Outdoors

9 bike trails to explore in Ontario

Family biking through forest on trail Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Whether you want to climb over rocks and blast your way up hills, or just have a peaceful cycle through the countryside, there are bike trails for everyone all over the province—each offering a unique mix of scenery, history, and interesting spots to pull over and snap a picture. Here are some of the best bike trails in Ontario.

Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Halton Region

A waterfall, old mill ruins, and a peaceful reservoir all make for a fun day at Hilton Falls. The conservation area has three bike-only trails, including the 5-kilometre Bent Rim, which is described as a “rock garden” and suitable for advanced riders. If you’re looking for a leisurely pedal with the family, choose one of the mixed-use trails—the Red Oak trail around the reservoir is nice and quiet. Just make sure your bell is working and you keep your wits about you—you’ll be sharing this trail with other bikers, hikers, and horseback riders.

Cambridge/Paris/Brantford/Hamilton Rail Trail, Cambridge to Hamilton

Do a little, a lot, or all of this 77-kilometre trail network, which connects Cambridge to Hamilton through a network of four different rail trails. Cambridge to Paris takes you along the Grand River, boasting ruins and some spectacular views of the river. The SC Johnson Trail links Paris and Brantford, winding through farmland and rare prairie grasslands. Through Brantford, you’ll follow the Gordon Glaves Grand Valley River Loop to hook up with the Brantford-Hamilton rail trail, which will eventually take you through the Dundas Valley and into Hamilton. (Hint: If you go from Brantford to Hamilton, the last 20 per cent of the ride is downhill!)

Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines to Port Colborne

Smooth paths, 26,000-ton ships, and one big climb up the Niagara Escarpment are the hallmarks of this 45-kilometre trail along the Welland Canal. In Thorold, you’ll get to watch ships climb up or down the escarpment through a series of flight locks—the largest in the world! You can take a free ferry to explore the other side of the trail around the City of Welland, which then becomes a single trail again. Once you reach Port Colborne, relax and watch the ships at the Lock 8 dockside district.

Savanna Biking Trail, Grand Bend

Explore Pinery Provincial Park, which boasts the largest protected forest in southwestern Ontario, on this easy 14-kilometre loop that winds through woods and along a lightly-travelled road in the park. This trail is perfect for campers and cottage-goers who may not have packed their bikes—rentals are available across from the park store. And at the end of your ride? Check out Grand Bend’s glorious 50-kilometre Blue Flag beach and take in a famous Lake Huron sunset.

Hardwood Ski and Bike, Oro Station

Hardwood has pretty much everything for the very beginner to advanced mountain bikers: bike rentals, lessons and clinics, and a wide range of trails at many different difficulty levels. For those with a competitive edge, Hardwood also has a series of bike events throughout their summer season, culminating in their Halloween Hustle at the end of October.  

Caledon Trailway, Caledon

One of the first rail trails, the Caledon Trailway is a 39-kilometre multi-use trail from Palgrave to Terra Cotta. A peaceful ride through farmland, villages, wetlands, and forests, the trail also offers ample opportunities to stop, explore a small town or two, or read about the history of the area through a series of interpretive signs. If you’re travelling during its running season, the South Simcoe Railway in Tottenham is worth a stop to take a different kind of ride.  

Uxbridge to Lindsay to Peterborough, Kawarthas

Roughly 100 km, the rail trail from Uxbridge to Lindsay, and then from Lindsay to Peterborough has a little something for everyone: trestle bridges, an extensive stretch through peaceful wetlands, and, of course, close proximity to Kawartha Lakes Dairy stores. It’s worth taking a weekend to explore the whole stretch.

 Lynn Valley Trail, Norfolk County

This short, shady trail passes over several wooden footbridges on its 12-kilometre path connecting Port Dover and Simcoe. In Simcoe, you can choose to extend your ride by taking the Norfolk Sunrise Trail to Waterford or Delhi. In Port Dover, grab some Lake Erie perch or whitefish and watch the waves on the beach. Just don’t try this route on a Friday the 13th—Port Dover fills up with motorcyclists and traffic in the surrounding areas can be quite heavy.

Cataraqui Trail, Smith’s Falls to Strathcona

This 103-kilometre trail follows a CN Railway line, passing over a section of the Canadian Shield that links the Shield to the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Along with rock outcroppings, you’ll see farmland, wetlands, lakes and wooded areas and numerous types of wildlife, including turtles, herons, snakes and otters. While most of the surface of the trail is good, there can be rough sections. For that reason, it’s recommended that you use a hybrid or mountain bike to ride, rather than a road bike.

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