(Formerly known as Black Donald Road)
In my opinion, the best twisty road in easy reach of Ottawa and one of the best in Eastern Ontario. Entertains you for about an hour, from Calabogie through lake country to Griffith on highway 41, with good rest stops available at each end. For many years this road had no name markings, so it unofficially came to be called “Black Donald Road” or “Griffith Road”. In fact, it’s called “Centennial Lake Road”, and also bears regional road number 65.
The road does not show as Paved on older provincial maps, but it is, with a generally good surface. It’s an access road for a region of cottages on several lakes, and a connector between the towns of Griffith and Calabogie. Many tight turns, some broad sweepers, hills, lakes, scenery. Not much traffic but what there is is slow-moving cottage traffic. Pedestrians and wildlife are not uncommon either, so watch your speed.
- Get to Calabogie by any of the available routes.
- Head south on highway 508 – the road that goes South-ish from Munfords gas station at the intersection of 508 with 511. This is the same road for the Hydro Dam stop.
- If you get to the Hydro dam at the end of the road, you missed the turn; back up about 5 minutes.
- Southbound on this highway, watch for a big set of Hydro towers with wires crossing the road. Soon after you ride under these wires, there’s a right turn onto a narrow paved road, with many signs for cottages and resorts. Turn there, onto “”Black Donald Road” or “Centennial Lake Road” (Regional Road 65). It’s hard to miss this turn, as it is the only right turn onto pavement on the entire stretch of road.
About 100 metres in, turn right at the stop sign to stay on the paved road. Now you’ll understand why the two road names. Black Donald Road continues straight, as gravel. You are turning onto Regional Road 65, “Centennial Lake Road”.
- You’ll enjoy the next hour or so of ride. Watch your speed in blind corners and near the cottages.
- Eventually you’ll cross a lake and get to a T-intersection with a stop sign. Turn right to go to Griffith (where there are gas and a rest area), or turn left to go through the town of Matawachan and pick up the “Ompah-Plevna Loop“.
- At this T-intersection you will also find The Eagle’s Rest, a great stop: gas, general store, refreshments, advice, etc.
At Griffith, you can turn right (North) onto Highway 41, cross the Mattawaska River, and immediately turn left into a picnic area with shade and washrooms.
- After a rest, you’ll probably want to return the same way – the road is that good. Other options:
- Continue North on 41 to Renfrew and home along Highway 17.
- Head South on 41, turn right at Denbigh and add the “Denbigh-Opeongo Loop” to your already great ride.
- Head South on 41, past the Denbigh turn-off, and turn left at the road marked “Vennachar”. This is another way into the Ompah-Plevna area.
From Griffith (on highway 41 south of Renfrew):
- The Mattawaska River crosses highway 41 at Griffith.
- There’s a gas station South of the river, and on the East side of highway 41.
- Take “Matawachan Road”, Regional Road 71, the paved road that heads into the woods, east from the gas station.
- A couple of Km in, just after you cross a narrow bridge, watch for a left turn with a lake on the left. That’s Centennial Lake road, Regional Road 65. If you don’t turn, you will proceed to Matawachan and the Ompah-Plevna Loop.
The problem is, this is such a great road I haven’t been able to make myself stop to take more photos yet. More will follow eventually.