The start (and finish) of our 100 mile (160KM) course is in downtown Kingston at the historic Woolen Mill, located at 4 Cataraqui St. situated along the Cataraqui River, where it meets Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. There are 3 route options to choose from, plenty of parking available, and a place to change.
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Route Option 1: The Big Loop
Kingston through the Thousand Islands to Brockville and back to Kingston
(Total distance: 160km)
Section 1: The Wake Up!
Kingston to Gananoque (35KM)
Under a police escort through the downtown section of Kingston, riders will head east up Fort Henry Hill, past the Kingston Canadian Forces Base. This section has a few climbs and should give your heart rate a wake up for the morning. (OK, so it is Eastern Ontario we are talking about –not the Rocky Mountains, but it’s what we’ve got). Riders will travel east along Hwy 2 beside the St. Lawrence River into the small town of Gananoque for the first pit stop of coffee, fruit, and other refreshments.
Section 2: The View.
Gananoque to Brockville, via The Parkway (45KM)
From Gananoque we will enter the newly paved and dedicated trails of the beautiful Thousand Islands Parkway. This could be the most beautiful ride in Ontario on Sunday morning in the fall. You will have a constant view of the St. Lawrence River over your right shoulder. The parkway is quite flat, and we will follow it all the way to the end, where it finishes at the outskirts of Brockville. We will have our second pit stop 5KMs after we cross over the 401.
Section 3: Peaceful Country
Brockville to Marble Rock (40KM)
Riders will cross over a bridge over the 401 and ride onto our beautiful network of secondary country roads. Kingston is blessed with some of the best (read: quiet and fairly smooth) paved roads in the country. They are cycle friendly! Cows, llamas, chickens and a few sleepy old towns that have not changed in 100 years. Relax, draft off a friend or break some wind (you know what we mean!). We will see very little traffic on this section as we ride back towards Gananoque. We will have a pit stop in the town of Marble Rock. In its day it had a store, tavern, school, cheese factory and sawmills. Today it is a beautiful conservation area that you should come back and hike when you are not on your two wheels.
Section 4: Take Me Home
Marble Rock to Kingston (40KM)
The last stretch will take you from Marble Rock across Hwy 34 into the back roads of Kingston. It can be a windy stretch but minimal traffic as you pass endless cow fields before you see some signs of life at the Colonnade Golf and Country Club. No banquet party here yet but you are getting close to the finish as you head south on Joyceville back towards Hwy 2 into the home stretch. Riders will continue along Hwy 2 back into Kingston and the Woolen Mill finish area. There will be nothing better than the view coming back into Kingston from Fort Henry hill. It literally is all downhill from here. You did it! Now come and celebrate with a beverage, food, and music.
Route Option 2: Kingston to The Islands and Back
Not ready for the full loop? Well…this loop includes a good portion of the big loop with a reduced view of the islands. Riders start in Kingston with the Big Loop riders and head onto the Thousand Island Parkway. But instead of taking the full ride of the Parkway you will turn left at the 50km marker onto Escott Rockport Rd and head north to join onto the big loop course at Blue Mountain. This section is beautiful riding. Lots of trees, farm roads and historic buildings along the way. Depending on your pace you may even join back up with the speedy big loop riders as you return to the big loop course loop going through historic Marble Rock, past the Colonnade Golf and Country Club and back along Hwy 2 to the finish at the mill. A great ride and a nice bridge to doing the big loop. One of my personal favourite rides.
Route Option 3: Touching The Islands
This ride is a great starter ride to keep you committed to summer training. It’s a beauty as it starts in Kingston with the 120km and 160 km group. You go all the way into the islands but turn left on Cliffe Rd at the 35 km marker. You will then head north into Eden Grove and Marble Rock and join onto the other two rides again. This ride is basically the start and finish loops of the big loop with a touch of the islands. It is a great way to get a taste of wanting to do the big loop in the future so you can experience the full thousand islands. A great loop to be part of the Thousand Islands Gran Fondo.