebec
Distance: 106.6km (66.2 miles) with a 60km (37.3 mile) option
Suggested Tire Width: 32-35mm or greater
Amenities: This route has several places to stock up with riding essentials. The starting point in the town of Wakefield has a Tim Hortons, a general store and several pubs. A fully stocked depanneur can be found in the village of Lascelle, as well as the midway point of the ride in Danford Lake. The village of Low also has a small gas station and convenience store, as well as a restaurant.
Estimated Gravel Time: 80%
Parking: Parc de la Riviere, Chemin Edelweiss, Wakefield entrance of Two Island Lake Rd off of Ontario Highway 41
This route combines elements of the Ride of the Damned and the Lowest of the Low into an epic exploration of local dirt less than 30 minutes outside of downtown Ottawa.
Riding clockwise from the parking lot at Parc de la Riviere, riders start climbing immediately up Route 366 before it transitions to Chemin MacLaren. The route then continues north on a mix of pavement and gravel, before turning off of Chemin des Erable onto Chemin du Lac Bernard, where riders have the option of continuing for a few extra meters to Magasin General de la Peche in the village of Lascelle. While only 11.5 kilometers from the start of the route, it’s fully stocked with everything a hungry/thirsty cyclist could want, making it an excellent option for those who may have forgotten to bring a mid-ride snack.
From Lascelle, continue upward along Chemin des Erable before turning left onto Chemin Kalalla. From here, the route continues primarily gravel for almost 14 kilometers before hitting Chemin Fieldville and the bottom half of the Lowest of the Low route. From here, riders have the option of turning right and following Chemin Fieldville all the way to the village of Low, which reconnects with the 106 kilometer version of this route. Those who decide to turn right effectively reducing the length of the route to approximately 60 kilometers.
Continuing left, Chemin Fieldville eventually transitions to Chemin Cawood Est, before turning right to become Chemin Cawood. The route then continues on Chemin Cawood all the way to the hamlet of Danford Lake. This is effectively the halfway point of the loop and, as it includes a depanneur, makes for a convenient rest stop.
After a short stretch of tarmac along the 301 (narrow paved shoulder), the route shifts back to gravel via Chemin Jingletown. This leads to one of the nicest sections of unmaintained in the area (Chemin Wiggins). This section is not technical whatsoever and can be ridden, with a bit of finesse, on 32mm tires. Shortly after Wiggins, follow a mix of gravel and pavement along Chemin Burrough. Until 2018, you could turn off Chemin Burrough onto Chemin du Lac Pike to the covered bridge at Fieldville. But this iconic landmark was sadly destroyed by arsonists in January 2019. So instead, the loop continues along Chemin Burrough to the Veloroute des Draveurs rail trail. Follow this south for nine kilometers, past the ruins of the Venosta train station, all the way to the village of Low (be careful crossing the 105, which can get quite busy).
In the village of Low, riders have the option of resupplying at a small gas station/convenience store or having lunch at the Pineview family-style restaurant, before continuing east on Chemin Paugan, up a steep climb to the top of Paugan Dam (namesake of the Ride of the Damned) and a spectacular view of the rushing water. Once at the top, riders descend quickly before a right turn onto Chemin de Farrellton. From here, the route climbs steeply again and continues south on packed gravel along the Gatineau River back to the starting point at Parc de la Riviere.