Balaclava route

Route name: Balaclava
Distance: 50 km
Surface: Paved/Gravel
Start: Kelso Beach Park

Interactive Map - Ride with GPS

This tour displays the contrast between the west and east shores of Owen Sound, since many of the roads are not paved and because of the Land Force Training Centre you cannot travel around the full peninsula. Nonetheless, there are stunning views of the bay to the west especially with sunsets dropping below the horizon.

From Kelso Beach Park, loop through downtown and then head north on the paved bike-path past Bayshore Community Centre. Follow the Tom Thomson Trail to East Bayshore Road, and head north towards Leith. Along the way, stop at Hibou Conservation Area for a walk on the sandy beach or a dip in the bay. At Leith check out the shallow creek that spills into the bay or have a bite to eat at the Baysriver Café. Now take Bayshore Road north out of Leith. After climbing the hill up the S curve, stop and enjoy the spectacular views of Georgian Bay. On a clear day you can see the three islands of Griffith, White Cloud and Hay in the distance. The road soon dwindles into a gravel single lane where, if you are lucky, wildlife can be spotted. Turn right on Kiliminjaro Road and head to Lakeshore Road. Go left and head to the settlement of Balaclava. Once a thriving community with a hotel, stores and a post office, today there are only a few homes and farms remaining. At Balaclava you will go right again and follow the gravel road which eventually climbs a long grade. Part way up this big hill is Coffin Ridge Winery. In season, you can stop in for a wine tasting and sample some local culinary treats. At the top of the hill you come to Silcote Corners (another ghost town from the past) when you turn right. The views of the valley below with a patchwork quilt of farm fields, vineyards and the bay cannot be missed.

Follow the route back to Annan where you will return to pavement and a thrilling ride down the road to Leith. At Leith turn left onto the Leith Church Road. The church is just around the first curve. It is time to stop in the churchyard and find the grave of Canadian artistic icon, Tom Thomson. Now go to the Tom Thomson Trail and follow it back to Owen Sound.
 

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