The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network

Follow Us

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • RSS

Sydenham: Around Desert Lake (43km)

Trail information: 

This route starts in the town of Sydenham, settled in the mid-1800s by the great-grandfather of actor Dan Ackroyd. It's a farming community on the interface between the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Frontenac Arch. The ride out of town passes through flat to gently rolling farmland with a few descents and climbs across old stream beds, providing an opportunity to warm up before hitting the twisty roads and hills of the Arch. This part of the route runs close to the site of the Holleford Crater, created some 500,000,000 years ago when a stony meteor ca 100m in diameter struck the Precambrian foundation. A few kilometres after the right turn in the village of Hartington, the route starts to climb and twist through the granite shield. The rest of the ride, almost all the way back to Sydenham, is a joyous up and down, twisting, turning delight over and between granite outcroppings, surrounded by woodlots and occasional fields, with frequent glimpses of small lakes and their seasonal homes.

Start Location: 

The town of Sydenham, located 22.3 km north on Hwy 38 from interchange 611 on Hwy 401.  There is ample parking in town, and several places for food and drinks.


Challenging hills.

Approximately 260m
Bike Suitability: 

This is definitely a route for a road bike - paved all the way and lots of hills.

Notes and Cautions: 

The roads through the Arch in this area are lightly travelled most of the time, yet are busier on summer weekends with cottager traffic. Sightlines on the hillier twisting sections may be limited - exercise appropriate caution. Similarly, a very short stretch of Hwy 38 after the right turn in Hartington may be busy with seasonal traffic on summer weekends.

Starting and ending in Sydenham, this challenging route allows a short distance through farmland for warm-up before tackling the interesting twists and turns of roads through classic Arch terrain.

© 2017 Frontenac Arch Biosphere. All Rights Reserved.