The Niagara River Recreation Trail

The Niagara River Recreation Trail takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. In August 1943, Sir Winston Churchill chose to rest here from the rigours of meetings with Prime Minister Mackenzie King, describing it as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world”.

Constructed in 1986 by The Niagara Parks Commission, the Niagara River Recreation Trail is a paved path for non-motorized traffic. It is approximately 53 kilometers (35 miles) along the Canadian side of the Niagara River. It runs from Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Town of Fort Erie. There are some breaks where the Trail passes through urban areas including the Village of Queenston and the City of Niagara Falls. The Trail is maintained by The Niagara Parks Commission, a provincial agency.

The Trail divides into four sections, each with its own history and sights. It takes about 1 to 2 hours to pedal leisurely each of these sections:

    1. Niagara-on-the-Lake to Queenston;
    2. Queenston to the Whirlpool Aero Car;
    3. Chippawa to Black Creek;
    4. Black Creek to Fort Erie.

There are distance markings every 500 metres along the length of the Trail. Note that trail users are cautioned that the Trail was not designed to accommodate small wheel devices such as roller blades, roller skates or skateboards. Portions of the Trail are shared with motorized vehicles and traverse public roadways and private driveways. Trail users must obey all traffic regulations and be careful, courteous and respectful of public and private property.

There is a huge list of all the trails on the Ontario Trails Council website (who even knew there was a trails Council?!) and when you click on a link for a particular trail you will see some information about that trail on the right sidebar – but I warn you that beyond that you will likely need to do some further searching on your own. However it is helpful to have the list of trails as a starting point.

 

Niagara Region Bicycling Map

The Region’s Bike Map (updated 2011) has details about multi-use trails, bike paths and information on all the back roads in the region. It is good for recreational, tourist or utilitarian bicyclists.

The map includes information on road conditions (paved vs. unpaved), bicycle facilities (bike lanes), traffic conditions and location of hills is presented. Click to download the pdf. There is additional information on the Niagara Region website.

Bicycle Map Niagara
Bicycle Map Niagara

 

Niagara Parks also makes this great map to help you plan your hiking or cycling outing. Click to download the pdf.

Niagara Trails
Niagara Trails

 

There is also something known as the Waterfront Trail which is a series of interconnected trails along the shores of Lake Ontario (on the Canadian side). The “ride” starts in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and can go as far as Brockville, Ontario, with an extension along Former Highway 2, to the Quebec provincial border. (note: through Toronto, the trail is called the Martin Goodman Trail).

The 2014 GWTA is a 5 day cycling holiday along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, with a twist! We’re calling it the lollipop route. The distance between the campsites each day will be 40-60 km, providing more freedom to explore the communities, shop, swim, taste the wines and local foods, learn about the history, and, well, simply take your time and enjoy the experience.

Day 1 | Monday, August 11th | Brighton to Picton | 65 km

Day 2 | Tuesday, August 12th | Picton to Kingston | 60 km

Day 3 | |Wednesday, August 13th | Kingston to Gananoque | 40 km

Day 4  |Thursday, August 14th |Gananoque to Iroquois | 90 km

Day 5 | Friday, August 15th | Finish in Cornwall | 76 km

For all the details visit the Waterfront Trail website.

 

Here is comprehensive list of parks in Niagara with links to Niagara Green Belt web site for more detailed information on individual parks.

Parks, Gardens and Conservation Areas

Waterfalls and Geology