Outback/PWT is a winding circular trail on the far reaches of the South March Highlands. Despite the fact that South March Highlands is closed in by roads, don't let that fool you - it feels remote, and it is remote! The SMH trail system has a solid sign system so download a trail map (see link below). Don't get caught in there as light fades though, unless you know where you are going, and have lights.
It's rugged technical mountain biking to rival any great trail in Canada. There aren't a lot of ladders (there are some), but the rocky terrain and portions of slick-rock are the primordial remains of the Canadian shield and give you all the challenge you'll need. Some wetter trail sections are "rock armoured" as OMBA group works very hard on this trail.
This place feels wild and you'll have to work it to keep your flow. It'll buck you off your bike if you can't ride the rock outcrops or turns. Outback/PWT trail winds through a series of small lakes, you'll see beaver dams, old growth forest, lots of exposed rock surfaces and some tight ups and downs that will be frustrating for a beginner, but pure joy for the intermediate to advanced rider.
Although GPS data is available, the best way to do this trail is by riding with OMBA (Ottawa Mountain Bike Association), one of many strong advocacy groups for the area & local stewards of the SMH trails.
Note: All technical challenge points or obstacles or fun parts were GPS'd with a waypoint. Access to this trail is now slightly more difficult now that the Huntmar trail access point has been closed. Instead, use the KL trail head at the roads of Klondike and 2nd Line. This is where OMBA meets to ride on summer evenings.
Hwy 417 west from Ottawa, exit Eagleson rd, North. Left at Klondike Rd. West to 2nd Line, park along the road. Trail Head is at the metal gate.
Park at KL (see above), then you've got some options to get to the trailhead marked by an Inuksuk which can be your start or finish to Outback/PWT. If the Inukshuk (see annotated map in the pics) is your finish point, you need to ride Ridgetop first. If you want the Inukshuk to be your start, a good option is to take Pete's Wicked Trail (P.W.T. in pic) to that point. Either way, a good reference is Tony's Table, also in the pic. Ride Tony's Table for either option, but shortly after you see a branch to 3 trails (far right is continuation of Inner-Outer and to PWT), left is to ridge top and you'll see some rock to climb right away.
There is also a route to Outback/PWT from KL the double path straight, across a beaver dam, follow the trail along some exposed flat rock (barren), then, across another beaver dam (very muddy), then you connect with PWT/Outback. You can basically see the just of it from the arrow in the pic at K2. It's the most direct, and not to hard to follow except for the mucky beaver dam crossing. Or, um, take the GPS, or, call me ... seriously, click email member, I'll guide you!
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Posted By: KoalaPlow
- Sun Mar 02 14:01:50 EST 2014
UpsideThe gnarliest trails.
DownsideThe gnarliest trails.
Comment Seriously, if you haven't ridden here, and you live within 5hrs, you should feel shame. When you do end up here, and you bust out some laps of the deeper stacks, you will feel shame. Also, humiliation, and respect. These have to be some of the most dastardly and diabolical trails I have ever ridden. Great fun. The parking situation is kind of goofy; the old lot on Goulborn is still an option, though. I'd like to know what the conditions are like in the winter. Generally rideable? What about this year's Snowmageddon(s), Parts I-XX? I'm from out of town, and try to ride here everytime I visit the area. You local people are sooo lucky...
Posted By: _Maverick_
- Mon Jun 03 18:18:45 EDT 2013
UpsideAwesome technical riding!
DownsideHurts when I crash...
CommentThe original poster did a great job describing the trail. It is a good idea to have a copy of the trail map with you. Also, the rocks and trees can be unforgiving when you crash so I wear gloves, knee/ shin pads, and elbow pads in addition to a good helmet (and eye protection). A Full Suspension bike would be best, but I have made due on my Hard Tail.
It's a great deal of fun at South March Highlands so I try to make it a weekly visit.
Posted By: trailpeak
- Sun May 26 21:13:28 EDT 2013
UpsideLove this trail. Best with a full suspension and some skill in levering up tight rocky ups and downs. For such a close to town trail, it's epic Canadian shield and feels like the outback.
Posted By: OMBA_Ottawa
- Sat Jun 16 10:14:45 EDT 2012
Downsidewhat downside? :-)
CommentThere have been significant changes (for the better) to this and many of the other trails in the South March Highlands Conservation Forest...check out the great trail map (& related signage) at www.ottawamba.org
Posted By: seb
- Mon Jul 18 16:06:20 EDT 2011
Upsidenow that i did the whole Outback SMH I can tell you: Lots of technichal parts. Lots of rocks and roots. Nice ladders. You can see alot of wildlife. The trail goes near the lakes. Well known trail. Well marked entrance to trail
DownsideNot manny ladders. Easy to get lost if your new on the trail
CommentTakes a long time to do the whole trail. There maps at the entrance of the trail left from The OMBA association, new stunts added almost every year.
Posted By: seb
- Sun Sep 19 14:16:49 EDT 2010
UpsideNice latters lots of up and down Lots of tigh turns
DownsideEasy to get lost if you don't have a map with you
CommentGood trail and some technical parts