Full Frontenac

This route links together several of RideGravel.ca‘s favourite dirt loops including Before the Devil Knows You’re Dirty; the Frontenac Flyer; What About Bob’s Lake?; the Frontenac Folly; the Central Frontenac Circuit; and the Filthy Frontenac, combining some of the best Frontenac County gravel into one epic loop. While it is certainly possible to complete this route over the course of a single day, it is best enjoyed as a two day dirt tour.

  • Crown land camping
  • Single lane forest roads
  • Doubletrack trails
  • Beautiful lakes
  • Rail trail
  • Multi-use trails: The section until reaching Arcoll Rd can have lots of people crusing around on ATVs and dirt bikes. Be trail savvy and keep your ears peeled, particularly when cresting hills or going around curves.
  • Swim: This route passes by so many lakes that are off the beaten track. Make sure to take the time to truly enjoy the journey.
  • Flooding: Some sections of the route are prone to flooding and may require fording, particularly in the spring after the winter thaw.
  • Be self-sufficient: Some parts of this route can go for extremely long stretches without a chance to get resupply. Be sure to carry food and snacks.

The Full Frontenac can be tackled using either a drop-bar gravel bike or a rigid mountain bike, with the latter providing the most comfort on the rougher trail sections.

  • Mountain Bike: For more comfort I recommend using a bike that can take tires in the 2″ or larger range. This is typically a mountain bike but can also be a gravel bike with very large tire clearances.
  • Gravel Bike: If using a gravel bike, I recommend using the largest tires your bike can accommodate. Ridegravel recommends using tires that are 45mm or more. Using anything smaller will beat up your body pretty good. If riding the loop at a more leisurely pace, it can be done on a gravel bike relatively comfortably by giving yourself lots of time to recover each day.
  • Setup: Run tubeless if possible. You can use bikepacking style bags or old-fashioned panniers. A lighter set-up allows of easier riding, especially in the hillier sections. I also recommend you have a wide range of gear selection. My setup made it extremely difficult to tackle some of the climbs.

This route is predominantly in the Frontenac Highlands and is quite remote and off the beaten path.

  • Hotels: Sharbot Lake, Calabogie, Arden,
  • Campgrounds: There are several official campgrounds to camp at on this route. Look through the POIs to find a place for the night.
  • Wild camping: Luckily, this part of Ontario has many areas of Crown Land where any Canadian residents may camp free of charge and with no reservation. Look through the POIs as they are indicated as such.
  • Fresh water everywhere: This part of Ontario is synonymous with the word water. The region is quite literally covered in lakes and rivers. These are all great locations to fill up water bottles. Be sure to always use a water filter or purification tablets to avoid getting sick. There are also water taps near the areas with camping where you can fill up. Remember.
  • Restaurants/Cafes/Bars: This route doesn’t pass through too many towns where resupply will be possible. It is very important that you look closely at the map and be aware of the POIs so that you don’t run out of food in too far from a resupply point. The small towns will provide you a nice place to get a meal to recharge the body. You can also get snacks from corner stores and gas stations.

Average Physical Difficulty – 3

Although the route itself is not that technically difficult, those completing the full route will find it provides just the right amount of physical challenge. While riding North of Hwy 7, the more technical riding will require greater strength on your part. Pair that with the minimal opportunities to resupply and you will find you are carrying quite a bit of weight in food and water. When south of Hwy 7, it’s easier going, but will still challenge your legs to keep going, particularly if you begin to run low on food and/or water.

Average Technical Difficulty – 3

The portion north of Highway 7 is the most difficult, with greater elevation gains and more technical dirt roads and doubletrack. Meanwhile, the section south of Highway 7 follows mostly well-maintained dirt and foregoes steep climbs in favour of flowing gravel roads.

This route was created by:

Adrian Grant of www.ridegravel.ca

You may also like these other routes.

Almonte Gravel Express


This route was created by:

Chris Panasky, host of the Bikepack Adventures Podcast.



This route was created by:

Matthew Kadey, curator of Bikepacking Ontario.

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