Post pandemic planning continues… This week we are checking out the Sunglasses route in Haliburton Highlands. It is so named for its shape, and it was developed for our Hills of Huntsville & Haliburton tour. A flattish section makes an appearance on our novice-oriented Pedal, Pints & Pubs tour. The route is 68 kilometres and has almost 600 metres of climbing. It starts in the town of Minden and makes a figure 8 that includes South Lake Road, Kashagawigamog Lake Road, Gelert Road, and Bethel Road, and a wee excursion down Deep Bay Road to add on the arm of the sunglasses- see mapmyride link at the bottom of this post. As with all of our routes, this one has great scenery, including a chance to view paddlers at the Minden Whitewater Preserve.
Stuff to know before you go
There are a few parking options in Minden, including a municipal lot off Milne Street, and a lot at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre. Alternatively, if you want to make this into an overnight, consider a stay at Bonnie View Inn on the shores of Lake Kashagawigamog, and start and end the ride there instead.
Other than in Minden, there aren’t any obvious spots along the route to refill water or grab a snack, so make sure you have what you need with you. There are a few left turns, so please use extra caution when making those. Be prepared for a hill or two, as the inclusion of highlands in the region’s name is not accidental!
Minden to Bonnie View
Head out of Minden on Newcastle Street, cross Highway 35 at the lights, and you will be on South Lake Road. This is the start of a long climb that takes you past the entrance to Panorama Park. Eventually it levels out, and you arrive at Gelert Road County Road 1 where you turn left, descend for about a kilometre, and then make another left on Ingoldsby Road. Make a right turn when it ends at Kashagawigamog Lake Road. This section has lots of short steep rollers – most of them are the kind you can get up and over fairly easily if you keep your momentum up. Shortly after you see a sign welcoming you to Dysart Township, Bonnie View Inn is on your left. This is an excellent alternative start/finish point if you are a guest.
Bonnie View to Lochlin
Continue on Kashagawigamog Lake Road until it ends at Gelert Road County Road 1. Yes, you were already on this one! Turn right, and enjoy the excellent wide paved shoulder while it lasts. It will take you almost all the way to Lochlin – a wee crossroads hamlet with not too much beyond a community centre. At last check there were portable toilets at the community centre, so that may come in handy!
Lochlin to Minden Whitewater Preserve
At Lochlin Road – which is before or east of the Lochlin community centre – turn right and continue until it ends at Thomas Bolton Road. Turn right and continue for a short while to Kashagawigamog Lake Road, then left and follow it around the bottom of the lake to County Road 21. Turn right, and then in less than a kilometre, carefully make a left turn onto Bethel Road. Bethel Road is a delight to ride – very quiet and picturesque with lots of fun rolling hills, and net downhill through this section. Just as Bethel Road is ending and joining Horseshoe Lake Road, you will come to the Minden Whitewater Preserve on the Gull River. This is a whitewater paddling centre owned and operated by Whitewater Ontario, and if you are lucky, you may see some kayaks navigating the rapids. There is a viewing platform off Horseshoe Lake Road.
Minden Whitewater Preserve to Minden
From Bethel Road, turn left on Horseshoe Lake Road and follow it until it ends at Highway 35. Here you make a left turn and spend a short while on Highway 35’s paved shoulder before re-entering the town on Minden at Water Street.
You can end here at about 58 kilometers, or you can add on a few easy extra K’s to get the arm of the sunglasses and boost your distance by heading out Deep Bay Road to the U of T survey Camp Road and back.
Once you are back in Minden, know that this small town is punching above its weight when it comes to food options. Some of our favourites are the Boshkung Social, Molly’s Bistro, and Suwan’s Thai Cuisine. I am looking forward to a day when I can sit outside after lovely long ride, enjoying a pint of Boshkung Kungaroo IPA and some company. I hope you will be there enjoying the après ride social too! In the meantime, stay well, stay distanced, stay local, and stay connected.