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Published: August 31st 2017
Biking in the Kawartha Lakes Region of Ontario.
This route is not a rails to trails but the county roads are very lightly travelled even in summer.
The ride starts and ends at the Kirkfield Lift Locks
. The village of KIRKFIELD
is east of Orillia and North of Peterborough. From Kirkfield go north on COUNTY ROAD 6
for 3.5 km to arrive at the Lift Locks.
The Kirkfield Lift Locks are the second highest in the world at 15 metres, surpassed only by the Peterborough Lift Locks at 19 metres. Boats are raised and lowered in huge “tanks” which use the weight of the water to raise and lower the boats. There is a large parking lot at the locks and sometimes, the charge $2.00 for all day parking. Other times the gate is open and parking is free. During the boating season, there are also flush toilets available.
1) This is circular route
so you can go in either direction
from the lift locks. The detailed directions below place the hardest part first with 3 sections of hard packed gravel and a few hills.
If you start in the opposite direction
(Talbot Road) it is a much easier ride if you don't want to do the entire circle. To the park store
and back is approx 28 km with only 1 slope and views of Balsam Lake. To the intersection of road 48 and French Settlement
would be 40 km return all on paved road and very flat!!
2) From the lift locks parking lot, continue north on county road 6 for a few kilometres. Turn right on McNamee Road
(hard packed gravel and good enough even for a street bicycle) Continue on McNamee Road until you reach Victoria Road (approximately 6 km.) At Victoria Road, county road 35
(paved) turn left
and continue until you reach NORTH MOUNTAIN ROAD
(hard packed gravel) and turn right
. Starting here and for the next 15-20 km you will see lots of split cedar rail fences.
Continue on North Mountain Road until the first paved intersection which is Bexley
and approximately 15 km.
There are only a few houses at this intersection. Turn left
on to COUNTY ROAD 41
and soon on the left you might see horses being trained at a circular track. County road 41 soon makes a
90 degree turn to the right.
After making the big right turn the road goes down a gradual hill and here you must be observant. Near the bottom of the hill, there is a hard packed gravel road (the last one) on the right called BEX-LAX township line
. Make sure that you turn right
. Now you have a short hill before arriving at a flat straight road with fields on both sides separated by split rail fences and if you have not seen any cattle yet, this is likely the best place to see a large herd. Near the end of this long straight stretch are metal fences and shade trees and I find that this a good place to stop for a drink and a snack (approximately 18 km so far)
Continue for approximately 2 km until you come to the first paved road and turn right.
This road is called FRENCH SETTLEMENT ROAD
French Settlement Road has a long downhill and steep uphill! Just past the uphill, you will come across a DEER YARD
on the right (it is signed) Stop here and wander around on the other side of the road to see the
effects of rain on the limestone surface. Distance travelled so far is about 25 km. Just past the deer yard, the road ends at Highway 48.
Thus ends the most scenic and most rural part of the ride.
on to highway 48 for approximately ½ km. This will be the busiest road of the entire ride. Next turn left
on to NORTH BAY DRIVE
. North Bay Drive is a cottage/year round road with homes mostly on your right and Balsam Lake
on the left.
The road ends at Balsam Lake Provincial Park
with a gate blocking vehicle traffic but room for cyclists to get around. Just ahead is the beach with covered picnic areas and toilets. For a short distance, the road is pretty rough. Campsites will be on your left with the main campground on the right. You can take any of the roads on the right to enter the campground and use a flush toilet.
The road is blocked to vehicles at the end, but cyclists can get around to find themselves on Balsam Lake Drive
and the Park Store
on the right. Distance so far is about 32 km.
Part of this
road parallels Balsam Lake and there are some excellent examples of dry stone fences
. In the spring time, the dry stone fences are framed with the scent of lilac bushes. Along the way, there is a very small beach and a porta potty at Blanchards Road.
After 8 km you will come to a church and cemetery on the right and just past that is highway 48
again. Turn left
on to highway 48
for only a few hundred metres and then turn right on to county road 35 (Victoria Road.)
Go north on this road and through Victoria Road
(village with a few houses.) Just past Victoria Road turn left on to Talbot River Road.
This is another rural and scenic road. Talbot River Road ends at the Kirkfield Lift Locks
where you started. Total distance
covered is approximately 45 km.
For two shorter rides along this route see my blog entry "Biking Kawartha Lakes near Peterborough, Ontario" 2010.
Both of these routes start and end at the provincial park.
MORE PHOTOS BELOW ...
Tot: 0.071s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 13; qc: 36; dbt: 0.01s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb