Ottawa Valley

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Ottawa Valley

Photo Credit: Valley Cycle Tours

The Ottawa Valley has a number of rivers and valleys interconnected throughout Ontario’s Highlands. Criss-crossing the Ottawa River, Bonnechere and Madawaska Rivers, and skirting many lakes, the area has a number of mapped road riding routes. These routes include many options for stops at interesting heritage sites, artists’ studios, swimming areas and communities while cycling quiet country roads and enjoying spectacularly scenic forested and often hilly landscape.

Across the Valley, there are numerous rugged mountain biking trails to challenge oneself, with many of the snowmobile trails converting to multi-use trail systems beyond the winter season. Cyclists can also enjoy off-road recreational riding along abandoned railway beds that include the K & P Trail and new Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail.

The powerful and lengthy Ottawa River has a rich history of both First Nations and early settlers. With tributaries flowing in from Algonquin Park, Quebec on the eastern river bed, and the city of Ottawa not far south, it is easy to get to the many cycling and outdoor adventures nearby.

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  • Bonnechere River and Valley

    • Deacon-Tramore (Mixed) – Starting in village of Deacon, this 20km easy loop provides a taste of everything that Renfrew County has to offer: the Bonnechere River, rocky cliffs, traditional homesteads and a one-lane Bailey bridge.
    • Golden Lake-Augsburg-Ruby (Mixed) – This 45km tour takes you from the village of Golden Lake, through the Pikwakangan First Nation Community, to the hamlet of Augsburg. There are also options on this route to make a shorter tour.
    • Lake Dore-Micksburg-Osceola (Paved) – The Snake River meanders back and forth from Lake Dore to Muskrat Lake with this route crossing the river five times. This is a relaxing 47km ride that takes you past some of the County’s dairy farms. Lake Dore is known to be the largest fresh water lake without an island in North America.
    • Eganville-Douglas (Paved) – This is an easy and scenic 32km bike ride that provides many views of the Bonnechere River. The route passes by the Bonnechere Caves and village of Douglas.
    • Pembroke Waterfront – Kiwanas Way (Paved) – This multi-use trail follows a 4km section of the Pembroke river front. The trail begins at Riverside Park and goes to Pembroke Marina, allowing for excellent views of the Ottawa River. This is a great ride for the whole family.
    • Beachburg-Westmeath-La Passe (Paved) – Winding its way from one community to the next, this is a relaxing 45km looped ride, with few hills. Leaving the heart of farm country in Beachburg the route travels alongside the Ottawa River.
    • Cobden-Foresters Falls-Mineview (Paved) – This 56km loop tour offers long, straight, mostly paved roads with very little traffic. The route passes by three white water rafting bases so there are options to enjoy a paddling and pedalling adventure. This route can be shortened easily if carrying a map.
    • Allumette Island (Mixed) – Across the Ottawa River from Pembroke and located in Quebec, this 61km route loops around the perimeter of Allumette Island. There are excellent views of the Ottawa River, farmland, forests and the Laurentian Hills. The village of Chapeau is a good place to stop. A shorter loop trip of 41km is also an option.
    • Bonnechere Caves–Foymount Hill (Paved) – A challenging ride that can be 10 to 100km depending on route, it has steep climbs up Foymount Hill, Ontario’s highest settlement. Start at Bonnechere Caves just outside Eganville for route details and a chance to earn a ‘I Climbed Foymount Hill’ T-shirt upon return during season.

    Madawaska River and Highland Tours

    • Combermere–Craigmount (Mixed) – Combermere, south of Barry’s Bay, is a tiny hamlet that is home to the Madonna House and pioneer museum. This 21km tour takes you past the fork of the Madawaska and York Rivers, the abandoned corundum mines and ghost town of Craigmount.
    • Brudenell-Quadeville-Letterkenny (Paved) – South of Golden Lake, this 47km tour takes in some of the most spectacular views in the area. The route is hilly but well worth the climbs, starting in Brudenell and allowing for a side tour up Foymount Hill. The tour also passes through Quadeville and past the famous hideout area of Al Capone.
    • Dacre–Mount St Patrick–Balaclava (Mixed) – In centre of the County, near Constant Lake, this 29km route follows the base of Mount St. Patrick Mountain. The route crosses Hwy 132 and winds up and down narrow dirt roads into the ghost town of Balaclava.
    • The Pinnacle in Renfrew (Mixed) – This 14km route is a favourite ride for many Ottawa Valley cyclists. This ride starts in town and within a few km you are climbing up the Pinnacle to meander through farm country.
    • Burnstown-Stewartville (Mixed) – This 21km route loops around the Madawaska River taking in both sides of the river between these two towns. The village of Burnstown has cafes and artists’ studios, and nearby swimming areas along the river.
    • Braeside-Lochwinnoch-Sand Point (Mixed) – This 26km tour starting in Braeside, just north of Arnprior offers some excellent views of the Ottawa River and east to Quebec. After the hill out of Braeside the ride is along flat gravel and primarily paved roads.
    • Arnprior-Burnstown-White Lake (Paved) – This 43km tour goes through a number of small communities, and passes by a riverside and lake front parks. There are plenty of opportunities to take a break for swimming, picnicking and stopping at a few galleries and two cafes enroute.
    • Renfrew-Calabogie-K & P Loop (Mixed) – Following the K & P Rail Trail for 23km, this full looped route (55km) returns via quiet back roads for a great day out.

Madawaska and Ottawa Valley – Two Day Itinerary (Paved) – With 179km combined over two days, slip into Valley time and get your ride on setting up base with rides out of Barry’s Bay and through some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery that Ontario has to offer. Get to know the area intimately with these paved routes that climb some challenging hills and drop down in and out of quiet hamlets surrounded by forested wilderness.

  • K-and-P Rail Trail (Ottawa Valley) – The 23km section of multi-use trail between Calabogie and Renfrew is mostly flat following a scenic abandoned railway bed built in the mid-1800s. While the trail runs south to Lake Ontario at Kingston for a total of 175km, not all sections of the trail are fully developed yet and maintained. For information on the K&P Trail in Kingston, visit K-and-P Rail Trail (Kingston Area)
  • Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail – Ride from Arnprior to Petawawa on this multi-use unpaved rail trail, also known as the Algonquin Trail. Through Pembroke a road connection is required. Trail upgrades are underway, consult map for latest.
  • Chalk River to Deep River – This 31km trail loop runs between these two northern Ontario towns on mixed surfaces, including a section of snowmobile trail.
  • Petawawa Research Forest – North of Petawawa, this 11km interpretive loop through the forest has signage that describes some of the research activities currently underway.
  • Bonnechere Tour – Beginning near Bonnechere Provincial Park, this 18km loop runs through forest and wetlands along the river and lake, then returns via paved and park roads.
  • Millenium Trail (Town of Renfrew) – This 4km rail trail on crushed stone surface runs along an abandoned CN corridor through the heart of historic Renfrew. At the western end it joins the County of Renfrew K & P Trail (above), which links to Calabogie and Greater Madawaska Township. The eastern end joins the Horton Township Rail Trail, which connects to the McNab/Braeside Rail Trail, which connects to the Arnprior CN Rail Trail.
  • Wilno-Barry’s Bay – A 10km long abandoned railway bed provides a scenic and safe off-road ride option from Wilno, a thriving artisan community, to Barry’s Bay. Return the same way or loop back on roads to Wilno for a 35km ride.
  • Forest Lea Trails – Embedded in 600 acres of MNR crown land west of Pembroke, these trails are used by cross-country skiers during winter. They are rocky and rooty, purpose built singletrack in a stacked loop system and are constantly being improved. Managed by OVMBA.
  • Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association (BORCA) – BORCA creates purpose-built singletrack for mountain bikers and do not allow horses or motorized vehicles on trails. BORCA has maps available to members ($25/year). Maps are detailed of each area.
    • Beachburg Tract – This forest tract near the Ottawa River is a short 12km and managed locally by BORCA to ensure conditions are maintained and appropriate for all to use. Watch for hunting season.
    • Beachburg County Forest – Consists of three main loops. 1st loop is the Original Red (2.2km), 2nd loop is Original Blue (4.4km) – both built by the MNR in the ’70s and BORCA’s perimeter loop (8km) of twisty singletrack at the intermediate ability level.
    • Brewery Trails – Located behind the Whitewater Brewery lies 7km of Advanced, rocky and rooty singletrack.
    • Little Lakes Trails – Park at the Little Lakes swim hole (corner of Beachburg Rd and Pappin Rd) and enjoy a 5km loop of intermediate singletrack with the advanced option to ride Thrasher Lane.
    • Crown Land Trails – New in 2016 and located closer to Wilderness Tours (7km from brewery), is some of BORCA’s best singletrack with much more to come. Advanced singletrack riding in an open mixed forest with many hills, roots and rocks.
  • Ottawa River Whitewater Corridor – On crown land in the Whitewater Region between Beachburg and Foresters Falls, there are 10kms of single-track carved along the world-class whitewater kayaking and rafting section of the Ottawa River. Challenging terrain through towering forests, over rugged Canadian Shield and across farmland and wood lots, featuring spectacular whitewater viewing.
  • Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort – This 4000 acre adventure playground includes 30km of mountain biking trails,on private property in the same Whitewater corridor, with stunning views of the Ottawa River.  8 km of new machine-made trails and flow track.  Pump and progression track and new trails are planned for 2023. Bike rentals and repairs are available.
  • Eagle’s Nest – The 19km of trails through the forest behind Calabogie Peaks are picturesque and challenging for mountain bikers, and known for scenic vistas from the Eagle’s Nest escarpment. Snowmobile trails in winter, as mountain biking trails they will test intermediate to advanced riders.
  • Madawaska Snowmobile Loop – Located near White Lake, east of Calabogie, there are 24km of double track trails used by mountain bikers in season.
  • Deep River Trails – There are various unmarked and unmapped trails and loops suitable for mountain biking, hiking and ATV during the season and located just minutes outside of the town of Deep River.
  • Pakkotinna Recreation Trail – On the north shore of Golden Lake, about 8km west of town, this 6km singletrack loop gets narrower as you gain elevation. Pakkotinna means “high hilly ground”. Best to bring a compass, as trail is not well maintained.
  • Petawawa Bike Park – Located at the Petawawa Civic Centre, this relatively new bike park was designed by legendary Jay Hoots. It includes pump-tracks and has something to offer for all skill levels.

OVTA Map Cover

  • Ottawa Valley Cycling Map (2021). PDF Map. Printed map featuring 17 cycling routes ranging from 18km to 186km that incorporates cycling along both the Ontario and Quebec side of the OttawaRiver.
  • Ottawa Valley Biking Trail Guide. Website. Excellent resource for cycling information across Ottawa Valley, split into three geographical sub-sections. The guide also shows and maps road touring routes of various lengths, off road trails and mountain biking locations.
  • Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA). Website. Excellent source of information for trails of all types, including road tours and mountain biking. Also calendar of events, festivals, farmers markets and information about accommodations, services, attractions and all sorts of things to do in addition to cycling.
  • Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association (BORCA) – This non-profit group develops and maintains multi-use trails in the Beachburg region.
  • Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail – Site maintained by trail group with useful map showing current status of trail.
  • Bonnechere Cycling Group – Meet and ride with the locals – every Wednesday at the McRae Lookout Mill in Eganville in June, July and August at 5:30. All welcome.

Please note there are many additional map guides for the region that cyclists may find interesting or useful. New maps and guides are produced yearly, and the information listed here may change.

Ottawa Valley – Related Blogs:

Easy Rider – Relaxed Cycling in Ontario’s Highlands

September 1, 2023|

Not every bike ride needs to involve grueling hours spent on the road or trail. Sometimes the best rides are the ones where you take it easy, slow it down and see new communities, and maybe even stop for a bite to eat. If you’re not into wearing padded bike shorts and setting a challenging pace, plan your next ride in Ontario’s Highlands where your cycling adventure can match your mood, abilities, and bike.

One Bike, All Rides

February 15, 2023|

Ontario has more than 130,000km of unpaved roads – so where do you want to groad? Yes, groadies. Groadies are roadies who love dirt. And mountain bikers who love gravel too. However you define your ride, cyclists have pedalled over every surface imaginable for years. So make some plans to hit the groad! Check out this mix of terrain and routes that will give you a taste of Ontario's unpaved fun. It's just the tip of the gravel iceberg!

Be Your Own Explorer: Cycle Champlain’s Historic Routes Along the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers

September 1, 2022|

*Aussi disponible en français* If you are looking to add a little history and culture to your ride day and learn something new along the way, be sure to check out these bilingual French and English cycling itineraries built around Ontario’s Route Champlain Tourism Route, in and near our capital city, Ottawa.

Bikepacking in Ontario? Get Started Here

June 1, 2022|

Bikepacking is a natural next step for those who love both cycling and camping, it truly is human power for the win. Over the past few years, Ontario’s Highlands has emerged as a bikepacker’s paradise. Before you head out, here are some tips for planning your first trip.

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Ottawa valley