Fatbiking is in full swing up here in Ottawa-Gatineau.
Conditions are stellar and super fun.
by Mike McGuire
Jan 10, 2017
To fill you in, we have 3 legit riding areas in Ottawa-Gatineau, 1 in Kanata and 2 in Gatineau Park, 1 other area west of Ottawa in Almonte, and a groomed trail along the Ottawa River actually within the city.
About 80km total of multi-user, snowshoed and tire tracked goodness. Because we don’t have groomer access (except for SJAM), many of our trails really qualify as winter single track and feature a lot of great natural terrain. If you’re thinking of a weekend fatbike adventure, I think we’ve got you covered.
Stay in beautiful Wakefield, Quebec and you’re less than 10 minutes from P17 Wakefield or P15 Cross-Loop trailhead on 70-71-72 with access to Healy and Herridge cabins. 20 minutes down the road is P1 Asticou featuring trails 66-65-64 and the notorious WALL drop.
Post ride hit up Pub 1870 in Wakefield for craft beers and chilli dogs, or Pub Chelsea in Chelsea for Poutine of the Day. Need to convince your lounging partner? Check out Le Nordic spa for the ultimate in post-ride recovery, or book yourself into the Hilton Casino Lac Leamy if that’s your bag. And there’s lots of other hotels and B & B’s.
On your way home Sunday, stop in SMH Highlands and burn anything you’ve got left on the Outback Master Loop, or just cruise around on the lakes. (But watch for beaver holes!) You could also take the road less travelled to Almonte and ride along the river trails to chill before dinner and the drive home.
For an easy cruise, or if you’re getting the kids up to snuff (several local shops have 24″ kids fat bikes to rent), you can also mix in the SJAM groomed river trail that runs from downtown to Westboro beach. The trail conveniently starts and ends at the historic Mill Street Brew pub (coincidence?) next to The War Museum, within sight of the Parliament buildings. Park at Mill street, the cruise down along the Ottawa river at sunset for spank-tacular photo opps, then book it back to Mill Street for beverages. The SJAM trail is minutes away from Albert & Bay Suites hotel if you want to stay close to the core. You could even ride over to Parliament hill and shoot the steps, then loop down past the locks, around the haunted gatehouse and then back behind Parliament to Mill Street!
Skill Levels (assuming decent trail pack):
SJAM River Trail (1+ hours)
Kanata Inner Loops (1+ hours)
Almonte River Trails (1+ hours)
Almonte Bennie’s (1.5 – 3 hours)
Gatineau P1 Asticou 66-65 (pitchy climbs & descents, 1+ hours)
Gatineau P15 72 loop (sustained climbs, singletrack, 1.25+ hours))
Gatineau P15 field to 70 to Cabins (big climb up to cabins, 1.25+hours)
Kanata Outback (2.5hrs)
Gatineau P1 Asticou 66-65-64 (pitchy big rollers on 64, 2+ hours)
Gatineau P17 72 loop (sustained climbs, single track, 1.5+ hours)
Gatineau P15 field to 70 to Cabins (sustained climb & descent 1.25+ hours)
Gatineau P15 71 (hike-a-bikes, steep descents, single track, 1.25+ hours)
Come and try the Ultimate Gatineau: (2.5-6 hours)
Note: The 71 and 72 trails are remote. Be prepared. Bring emergency clothing.
Out: Start Gatineau P17 exit through field at hut, follow trail to widowmaker hill on 72, climb to intersection, left on Old Brown Road for 1km, right on 72 towards Brown lake, Left on 72 East next intersection, right at next intersection at Cross-Loop, left next intersection on 72 pigtail towards Carman lake head, Left next intersection towards P15, right at old gate through field and up-down valley ride, up 70 to Healy cabin, Rest at cabin (1/2 way point)
Back: Exit cabin, drop 70 (yield to snowshoers!), left at 71 intersection, ride and hike the ridge across the double valley, exit right towards lake, cross Carman lake bridge, ,go past fire pit (or stop) and take next left back on to 72 pigtail, (now backtracking) left at next intersection, follow 72 West, Optional hike to Carman lookout at top of climb (look for path on left), continue on 72 West, stay right, pit-stop at Brown lake (look for trails on left), get back on 72, straight past next intersection, left on Old Brown Road, next right back on to 72 towards P17, up-down-up-DOWN!!!! to P17 exit field.
If you come to town and you want to ride with some of us locals, reach out on the Ottawa Fatbike Society page and we’ll try to set you up with some suitable ride companions. We have lots of different riders up here including Spandidos, Whiskey Riders, and Lake Skimmers. All skill levels.
Have fun out there!
For bike and other equipment rentals please check out our sponsors. They all have what you need:
Ottawa Mountain Bike Association Fatbike Page:
Le Nordic Spa:
(Thanks to Christian Lalonde and the other photographers!)