RAIL TRAILS FOR WALKING
In the last twenty years increasing numbers of railway tracks have been abandoned across Canada and adapted into multi-use trails. The rail-trails tend to be flat and straight, which does not appeal to every hiker. Nonetheless, once vegetation is established they become attractive and provide pleasant easy walking, often through otherwise difficult country with opportunities for viewing wetland and wilderness species. Additional information on Ontario rail-trails may be found at the website of Kenneth Brown, http://webhome.idirect.com/~brown We would like to thank Mr. Brown for his information which was most helpful in updating this Fact Sheet.
CAUTION: Be aware that other users, such as bicycles, cross-country skiers, and occasionally snowmobiles or ATVs, may be sharing the rail trail with you.
1. BEAVER RIVER WETLAND TRAILThis 17 km trail follows the original railbed between Blackwater and Cannington. It is popular for horseback riding, cycling, skiing and walking. No motorized vehicles are allowed except snowmobiles. Access and parking on shoulder of Hwy 7/12 at Blackwater and Durham Road 12 east of Cannington. The trail may also be accessed in Sunderland, at the corner of Hwy 7/12 and the 6th Concession. Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, 120 Bayview Parkway, Box 282, Newmarket L3Y 4X1 (905) 895-1281.
2. CALEDON TRAILWAYThe Caledon Trailway is 35 km in length, running from Terra Cotta to Hwy 9 east of Palgrave. The trail follows the route of the Hamilton and Northern Railway, built in the 1870s. It is a multi-use trail, except for motorized vehicles. The Bruce Trail follows part of the trail and the western end of the Oak Ridges Trail contacts the trail. This trail is also used for the Trans Canada Trail and the first TCT pavilion was built on the trail in Caledon East. Access and parking are available in Terra Cotta, Cheltenham, Inglewood, Caledon East and Palgrave. Maps are available at the Caledon Town Office. As well, map boards are now being placed along the trail.
Parks Service, Town of Caledon, P.O. Box 1000, 6311 Old Church Road, Caledon East ON L0N 1E0 905-584-2272 or 1-800-303-2546.
3. CAMBRIDGE to PARIS RAIL TRAILThis 18.7 km trail along the original packed gravel railbed follows the Grand River between Paris and Cambridge. Access and parking are found on Hwy 24 just south of Cambridge, at Glen Morris on Hwy 14 and at the Paris end beside East River Road (County Road 14).
Grand Valley Conservation Authority, 400 Clyde Road, Box 729, Cambridge N1R 5W6 (519) 621-2761
4. CHRYSLER CANADA GREENWAYFrom Oldcastle to Ruthven, this 42 km trail follows the original railbed of the Lake Erie, Essex Detroit River Railway. The Greenway forms part of the Trans Canada Trail network. Permitted uses are hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and, in some areas, horse back riding. Access is available at Oldcastle, Harrow, and Kingsville (at train station).
Essex Region Conservation Authority, 360 Fairview Ave West, Essex N8M 1Y6 (519) 776-5209, 1-888-487-4760, www.erca.org
5. ELORA CATARACT TRAILWAYThe Elora Cataract Trailway runs 47 km from Elora to Cataract, passing around the edge of Bellwood Lake and through the Hills of Erin to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. It is owned by the Credit Valley and Grand River Conservation Authorities and managed by them in cooperation with the Elora Cataract Trailway Association. Maps are available. Access in Elora on Gerrie Road, between County Road 18 and Colborne Street, and also in Belwood Lake Conservation Area. Elora Cataract Trailway Association, 41 Mathieson St., Elora ON N0B 1S0, www.trailway.org Grand River Conservation Authority (519)621-2761, www.grandriver.on.ca Credit Valley Conservation Authority (905)670-1615.
6. GEORGIAN TRAILThe Georgian Trail runs for 35 km from Collingwood to Meaford, between the Blue Mountain slopes and the shore of Georgian Bay. The trail prohibits motorized vehicles or horses. Collingwood access is on Birch Street, at the harbour. In Thornbury there is a small lot at the Beaver River. In Meaford, parking for the trail may be found in the harbour. Brochures are available through the Collingwood Parks and Recreation Department (705) 444-2500.
7. GODERICH-AUBURN RAIL TRAILThis is a 12 km multi-use trail along the original railbed, surfaced with limestone screenings, running between Goderich and Auburn. The only motorized vehicles permitted are snowmobiles. It provides a link to the Maitland and Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trails. Access is from the Menesetung Bridge in Goderich (take Harbor Road off Hwy 21).
Maitland Trail Association, Box 443, Goderich N7A 4C7, www.maitlandtrail.cjb.net County of Huron (519)524-2188, www.hurontourism.on.ca Other rail trails in the area are the Tiger Dunlop Trail and the Blyth Brook Community Greenway Trail.
8. HALIBURTON RAIL TRAIL and VICTORIA RECREATION TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR (VRTC)These lines are listed together because they are contiguous sections of the same original railway. The Haliburton Rail Trail has approximately 25 km of trail running south from Haliburton to Kinmount. Motorized vehicles are prohibited in summer. The VRTC runs 55 km from Kinmount to Lindsay, passing through the Victoria County Forest Tract (where there are side trails for hiking and crosscountry skiing) as well as Fenelon Falls, Cameron Lake, Sturgeon Lake and the Ken Reid Conservation Area. In Lindsay, access from Victoria Street, or use road crossings outside of town and park where permitted.
Haliburton Chamber of Commerce (705) 286-1760 or 1-800-461-7677 and Victoria County Tourism, 26 Francis St, Box 9000, Lindsay K9V 5R8 (705) 324-9411 ext 233.
9. HAMILTON-JERSEYVILLE-BRANTFORD RAIL TRAILThe original section between West Hamilton and Jerseyville, along the Dundas Valley, has been extended west to Brantford, providing about 32 km of trail. The trail is shared use, except no motorized vehicles are allowed and horseback riding is allowed only in rural areas. Access at West Hamilton: exit Highway 403 at Main Street West, follow Main Street westerly, turn left (south) on Ewan Road. Watch for a sign directing you to parking. Parking is also possible at some crossroads.
Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, 838 Mineral Springs Road, PO Box 7099, Ancaster L9G 3L3 (905) 525-2181 (Hamilton-Jerseyville section) or Grand River Conservation Authority, 400 Clyde Road, PO Box 400, Cambridge N1R 5W6 (519) 621-2761 (Jerseyville-Brantford section).
10. HASTINGS HERITAGE TRAILAt 156 kilometres this trail, from Glen Ross to Lake St Peter, is one of the longest rail trails in the province and, passing through unspoilt forest, also one of the most attractive.
Contact the Central Ontario Loop Trail (905) 753-1005, www.looptrail.com, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. HICKSON TRAILThis 12 km trail follows the original railbed between Woodstock and Hickson. No motorized vehicles are allowed.
Woodstock Field Naturalists, PO Box 20037, RPO Woodstock Centre, Woodstock, ON N4S 8X8.
12. HOWARD WATSON TRAILThe Howard Watson Trail runs from Sarnia to the Town of Camlachie. It is a multi-use, non-motorised trail, 16 km in length, 10 km in the country and 6 km through urban areas. Horses are only allowed on the rural section of the trail. Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce, 224 North Vidal Street, Sarnia, ON N7T 5Y3.
13. K & P RAIL TRAILThe K & P Trail follows the K & P railway line which connected Kingston and Pembroke, and commonly known as the Kick and Push. It is a 40 km all-season trail, roughly half-way between Sharbot Lake and Renfrew. There are numerous lakes, wetlands and scenic locations along the trail, as it passes through crown and private land. The trail provides an access route to crown land for further exploring. Access: Hwy 509 north from Hwy 7 to the community of Snow Road Station, then north 3 km and watch carefully for a sign. The trail is on the right and parking is possible.
14. LYNN VALLEY TRAILThe Lynn Valley rail trail is 8 km in length and runs from Port Dover to Simcoe, following the Lynn River. There are four trestle bridges along the trail for pedestrian and cycle use. The trail does not permit motorized vehicles. In Port Dover take Main Street north to Queen St. and turn right, to trail parking lot. In Simcoe access from Memorial Park, taking Woodhouse and Owen streets from Hwy 24.
Lynn Valley Trail Association, Box 993, Simcoe ON N3Y 5B3 (519)428-3292
15. NORTH SIMCOE RAIL TRAILThis trail follows the original railway line built in 1879 between Penetanguishene Harbour and Colwell, near Barrie. Approximately 14 km has been developed as a multi-use recreational trail between the Essa Transformer Station near Hwy 90 and Anten Mills on Horseshoe Valley Road. About one third of the trail runs adjacent to or through the Minesing Swamp, one of Ontario's largest remaining wetlands, rich in wildlife. Future plans include linking up with other rail trails in Simcoe County.
North Simcoe Railtrail Inc., PO Box 272, Midhurst L0L 1X0 (705) 728- 9621.
16. SAUGEEN RAIL TRAILThis 6 km trail from Port Elgin to Southampton was originally the Wellington Grey Bruce Railway built in the late 1860's and early 1870's. The Rail Trail officially opened in July 1995. Access in Port Elgin is from River Street, two blocks east of Highway 21. Travelling north the vegetation is typical of the Great Lakes Hardwood region with abundant wildlife. At Southampton hikers have the option of looping back along the scenic lakeshore road to Port Elgin. Saugeen Railtrail Assoc., Box 2313, Port Elgin N0H 2C0 (519) 832-6443 or (519) 832-9193.
17. SEGUIN TRAILThe Seguin Trail has 75 km of trail complete, from Hwy 11 north of Huntsville, near the village of Emsdale, to Hwy 69 south of Parry Sound, near Oastler Lake Provincial Park. The Seguin Trail is multi-use (in some places it serves as a cottage road) and there are some campsites along it. Maps are available. Seguin Trail Co-ordinator, Ministry of Natural Resources, 7 Bay St., Parry Sound ON P2A 1S4 (705) 746-4201
Park-to-Park Trail, c/o Parry Sound Area Community Business & Development Centre, 1 Church St., Parry Sound, ON P2A 1Y2, 1-888-746-4455, www.parktoparktrail.com.
18. SUTTON-ZEPHYR RAIL TRAILThis 14 km trail follows the original railbed between the York County Forest, East Gwillimbury (north of Mount Albert) and Sutton. Entrance and parking 1.4 km east of Hwy 48 on Holburn Road, 6 km north of Mount Albert. In Sutton, take High Street from Hwy 48, through town to lights at Dalton Rd. Turn left, Dalton becomes Catering Road and follow around bend in road to trail. Parking is available adjacent to school. This trail is popular with walkers and mountain bikers. No motorized vehicles are allowed except snowmobiles.
Ministry of Natural Resources, Aurora District, 50 Bloomington Road West, Aurora L4G 3G8 (905) 713-7397.
19. UHTHOFF TRAILThe Uhthoff Trail is 10 km long, surfaced with crushed limestone, and runs from the waterfront of Orillia to the North River. A further two kilometers of poorer quality trail will take you to the Uhthoff Quarry, but the trail disappears at this point. This is a multi-use non-motorised trail, with snowmobile use on one section. The trail passes through fields, woodlands and wetlands and is excellent for birdwatching. A brochure is available.
Orillia Naturalists' Club, P.O. Box 2381, Orillia ON L3V 6V7
20. UPPER CANADA (NIAGARA) HERITAGE TRAILThis is a 10.6 km trail running along the original railbed between Regional Road 81 and Land River, near Thorold, with access for the physically challenged from Thorold Road to Woodland Road (2.4 km). No motorized vehicles are allowed. Niagara Region Planning Dept., 2201 St.David's Road, P.O.Box 1042, Thorold L2V 4T7 (905) 685-1571.