The BT 700 is a 760 km loop in southwestern Ontario that is roughly 85% gravel roads, rail trail, two-track, forest singletrack, rugged unserviced roads and a little bit of hike-a-bike.
**Possible temporary reroutes are noted further down.
There are TWO route files you should have downloaded for the BT 700. It is advised that you have some practice using your navigation devices before heading out on the BT 700 especially if you haven’t navigated on a trails or backcountry roads before. GPS navigation is a must. It would be very hard to follow the BT 700 with an old-school paper map. The route can be updated or modified at any time so it's best to review the route in advance for trip planning but download these shortly before your ride so you have the most up-to-date file.
1) This is a bare-bones file for navigation because devices like Garmins and Wahoos do not handle large files well and will not show Points of Interest.
If downloading a .gpx file do not click on Reduce to 500 Points. This will result if poor navigation.
You can also use this file to navigate with on your mobile phone using the ride with gps app. But offline navigation is only available for those with a paid membership. It's best to have the file with the Points of Interest on your phone.
Some GPS navigation devices, including the Garmin eTrex, have a track-point limit to the .gpx files they can store. For this reason breaking up the route file into smaller segments might be necessary.
Riders have reported having some major device issues when trying to record one continuous ride during and ITT. Particularly with Wahoo devices. It is strongly recommended that you stop and save your ride occasionally and then use a program like this to combine them post ride if you want to upload one big ride to Strava.
2) This is a larger file that includes numerous Points Of Interest (POIs) and can be used for planning your trip: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31253908
This route file should be downloaded using the free Ride with GPS mobile app https://ridewithgps.com/help/mobile/. To download, click on the route link while using your mobile device and it should pop up in the app, then click download. All the Points of Interest including locations for food stores, hotels and camping areas will remain visible. Tap on a POI and the additional information will be displayed such as the opening hours for food outlets. Zoom in on a particular area of the route as some POI’s overlap and many of them are not visible when zoomed out.
NOTE: During COVID, operating hours of services listed on the Points of Interest might not be accurate.
NOTE: Offline navigation is only available to subscribers of Ride with GPS. When downloading the file for Offline navigation, it can take a long time. On the app, under the Offline Tab in your Library, you should see a NAVIGATE symbol.
When navigating with the mobile Ride with GPS app, it’s best not to rely solely on the voice prompts as sometimes they can steer you in the wrong direction. The line on the map remains the best navigation tool.
If running the Ride with Gps mobile app as you ride you can enable Live Logging so friends and family can follow your journey in live time. This is available for Basic and Premium members. If you are using Live Logging let me know as I'd love to follow along.
@171km. The Gore Trail in Port Elgin might be under construction. If so, continue on Hwy 21 south ~1.3km. Turn right on to trail. Next road is Concession Rd 4, turn right. Ride ~1km to trail on the left to meet up with route headed into MacGregor park.
@206km Saugeen First Nations on the outskirts of Southampton is currently restricting access due to COVID. Reroute information is here:
@315km Inglis Falls Road possible construction. If you cannot proceed, u-turn and head N, follow bend left to Grey Road 5 ~0.7km. Left/west on Grey Road 5. Ride ~1km to Concession Rd 3. Left/south on Conc. 3. Ride 1.9km to Grey Rd 18.
Left/east on Grey Rd 18. Ride 1.3km to Inglis Falls Road.
Left/north on Inglis Falls. Rejoin route ~300m. (You might be able to get through the construction zone during non-working hours)
@371km Meaford Bridge construction. Take Skyes south to Boucher Street and then go east to meet up with the Georgian Trail.
For 2020, the BT 700 and GNR routes are up on Trackleaders all season long for anyone interested in having their dot-watched as they pursue an ITT. It is supported by SPOT and Garmin InReach devices. Use this form to register. (The use of Trackleaders is not required to ride this route).
Points of Interest
I encourage riders to attempt the route as plotted for the ultimate BT 700 experience, but if for some reason things need to be simplified such as dealing with harsh weather or time constraints or wishing for an easier ride, I have marked several of the hardest sections of the route with a Control Point of Interest on the route file that will provide a suggested easier detour. It is the riders responsibility to know where these are located.
There are several places where I have placed a Water Point of Interest on the route file that can offer riders a place to fill their water bottles, in some cases 24 hours a day. Some riders will find it helpful to bring along a filter to take advantage of natural sources like streams when services are few and far between.
I have noted several “wild” camping options along the route. These are places that I thought could be good for discreet tenting. However, they are not guaranteed and all riders are responsible for safely securing their own overnight resting spots – and leaving absolutely no trace. There are also a few areas of crown land where Canadian residents can camp for free such as the Hogg’s Falls area.
I have secured multi-day parking in St. Jacob’s for BT 700 participants. And the township is providing it for free. If you are in need of parking space let me know using the contact page and I will provide you with a permit.
BT 700 Light
Not ready or able to commit to the full BT 700 route? Here is the diet version that makes use of a rail trail detour from Flesherton towards Mono. This removes some of the more challenging terrain in the Blue Mountain/Creemore area. You’ll still get a rewarding bikepacking experience with this scaled down version of 660km and 4000+m of climbing.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31293942 (with Points of Interest to be used on the Ride with GPS mobile app)
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31293957 (without Points of Interest for navigating with devices like Garmin and Wahoo)
Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) members can take advantage of their Bike Assist Program:
This service will shuttle you and your bike a certain distance for free. One rider reported using this when he had a mechanical and needed to get to the nearest bicycle shop.
If you would like to be included in the BT 700 Hall of Fame following completion of the route please pass along a photo of you and your ride out on the route or a victory photo at the red tractor in St. Jacob's. You can also include your total time on the route.
It must be stressed that the route is entirely unsupported and unsanctioned with no insurance provided. All riders are responsible for their own well-being on the route and ride at their own risk. The route developer assumes no responsibility. There is no guarantee of route conditions at any given time. You are entirely responsible for your own safety and decisions that are made including accommodation and necessary detours. If you are not comfortable riding a section of the route take any necessary alternatives or dismount and walk. Planning and due diligence is imperative as is riding within your means.
If you enjoyed your time on the BT 700 or GNR bikepacking routes consider making a donation to help with future route development.