The Pick-Axe Adventure Route – Following the roads less travelled

/ January 16, 2023

Voir en francais – 

Gravel is all the rage right now. Currently, gravel friendly motorcycles, and even bicycles, make up some of the fastest growing segments on two wheels. Why? Because people are curious creatures.

Gravel travel allows you to see what’s beyond that next bend, over the next hill, even scout that remote access point along the river’s edge. We’re not dissing the pavement perfectionists, it’s just, well, on an ADV bike you can have your cake and eat it too.

It’s no secret that Ride the Highlands has been creating smiles for miles for almost a decade. Plotting and mapping those best of the best roads, attractions, eateries and places to stay, all built on the backs of the region’s first settlers and their twisty mindset that has become a mainstay for riders in Ontario and Quebec. But wait…there’s more. 

You’ve been asking, and we have been wanting to pay homage to those unpaved pleasures for the dust demons that seek them out. So, we’ve created the Pick-Axe Adventure Route featuring some of the Ottawa Valley’s gravel greatness.

Motorcycle on gravel road

Designed for all levels of ADV riders, this 370km route boasts at least 70% gravel, showcasing some of the lesser-known parts of this downright dramatic and scenic countryside. The Pick-Axe Route was developed with the big bore ADV biker in mind. It was tested and tamed on a monstrous BMW GSA 1250, so every other displacement will be a cake walk.

The route is all legal, gravel roads; some two track and a couple short technical sections, the Paugh Lake Loop and Mattawachan Loop, just to keep you honest. Besides, you will need something to talk about while enjoying a pint of Calabogie Front Porch Ale when the kickstand is down. Seriously though, any bike with an 80/20 tire at minimum will absolutely have a blast on the Pick-Axe Route.

You can hop on this route in many locations throughout the Ottaway Valley, but if you’re planning to ride this loop in its entirety, we suggest starting in either Calabogie or Barry’s Bay. There are a number of great motorcycle friendly accommodations to settle into overnight to recharge for the next day of epic riding. 

Gravel road images with motorcycles

Be sure to share this route with your gravel loving friends, and if you haven’t already, order our free Ride the Highlands map to start planning your adventure ride today.

See you on the gravel!

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  1. I love it. Keep the info coming. I’m prepping my new bike and myself with riding gear. Really looking forward to riding the Pick Ace this summer. God bless y’all.

  2. I’ll be back home in Pembroke mid April. Looking forward to riding this. I’ve been exploring the area on my bike for a couple years. I may be useful for some input on some roads. Cheers boys

  3. The route looks great, fellas. I was up there poking around on my Tiger 800 with a CAA paper map for a few days a couple years ago. I’m looking forward to my copy of your Ride the Highlands map, and this route in particular on my new CB500X this spring.

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