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 trails

 

Trails, Trails, Trails. Those Marvelous Trails!

by Brian Dexter (Thanks to Brian Dexter here is a collection of 40+ Trails in Ontario worth a ride - Links to trail maps have been provided where available).


If you love to ride a bike for recreational needs more than for sport-fitness you’ll find trails all over Ontario that are easy to do and will meet your cycling style.
Just load your bikes on to your car, SUV or truck and head out for a great family outing plus a dose of healthy exercise!

The province’s network of trails has been significantly improved in recent years and you can bike for as far or as long you want away from traffic mayhem on the roads.


Many trails are paved with smooth asphalt that’s also suitable for in-line skating as well as pedal-pushing bikes. Most others have surfaces of hard-packed limestone screenings.

Of course, if you have the energy you can now ride the 1,400 km Waterfront Trail along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shores from Windsor all the way to the Quebec border even though some roads aren’t the best for cycling due to poor design and maintenance and busy motorized traffic. So here’s a list of good off-road trails that are generally flat and mostly within or around Greater Toronto, as compiled by this senior citizen cyclist who has pedaled many of them. Listings may only include sections of long trails that I feel are the nicest.

Do wear a helmet wherever you go. It’s also wise to take along a cell phone plus a bike repair kit and a spare inner tube.

In some cases it’s possible to bike to a destination and then take a train or bus back. Many buses now have bike racks attached to their front bumpers and you can take bikes on GoTrains or ViaRail trains. Just check that this is allowed on trains at particular stations or times of the day.

Please email me with corrections to the list or information on other trails that might be worth adding.

Caledon Trailway: Goes 35 km through pretty countryside and villages from Terra Cotta on Winston Churchill Blvd to Hwy 9 past Palgrave on a surface that’s mainly hard-packed limestone screenings. It is generally flat and built on a former rail line that used to go south to Georgetown. A particularly nice 9 km section is between a parking lot site at the old brick-works on Mississauga Rd. north of King St. and Inglewood village off McLaughlin Rd. From Inglewood the trail heads to Caledon East via a trail bridge over Hwy 10 that’s also beside the Ken Whillans Resource Management Area, a popular spot for fishing.

Caledon (Cataract) to Elora Trail: You can access this 47 km trail on Mississauga Rd. or Shaw’s Creek Rd. north of Belfountain. It runs between the Forks of Credit Provincial Park and Elora via Erin, Orton, Belwood Lake and Fergus and is mainly surfaced with hard-packed stonedust. The trail passes through peaceful farmland, lush forests and meadows alive with wildflowers. The most interesting part is from the conservation area at the west end of Belwood Lake to Elora. Bike a short on-road section through Fergus by going left along Gartshore St., right on Garafraxa St.,left along Maiden Lane and right along Hill St. Some trail gate entrances are narrow so take care that you don’t hit your bike or a knee as you pass through. The trailway was once a CP Rail corridor and was acquired for public use in 1993.


Halton Hills: If you intend riding a bike safely in this town you must basically make do with a few disconnected trails, bike paths and bike routes and quiet residential streets. The only decent and paved multi-use path goes 7.5 km in Georgetown. It runs south on Mountainview Rd from Eden Place, west on 10 Side Rd, and north on 8th. Line to Maple Ave. A 4 km bike route exists on Delrex Blvd although parking is permitted in the marked lane. If you can handle some steep hills try riding stonedust trails and boardwalks in Georgetown’s lovely Hungry Hollow nature preserve. Entrances are at Mountainview Rd. S at the bridge over Silver Creek, at Hall Rd., Chelvin Drive, Dawson Cres., Metcalfe Ct., Regan Cres., Miller Dr. and West Branch Dr. Halton Hills publishes a trail map. Go to www.haltonhills.ca/trails.


Brampton’s Etobicoke Creek Trail: Don’t turn your nose up at this paved trail that’s well maintained and signed. It goes south for 12 km through parks and nature areas from Mayfield Rd. east of Hwy 10 to Shoppers World at Steeles Ave. If riding with children you’ll find many excellent playgrounds. In downtown Brampton you have to go through Rosalea Park to Scott St., turn right on Queen St., and then go immediately south on James St. to get around a flood diversion channel. Then cross rail tracks and go around a fence to rejoin the trail by rolling your bike down a guideway that’s beside some steps. Nature areas along the creek have lots of wildlife including deer. At the north end of the trail you can park in the Sobey’s lot on Mayfield Rd. east of Hwy 10.


Milton: How satisfying it is to pedal well-designed paved multi-use trails in fast-growing areas of urban Milton! This might be Ontario’s best family-friendly community for cycling. You can spend hours exploring the network that goes alongside major roads and has side trails into neighborhood parks. A good starting point is at the Maingate Centre Plaza at James Snow Parkway and Main St, E. Then head south on a path beside the JSP and go west on Derry Rd. or the fairly new Louis St. Laurent Ave that’s further south and proceeds to Tremaine Rd and the $56 million cycling velodrome built for the PanAm Games. It is also Canada’s National Cycling Centre and is open to visitors. Do visit the Main St. area of old Milton that includes Victoria Park, historic buildings and the lovely Mill Pond. At the town hall pick up a free Milton Cycling Guide and a Halton Region map that shows 8 on-road bike routes of 36 to 100 km through parts of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. For more info go to cyclemilton.ca or halton.ca/cycling


Oakville/Burlington: There’s lots of interesting stuff along the 26 km of waterfront trail between Winston Churchill Blvd. and the beautiful new pier at Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park. The harbours are lovely at Old Oakville and Bronte and home to many trendy stores and eateries. Much of Lakeshore Rd. is lined with luxurious real estate. Trouble is that particularly in Oakville’s East End, the trail is only a narrow asphalt path or sidewalk along busy Lakeshore Rd. It is also a bit of a maze to navigate when it sometimes diverts down residential streets. Some direction signs aren’t easy to see. Essentially you must choose whether to stick to the trail on a bumpy surface or risk cycling on the road. Best, for a short ride, I think, is to park at Oakville’s Coronation Park just east of Third Line and go south on Third Line to connect with the nice shoreline trail in Water’s Edge Park. Then continue through Bronte to Burlington. The off-road trail gets better as you approach Guelph Line. In Burlington do visit the historic Paletta Mansion and lakeside gardens. The Erchless Estate on the east side of the harbour in downtown Oakville is also a gem.


Orangeville - Island Lake Trail: It’s a nice ride on an outstanding and just completed 8 km multi-use trail in this lovely 820-acre Credit Valley Conservation Authority area that’s just east of Hwy 10 at Orangeville.The route includes six long boardwalks between islands or across bays and marshes. You also bike through mature forest and along the lakeshore, mainly on stonedust surface. The trail has a few small hills and had mushy gravel for 10 to 20 metres in about 2 spots when we rode it but we only had to walk once. Access to the trail is free if you walk or bike into the park. A good option is to park in the shopping centres at Hwy 10 and Fourth Ave. and then go across Hwy 10 to reach a trail entrance. Regular admission to the park is Adults $5 and Seniors $4. The area is popular for fishing, picnicking and hiking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented plus small boats with electric motors. The main entrance is off Buena Vista Dr. at Hwy 10 at Orangeville just north of Hwy 9. The lake controls and protects water flow into the Credit River. Volunteers raised $2 million over 10 years to help build the trail. They should be proud!


Guelph: The Royal Recreation Trail (RRT) system goes beside the Eramosa and Speed rivers through the heart of Guelph. It is a joy to bike. Start at River Rd. Park southwest of Hwy 7 and Victoria Rd. S. This will take you alongside the Eramosa River, over a covered bridge at Gordon St and then west beside the Speed River to the Hanlon Expressway. It’s best to turn around here and back at Gordon St. (nice riverside cafe here) go north to Wellington St. Turn right and follow a path under a rail line to reach another part of the RRT that runs north beside the Speed River through several interesting parks to end at Victoria Rd. N, just south of Conservation Rd. Now you’re almost at Guelph Lake Conservation Area. A round trip on the trails is about 25 km. One nice section includes riding through pine and cedar forest.


Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail: It has taken many years to establish a trail on this former rail line and while the whole 136 km route was officially opened on July 1 it is still a work in progress. The path is good and mainly on limestone screenings going 40 km west, almost to Millbank but very rough, overgrown and almost impassable for a marshy section beyond that, at least to Monkton. From Guelph access the trail by going on Silvercreek Pkwy north of Woodland Rd. for almost 2 km. So far I have biked the first 30 km to Wallenstein, via West Montrose, site of the historic 1881 covered “Kissing Bridge” over the Grand River. This section of trail also passes by Ariss, Weissenburg, Elmira and Zuber Corners. It is through farmland and interesting Mennonite country and easy going although as you approach West Montrose a missing trail bridge over the Grand forces you to divert along Katherine St. N by pushing bikes up a v-shaped channel that’s built into a flight of 34 stairs. Then, it’s 3 km on the road, through the “Kissing Bridge” past the nice Mennonite store and along Covered Bridge Drive to rejoin the trail on Middlebrook Rd. Do make a stop in Elmira! Friends have biked the west end of the trail between Blyth and Goderich that’s on Lake Huron and bills itself as Canada;s prettiest town but along the way noted the absence of two river bridges. Even so, as the river was so shallow they managed to walk across. They said: Just pack water shoes! Trail managers are working on an interactive map with advice on trail conditions and diversions. For now go to cycleontario.com


North Perth Multi Use Trail: This pleasant town in Perth County northwest of Kitchener-Waterloo on County Rd. 86 is the site of several trails that can be accessed from near the downtown water tower and have about 15 km. of limestone screenings path. The trails go south from Listowel towards Atwood and Henfryn northeast to Gowanston  Ontario Cycle at 241 Main St E at Listowel can provide good advice and directions.



Mississauga West: Waterfront Trail from Southdown Rd., south of LakeShore Rd. W. to Port Credit. Leave vehicle at PetroCanada Park and pedal east along Orr Rd. and Bob O Link Rd. On Old Poplar Row is an entrance to the beautiful 90-acre Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. It says No Bikes but if you ride carefully and are willing to walk with your bike for a bit this seems okay. After 1.5 km you reach Jack Darling Park. From there follow the trail signs to Port Credit Harbor. This is a round trip of 16 km or more if you divert to view grand homes in Rattray Park Estates and Lorne Park.



Mississauga to Toronto along Waterfront Trail: Head to the foot of Mississauga Rd. at Port Credit and park. Then go east on paths to cross the Credit River footbridge and pedal past a big marina and expensive waterfront condos. The trail continues through residential streets, the lovely Adamson Estate and many lakefront parks. At Marie Curtis Park you enter Toronto and go via more neighbourhoods and parks to 1st. St. where you could stop at McDonalds on Lake Shore Blvd. By now you’ve done almost 12 km on a treat of a ride. If you want to go further east you are, for a while, forced on to busy Lake Shore Blvd.



Mississauga’s David Culham Trail: Is mostly an 11 km scenic trail of granular limestone beside the Credit River between Meadowvale and Erindale Park at Mississauga Rd. and Dundas St. Access from Kenninghall Blvd and Pine Hill Dr. that’s off Creditvew Rd. south of Hwy 401. The trail goes through Streetsville Memorial Park beside the river, then along Streetsville’s main street for a couple of blocks before resuming near the ADM Mill off Barbertown Rd. Further south the trail, which has a few challenging hills, has a link with the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto.



Mississauga’s Etobicoke Creek Trail: You get amazingly closeup views of jets taking off and landing at Pearson International Airport on part of this trail. It runs about 10 km from Dixie Rd at Mid-Way Blvd (south of Derry Rd) to Etobicoke’s Fleetwood Park at Ponytail Dr. and Stonepath Cres. and has a few hilly spots. Some trail surfaces aren’t the best at the north end and for about 100 metres near a hill that goes up towards Toronto’s huge Centennial Park you pretty well have to walk the bike through a jumble of tree roots and rocks. Do visit the beautiful Centennial Conservatory at the park! At the north end the trail skirts the airport security fence. The south section has pretty scenery and smooth asphalt.



Toronto - Humber River North Trails: These are an excellent choice for a half-day outing. Take 401 to Weston Rd. Turn south on Weston Rd. and go immediately right on to Dee Ave. to a trailside park. From here you have about 13 km of paved trails along the river valley. They go north along the West Humber to Finch Ave and Hwy 427 or along the East Humber to Islington and Finch Aves. One alternative parking entry point at the north end is on Longo Circle heading southeast on Finch Ave,towards Hwy 427. Then ride the Finch Ave sidewalk a short way towards 427 and turn left along a new path that goes across the Clairville Conservation Area dam. You’ll find the Humber Trail here that has a new section going under 427. Or, you can access the trail off Humberwood Blvd. (runs off Humberline Dr) across from Topdale Dr..





Toronto - Humber River South Trails: Start your 13 km ride to the Lake Ontario waterfront at Humber Bay at Raymore Park that’s off the east side of Scarlett Rd., in Weston just south of Lawrence Ave. The park is where Hurricane Hazel caused massive destruction and loss of life in 1954. On your ride south visit James Gardens and the Old Mill. You’ll pass several weirs on the Humber, go through woods and open spaces and over interesting bridges. South of Dundas St. you have to go on Riverwood Parkway and right on Stephen Dr. for a short section. At the lakefront you’ll find the eye-catching trail bridge over the Humber, fancy condo residences and the Waterfront Trail.



Toronto - Humber River to downtown & Toronto Islands: This is a real treat! You can pay to park in the Humber Bay Park area at the Park Lawn Rd. exit from the Gardiner Expressway or at several Toronto Parking Authority lots further east on the south side of Lake Shore Blvd W. between Windermere Ave. and Jameson Ave. Parking is free in these TPA lots on weekdays to 5 pm! From Humber Bay it’s an easy and interesting 10 km bike ride on the Martin Goodman Trail to the Toronto Islands ferry terminal at the foot of York St. The first ferries leave at 8 am. The city has done a superb job on new bike path along Queen’s Quay. You can take the ferry to Hanlan’s Point, bike around the 800 acres of park and cottage-type residences on the islands and return to the mainland from Ward’s Island or Centre Island. Note that the beach at Hanlan’s is clothing optional. This isn’t the case at Centre Island Beach or Ward’s.



Toronto - York & Kay Gardner Beltline Trails: This cycling and walking path of about 9 km goes through central Toronto along a former commuter rail line that was built in 1892 and is quite interesting with a mix of residential and industrial buildings plus ravine greenery. It starts on Bowie Ave., in the area off Caledonia Rd off Eglinton Ave east of Keele St. On weekends you can probably park in the Canada Goose factory lot. The first section of the trail ends at Times Rd. Then take Roselawn Ave. across Marlee Ave. and Allen Rd. and turn immediately right to access the Kay Gardner trail section. You ride downhill from here along a wide tree-shaded path that ends at the huge and historic Mount Pleasant Cemetery where many of Canada’s most historic figures are buried. You can ride around here for hours. Outside the cemetery you can continue south across Moore Ave into the Don River Valley and visit the historic Don Valley Brickworks but be warned the path here is rough and steep. It does, however, lead out to South Dr., in Rosedale, an area just east of Sherbourne St., a street that has a separated bike lane to Toronto’s Waterfront Trail.



Toronto - Don River Valley: It’s a 14-mile bike ride from free parking at Edwards Gardens (SW corner of Lawrence Ave and Leslie St) to the foot of the Don Valley Parkway. You can feel like a kid again as you pedal paved trails through linear parks that include mature woods, lots of bird life, bubbling creeks and sports fields. At the south end there’s an awesome view to the west of Toronto’s downtown and new Canary District condos. From Edwards Gardens follow Wilket Creek to a pavilion that houses washrooms and take signed route 45 through Sunnybrook Park and E. T. Seaton Park to the foot of the DVP. You can also head southeast through Taylor Creek Park that ends at Victoria Park Ave. You can get the Toronto Cycling Map from City Hall or bike shops or go to www.toronto.ca/cycling



Toronto - Rouge River Waterfront/Highland Creek: The park, marsh and beach at the mouth of the Rouge River in Scarborough is a beautiful spot. To get there take the Port Union Rd. exit from Hwy 401. Then go left on Island Rd. and right on Rouge Hills Dr., then left on Lawrence Ave. From here you can ride across a waterfront trail bridge to Pickering and into the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area. Instead, head west through Scarborough along the shoreline trail for about 4 km. Then go right on the Highland Creek trail that crosses Lawrence Ave., Kingston Rd. and Morningside Ave. before ending across Kingston Rd near the Guildwood GO station. Trail entrance is off Livingston Rd. N. This ride from the Rouge is about 18 km and is hilly and wooded in parts along Highland Creek. You can return to the mouth of the Rouge by taking Livingston Rd. S. to Guildwood Pkwy and Grey Abbey Trail - path between 112 & 114 GAT - that links to Copperfield Rd. and East Point Park.



Pickering to Oshawa: This is a beautiful ride of at least 25 km along the Lake Ontario waterfront trail, mostly on paved surfaces. A good starting point is at Frenchman’s Bay at the foot of Liverpool Rd. in Pickering, just west of the Nuclear Generating Station. Trip highlights include views from The Bluffs in Ajax, busy Port Whitby, an historical plaque marking the site of Canada’s World War II Camp X (where spies were trained) on the Oshawa-Whitby border and lovely lakeside parks in Oshawa. A trail also goes north along Oshawa Creek for 7 km. Many nice lookouts and playgrounds are beside the waterfront trail. A new off-road path through the Lynde Shores Conservation Area in Whitby has at last eliminated a dangerous on-road section You might consider using the GoTrain one way. From Rotary Park in Ajax you can also ride trails north along Duffins Creek for abut 20 km. The south end has many lookouts to view marsh birds and wildlife. Maps of the 700 km waterfront trail are at www.waterfronttrail.org



Hamilton - This relatively short but flat and paved trail of 7 to 10 km runs between Princess Point in Cootes Paradise and Pier 9 in Hamilton Harbour. It’s where the historic WW 2 Canadian warship the Haida is docked and offers tours. To get to Princess Point take the QEW and Hwy 403 to Hamilton. Exit at Main St., then go left along Dundurn St. and left on King St. back over Hwy 403. Turn right down Longwood Rd. to parking. Now pedal the trail back under Hwy 403 at the Desjardins Canal. Eventually you’ll end up at harbourfront parks where there are beaches, marinas and playgrounds. There’s a Parks Canada Discovery Centre at Pier 8 and an nice eating spot with a patio. A trip with lots to see!



Hamilton - Beach Strip Trail: Quite a favourite of cyclists we know! To access the paved trail you can park at Spencer Smith Park in downtown Burlington where a nice new pier juts into Lake Ontario. Or park along the Lakeshore Rd. beach strip behind Joseph Brant Hospital. The beachside trail goes all the way to Stoney Creek past Confederation Park and Wild Waterworks. It’s a round trip of about 20 km. There are several restaurants or fast food outlets en route. You get around the shipping entrance to Hamilton Harbor at the Burlington Skyway by using an underpass. This avoids busy Lakeshore Rd.



Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail: This 32 km trail on a former rail line begins near McMaster University off Ewen Rd. that runs south off Main St. W. The most picturesque part of the trail is in the Dundas Conservation Area. It includes a trail centre, modeled on a Victorian-era station and a telegrapher’s office. Parking is here and at Copetown and Jerseyville. It’s uphill to Jerseyville. Much of the rail, surfaced with limestone screenings, is through farmland. At Brantford the trail links with other trails that go north to Cambridge and Paris and south to Waterford, Simcoe and Port Dover on Lake Erie.



Hamilton - Escarpment Rail Trail: This is a scenic 9.5 km asphalt and tar chip path that climbs gently up the Niagara escarpment from the Corktown area of Hamilton’s downtown near Ferguson Ave. S and Young St. It ends on Arbour Rd. at the Albion Falls parking lot. Other nearby entrances are off Limeridge Rd E and Mohawk Rd. E. This is basically north of the junctions of the Lincoln Alexander Pkwy and the Red Hill Valley Parkway. It’s not a hard climb from downtown and the trail offers plenty of shade through woods. You get scenic views of the lower city. The ride going down is a blast!



Hamilton - Chippewa Rail Trail: Heads 15 km towards Caledonia from southeast Hamilton at the intersection of Stone Church Road E and Dartnall Rd. Is made of limestone screenings and goes largely through farmland. At the Haldimand County border it becomes the Haldimand Chippewa Trail and proceeds 2.7 km to Haldimand Rd. 66. From here you go east on 66 and then south on McClung Rd. to the Caledonia Riverside Rotary Trail at beautiful Seneca Park. This trail then goes 6 km to York, a small hamlet and on the way passes Killman Zoo. It is also part of the Trans-Canada Trail, a 17,000 km cross-Canada network that’s scheduled for completion in 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday.




Cambridge/Hespeler: Start the Mill Run trails north of Hwy 401 off Sheffield St. in Hespeler. It’s then a pleasant 7.5 km ride beside the Speed River to Riverside Park at Hwy 8 (King St) and Fountain St. in Preston. From here, if you want to go further there are two options: 1. Cross the river bridge over King St., go along Chopin Dr. and access the 3.2 km path to Preston Auditorium. 2. Bike south on busy Fountain St. for 2.5 km and at Blair Rd. head south-east on a 5 km trail alongside the Grand River that goes past Langdon Hall to downtown Cambridge and ends just before the Park Hill Bridge over the river.



Cambridge to Paris: This18 km trail beside/ the Grand River is lovely and has a surface of hard-packed limestone screenings, built on a former rail line. You can start at the south end of Cambridge off Highway 24 just north of Myers Rd. Or begin half way to Paris at Glen Morris where there’s a trail kiosk, parking lot and canoe launch beside the Grand. You have to go on the road for a short distance into Paris that’s a nice little town. For a challenging outing you could also canoe south from Glen Morris and bike back!



Kitchener - Grand River: If you feel like riding trails beside the Grand River in Kitchener and part of Cambridge a good option is to start at Freeport (Schneider) Park that’s opposite the Grand River Hospital off King St. E. You take Exit 278 off Hwy 401 to get there. Then, from the park, cross the river and bike south on part of the Walter Bean Trail around the Deer Ridge Golf Club. Eventually you’ll get to Kuntz Park and the historic Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower. Further on cross a new trail bridge over The Grand and go up a trail towards the Doon Valley Golf Course clubhouse and parking lot. Here, a new pedestrian bridge over Hwy 401 leads down Morningside Dr. to a roundabout at Blair where a big trail map is on the northwest corner of Morningside Dr. and Fountain St. S. Further to the east just across the Grand there’s parking at Moyer’s Landing. This return trip from Freeport (Schneider) Park is about 20 km..



Waterloo: Head to the northeast corner of Waterloo to pedal some of the trails beside the Grand River. Park at the Manulife Sportsplex off University Ave E. northeast of Woolwich St. N. The river trail in this area goes for 11 km and there’s another 7 km of paths in the 233-acre RIM Park. Further south, off University Ave., and Woolwich St. other nice trails exist along The Grand at Kiwanis Centennial Park that has a huge saucer-shaped swimming pool. The trails go further south through nature preserves to Bridgeport. In the central-west part of Waterloo you’ll also find the 8 km Laurel Trail at Moses Springer Park. It connects with the 5.5 km Iron Horse Trail running south into Kitchener. This trail basically runs south of King St. and you’ll find access points at Ottawa St. S north of Nyberg St.,in Kitchener and at Caroline St. in Waterloo by the historic Bauer building. Victoria Park is midpoint in the trail. Area trails also extend through the University of Waterloo campus to the Laurel Creek Conservation Area in the northwest corner of Waterloo that has a huge lake with camping, swimming, canoeing and kayaking. From here it’s a short ride to the busy St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market that’s open Thursdays and Saturdays. For trail maps go to www.waterloo.ca and www.kitchener.ca



Brantford: If you aren’t familiar with this city it’s a pleasant surprise to find more than 90 km of bike trails to explore. The network, partly along sections of the Grand River, is well signed and has excellent maps in numerous trail kiosks. You bike on surfaces that are a mix of asphalt, limestone screenings and hard-packed earth. In some areas you ride on top of dykes that protect the city from river floods. Lovely views are all over, the city has gorgeous parks and gardens and the downtown is undergoing a remarkable facelift. A good starting point for trail rides is at a Locks Rd/Beach Rd, parking area in the city’s east end. Take the Wayne Gretzky Pkwy south from Hwy 403, go east (left) on Colborne St. E and then south (right) on Locks Rd. Within Brantford you can do a circular ride of about 30 km by essentially following a signed “Brock’s Route.” To return from downtown to the parking area that I suggested head east on Colborne St. , then south on Clarence St.and then southeast on Greenwich St. that goes along the south side of Mohawk Lake. Note that trails also go out of Brantford northwest to Paris and Cambridge, east to Hamilton and south to Port Dover on Lake Erie. It’s good to get an online map at www.brantford.ca or one from the excellent tourist bureau that’s in a separate building outside the Lynden Park Mall at the northeast corner of Hwy 403 and Wayne Gretzky Pkwy.

London: The city has an excellent network of about 30 km of mainly off-road trails that go mostly along the North, South and Main branches of the Thames River. Some paths are flat but others have gently rolling hills through woods, meadows and parks. The three branches of the Thames meet in the centre of London where Dundas St and Riverside Dr. connect at a river bridge. The South Branch trail goes 8.5 km from Harris Park and ends off Gore Rd. across the river from Meadowlily Woods. The North Branch trail goes 5 km, passes by the University of Western Ontario and ends at the East Broughs Bridge on Richmond St. The Main branch path goes 8 km west past Springbank Gardens and Storybook Gardens and terminates at the bridge at Boler Rd. For more information and an interactive city map go to londontourism.ca.



Simcoe Region: For an interesting ride on country trails down to Lake Erie head towards Waterford that’s east of Hwy 24 south of Brantford. The 19 km Waterford Heritage Trail starts off Jenkins Rd. at the Brant County Line and ends in Simcoe. A trail bridge at Waterford that’s 166 metres high has scenic views of a large area of ponds. At Simcoe you join the 3 km Norfolk Sunrise Trail and then the Lynn Valley Trail that goes south 10 km to Silver Lake on the outskirts of Port Dover. This is a community with lots of shops a beach and tour boat trips on Lake Erie. On these trails you might see a wide range of crops, from tobacco to ginseng and potatoes. Also wildlife that can include eagles, deer and beaver. A round trip on these trails is more than 60 km but can be shortened if you start in Waterford near the big Black Bridge.



Niagara Falls: The 56 km Niagara Parks Recreational Trail goes beside the Niagara River on a paved and largely off-road route from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The nicest part, of about 18 km, is probably from the parking lot at the Spanish Aero Car just north of Niagara Falls to Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake although there are a few hills. A standout trail with lots of attractions on the way!. When riding north towards the falls from Chippewa the approach to the thundering Horseshoe Falls is particularly spectacular.



Greater Niagara Circuit: For an outstanding two or three day ride of nearly 150 km mostly on paved or crushed stone trails this is hard to beat. Start out on the 42 km Welland Canal Trail at Lock 1 in St. Catharines (Parnell St. and Bunting Rd) and head to Port Colborne on Lake Erie via Thorold and Welland. Is flat except for 1 km section in Thorold where you must climb up a section of Niagara Escarpment beside canal locks. Next, take the 25 km Friendship Trail to Fort Erie. Visit Sherkston, Crystal Beach and Ridgeway on the way. Then ride the 56 km Niagara River Recreation Trail through Niagara Falls and Queenston to Niagara-on-the-Lake. To return to Lock 1 at St Catharines through Niagara’s wine country go via Lakeshore Rd. or the less busy East-West Line, a ride of about 20 km. For more information go to www.niagararegion.ca



York Region - Newmarket: The excellent Nokiidaa Trail goes south for about 25 km from Anchor Park in Holland Landing to Vandorf Sideroad in Aurora just east of Bayview Ave. although part of the north section is temporarily closed due to construction on the 2nd Concession. For now it’s best to start at a trail kiosk off the north side of Green Lane north of Newmarket that’s just past the East Gwillimbury Go Train Station. Riding south alongside the East Branch of the Holland River you are mainly on paved surfaces. Information boards and maps are good and tall blue-painted lamp posts light the trail at night. Trail has lots of rest benches and playgrounds! Do visit the Old Main St. area of Newmarket just west of the trail. Go to www.york.ca/cycling for a good map that also shows other cycling routes in York Region.



Lake Simcoe Trail: A trip on this route is about 50 km largely along Lake Drive that follows the shoreline in the Town of Georgina through an urban-cottage landscape. You can start at Lake Dr. and Church St. on Cook’s Bay in Keswick and the route ends east of Sibbald Point Provincial Park at Hadden Rd. and Hwy 48 in Virginia. On the way you’ll go through Roches Point, Island Grove, Willow Beach, Franklin Beach and Jacksons Point. Part of the route follows the bed of the former rail line that connected Jacksons Point to Toronto. There are many points of interest on this ride.



Tay Shore Trail & Region: You probably won’t find a more enjoyable or well-maintained paved trail to ride in Ontario than the Tay Shore Trail that goes along Georgian Bay for 16 km between Waubaushene and Midland. It’s another 8 km through Midland to the town dock. Take Hwy 400 north to Exit 147 at Hwy 12 at Waubaushene and the trail entrance is off Coldwater Rd. Do take a short side trail to Port McNicol where the 350-foot SS Keewatin, the only Edwardian-era passenger ship left in the world, is a lovingly-restored museum. At Waubaushene you can also go south from the TST to Orillia. Or pedal from Midland north to Penetanguishene and then south to Wyevale and Elmvale.



Georgian Bay Trail: Is just super and runs 35 km from Collingwood to Meaford on hard- packed limestone screenings. Starts at Harbourview Park behind McDonald’s in Collingwood at Highway 26 just west of Hurontario St. (Hwy 124) and heads west via Craigleith and Thornbury. This is a lovely trail that has flat and easy riding along with scenic views of Blue Mountain and access to Georgian Bay beaches. It’s best to go when you don’t have to battle against stiff west winds. Collingwood, Thornbury and Meaford are all nice to visit. There are lots of shady sections through bush. This trail has excellent maintenance plus good signing, maps. and rest benches. The trail has no gates or gateposts. Only Stop and Caution signs are at intersections. This is admirable and makes riding safer as gates on many other trails can sometimes be quite dangerous to pass through, even if you dismount and walk. A 12 km Train Tail also goes southeast from Collingwood”s Station Museum and ends at Stayner. It has a surface of crushed gravel.



Owen Sound: The Tom Thompson Trail runs 43 km from the Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound to Fred Raper Park in Meaford. It has some on-road sections and parts of the off-road sections can be rugged. There are, however, nice bike routes to enjoy along the east bay shoreline at Owen Sound including the Hibou and Ainslie Wood Conservation Aeas. You can also ride the 19 km Owen Sound to Chatsworth Rail Trail that starts at East Bayshore Rd. in Owen Sound and has a stonedust surface The route mainly parallels Hwy10. This trail ends at Dundalk and is 77 km from Owen Sound but according to some users isn’t well-maintained south of Chatsworth.



Saugeen Shores Trails (Southampton/Port Elgin): The area has about 50 km of multi-use looped trails. The paved North Shore Trail goes 6 km along the scenic Lake Huron Shore between the west end of Huron St. in Southampton and Port Elgin beach.The 8 km Saugeen Rail Trail is on a surface of stone dust and starts at a gazebo and picnic area near Hwy 21 and Adelaide St. in Southampton. It heads inland to Port Elgin and connects with two branches of the Bruce County Rail Trail. One goes 20 km to Inverhuron, a community that’s north of Kincardaine. The other heads southeast for 65 km to Paisley, Walkerton, Mildmay and Clifford. Meanwhile, if you go north off the trail at Bruce County Rd. 25 at Port Elgin you’ll also find the short Gore Drain Trail leading to McGregor Point Provincial Park.



Victoria Rail Trail: It’s a scenic 85 km route in the Kawarthas from southwest of Peterborough to Kinmount via Lindsay, Fenelon Falls and Burnt River although at times the trail surface may be of gravel and not the best for cycling. One particular scenic section is north of Fenelon Falls along the east shore of Cameron Lake. You can park at the Trent Canal Lock 34 at Fenelon Falls or at Garnet Graham Park on Cameron Lake. At Kinmount the Austin Sawmill Heritage Park is a good place to stop. Also there are a restored railway station and sculptures that relate to a former Icelandic settlement in the community.



Uxbridge to Peterborough: If you feel up to it you can now bike 85 km from Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto, to Peterborough in the Kawarthas thanks to recent improvements to the Trans-Canada Trail that’s on what used to be a CN railway line. The trail surface is of limestone screenings. In Uxbridge start on Main St. north of downtown. The trail at first goes 50 km to Lindsay on a route north of Lake Scugog through such tiny communities as Blackwater and Mariposa. Then it’s about 35 km to get to Peterborough via Omemee. Once in Peterborough you can bike about 16 km north and beside the Trent River to Lakefield. The Trans-Canada Trail also goes south-east of Peterborough to Hastings and Campbellford., At Ferris Provincial Park, you cross the Trent River on the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge and enjoy scenic views.



Southwestern Ontario: Windsor has an 8 km paved River Walk Bike Trail. Pelee Island, in Lake Erie, a 90-minute ferry ride from Leamington, is a good choice for a bike getaway. You can do a circuit of the island in four hours. A signed waterfront trail has also been opened along the shores of Lake Erie. A return trip between Colchester and the point of Point Pelee Provincial Park is about 100 km. A suggested 3-day loop of 130 km starting in Windsor takes in such communities as Harrow, Kingsville and Amherstburg and includes part of the waterfront trail. The 50 km Chrysler Greenway starts from the south end of Windsor and ends at Leamington.



Northeastern-Eastern Ontario: There’s 600 km of paved multi-use paths in the Greater Ottawa and Gatineau (Quebec) areas. Ottawa has a 23 km “Downtown Explorer”bike route that includes national landmarks and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also ride northeast of Ottawa to St. Eugene almost at the Quebec border, on the 72 km Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail that starts at Hammond and goes via Bourget, Curran and Vankleek Hill to St. Eugene. There’s now a new 25 km trail link from Ottawa to Hammond. The Prescott-Russell trail is relatively flat and goes on a stonedust surface through farmlands and picturesque landscapes. West of Ottawa a 23 km section of the K & P Rail Trail south of Renfrew to Calabogie on the Madawaska River is particularly scenic. You’ll find another good traffic-free trail along the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands just east of Gananoque. It runs for 37 km on super smooth asphalt and includes communities such as Mallorytown and Brown’s Bay Beach. In the Cornwall area the Long Sault Parkway goes for 11 km and connects with 11 islands over a series of bridges.



Toronto - Pan Am Path: Here’s an 80 km route across Toronto that was created specially for the Pan Am Games and follows existing trails apart from a few short on-road sections. In the northwest the trail starts down the Humber River Valley just west of Hwy 427 at Finch Ave. at the Clairville Conservation Area Dam. It ends at Rouge Beach Park at the mouth of the Rouge River in Scarborough. After riding south to Lake Ontario on the Humber Valley Trail you go east on the Martin Goodman Trail to downtown Toronto. Here you connect to the Lower Don Valley Trail at Cherry St., and further on the Taylor Creek Trail.
At Alder Rd. an on-road section links with the new Gatineau Trail at Victoria Park Ave. East of Kennedy Rd. there’s another on-road section to Lawrence Ave. Then the Gatineau Trail continues northeast to Ellesmere Rd. and the Pan Am route subsequently goes south on Orton Park Rd. to connect to the Highland Creek Trail. This follows Highland Creek back to Lake Ontario and the Waterfront Trail to Rouge Beach Park on the border with Pickering. From the west in Etobicoke you can also access the Pan Am Path from Centennial Park via a good bike path along Eglinton Ave. to the Humber. The City of Toronto’s website has a map of the Pan Am Path as does the latest printed Toronto Cycling Map that’s for free at most area bike shops.



Greenbelt Cycling Route: This is a new 480 km bike route across Southern Ontario that’s really for experienced cyclists. It was launched this summer and has 900 direction signs. The route goes from Queenston on the Niagara River through Niagara Region, past Hamilton, through Halton, Peel, York and Durham and Northumberland County and ends at Cobourg. The route is on many types of roads and parts of trails and has been devised by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. It includes some hard climbs up the Niagara Escarpment. Details including 34 maps and 7-day trip itineraries at greenbeltcycles.com














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