With relatively flat agricultural land, picturesque lakefronts and meandering rivers, as well as quaint country towns, Southwest Ontario offers cyclists experiences of all kinds. Road riding in Southwest Ontario is second to none, with rural roads criss-crossing through farmlands with opportunities to stop at agri-tourism businesses, interesting heritage sites, artists' studios, and communities while cycling these quiet country roads and enjoying a spectacularly scenic landscape.
Cyclists looking for an urban cycling experience can explore the bike lanes in the cities of London or Sarnia or wind their way along the nearly 40km of off-road paved trails that hug the shores of the Thames River or the off-road paved trails along the St. Clair River in Lambton County.
With a growing collection of rail trails and Trans Canada Trails, as well as boasting multiple mountain biking facilities including Boler Mountain, The Pines and Wildwood Conservation Area, Southwest Ontario is also an attractive destination for downhill and cross-country trail riding.
The opening of the Lake Erie Waterfront Trail and Erie Coastal Stewardship Eco Trail in 2013 has linked the region to the existing Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail and offers cyclists a signed route with stops at the communities along the northern shore of Lake Erie.
Cross-Regional Cycle Routes & Trails Information
- Lake Erie Waterfront Trail – This fully-signed 620km cross regional route starts near Windsor in the west or Fort Erie in the east and follows the Lake Erie shoreline passing through lakeside communities primarliy on paved roads with some off road trail segments. Plans to extend the trail through Lambton County to Grand Bend are underway. The Lake Erie trail connects with the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail via the Niagara River Recreation Trail. Combined this large trail network spans 1400km from the Quebec border to the Windsor area. Detailed route maps are available at www.waterfronttrail.org
- Trans Canada Trail (TCT) – This cross-Canada trail system runs through south west Ontario connecting many communities and Counties. The TCT is a four-season, multi-use trail system with various surface types, on-road and off-road segments and is suitable for a variety of users. Visit Trans Canada Trail “Explore The Trail” for information www.tctrail.ca
Elgin County - Cycle Routes and Trail Information
- St. Thomas & Four Ports Tour - One of Ontario's Southwest's multi-day cycling itineraries, this four-day, 184 km journey, begins and ends in St. Thomas and takes riders along quiet rural roads and a waterfront trail, down Lake Erie’s northern shoreline and through communities with rich maritime heritage and vast agricultural lands. Downloadable pdf itinerary, GPS routing and more information.
- Amish Country Tour - This 37km route is featured on the Elgin County Cycling and Hiking Map. Enjoy the sights of farming and industry of the Amish community.
- Sparta Wine Tour - A 35km route featuring stops at Quai du Vin Estate Winery, the Historic Village of Sparta, Rush Creek Wines & Gay Lea Dairy Heritage Museum.
- Aylmer Kinsmen Trail - This 11km trail passes through the town of Aylmer and heads south towards the Springwater Conservation Area. It is now part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and connects the Elgin TCT and the Brouers Line TCT.
- Autumn Colour Circle Tours in Bayham - Six Self-guided circle routes that allow cyclists to take in attractions and the natural surroundings of southern Elgin County. Routes travel along county roads and cyclists should be aware of traffic and some slightly busier roads.
- Dutton Cycling Route - This short recreational loop offers cyclists a safe route to view some of the historical and heritage buildings and attractio ns through the Dutton/Dunwich area.
- Port Burwell – Vienna Cycling Route - This 18km loop starts at, and loops back to the Port Burwell Provincial Park. Visitor attractions are identified on the map, including historical lighthouses, museums, and more.
- Historic Port Stanley Route - Cyclist can explore this 2.5km historic ride through the heart of Port Stanley, taking in historic sites, heritage properties and the shoreline of Lake Erie.
- West Elgin Cycling Route - Cyclists explore the western portions of Elgin County, as well as portions of Lake Erie's shoreline. This route includes historical villages and other points of interest.
Elgin County - Published Maps and Tools
Sarnia and Lambton County - Cycle Routes and Trail Information
- Looping through Lambton - An Ontario's Southwest's multi-day cycling itinerary, this 166 km (or 262 km with optional route extension to Grand Bend) three or four-day ride begins and ends in Sarnia taking riders on a scenic cycle along the St. Clair and Sydenham Rivers before cutting through the hinterlands of Lambton County towards the shores of Lake Huron.
- Arkona Colour Tour - Two legacy routes (30 and 60km loops) offer on-road challenging hill climbs throughout the Arkona area.
- Sarnia Signed Bike Routes – A total of 15km of signed bike routes exists within the city of Sarnia. Routes connect downtown Sarnia to other access points and safer options for cycling in the city.
- 4 Ferry Ride (International Route) – A 151km roundtrip route starting in Sarnia, following the St. Clair River Trail and Parkway to Lake St. Clair. Shorter routes available. Bring passport to cross international border to Michigan (by ferry).
- Bluewater Trail System – Paved, multi-use path along Sarnia's waterfront; from downtown Sarnia to Sarnia Bay. Also a network of on-road and off-road multi-use trails that link Howard Watson Nature Trail, the Waterfront Walkway and Canatara Park Trails.
- Howard Watson Nature Trail - A 16km, multi-use trail that runs through Sarnia before continuing east to the town of Camlachie. Access to Lake Huron at Telfer Side Road. The trail is gravel and compacted soil, suitable for hybrid/mountain bikes.
- Grand Bend Rotary Nature Trail – A 9km, off-road, multi-use trail (paved asphalt) connects the community of Grand Bend with Pinery Provincial Park along the Highway 21 corridor. This trail is suitable for all bikes.
- Savanna Bike Trail – 14km in length, the trail is entirely located in Pinery Provincial Park. The relatively flat paved asphalt surface is ideal for all bicycles and riders of all skill levels.
- St. Clair River Trail – This 35km trail mixes on-road (paved shoulders) and off-road facilities (paved asphalt), stretching from Port Lambton north along St. Clair River to LaSalle Line north of Corunna.
- AW Campbell Conservation Area - Approximately 300 acres with over 8 km of trails available to cyclists and has 140 campsites, 2 washrooms (seasonal), laundry facilities and 20-acre reservoir open for canoeing.
- Marthaville Habitat Management Area – Located close to Petrolia, the trail is compact soil and offers multiple loops totalling 5km. The trails are multi-use; cyclists should be cautious of other users.
Sarnia and Lambton County - Published Maps and Tools
- Bluewater Trails Bike Map - Downloadable PDF map includes off-road pathways and trails, as well as on-road routes throughout Sarnia and the surrounding Village of Point Edward.
- Lambton County Regional Trails - Search from over 40 trails listed under 'cycling'. Search trails by name or by trail usage. Covering Lambton County and connecting communities. A Lambton County PDF map also available for download.
- Trees of Distinction Bicycle Tour - A 21km, self-guided tour of Sarnia mixes both on-road, as well as off-road multi-use paths. Starting at City Hall, cyclists can expect to spend 2 ½ hours riding this tour.
City of London - Cycle Routes, Trail Information and Facilities
- City of London – The city has over 300kms of bike paths and bike lanes, as well as signed bike routes located throughout the city. There area a variety of online resources to help with planning a cycling trip in London.
- Downtown Bike Loop – Approximately 3km, this city loop includes on-road bike lanes, shared roads and off-road multi-use trails and is a great way to explore downtown London.
- Thames River Parkway – Over 40km of paved, off-road multi-use path lies alongside the Thames River throughout the city of London and links to other bike paths and bike lanes within the city.
- Kilally Meadows - This area has 11km of trails along the north shore of the Thames River and a multi-use path along the southern shore. Bicycles are permitted only on the asphalt or crushed gravel paths.
- Forest City Velodrome – One of only a few indoor velodromes in North America, the Forest City Velodrome is located in the south end of London and offers 138-metre indoor cycling track facilities.
City of London - Published Maps and Tools
- London Bike and Walk Map - Over 300kms of bike paths and lanes in the City of London. For more information and to request a print version of the map, email firstname.lastname@example.org for map.
- CityMap – CityMap is an interactive online tool that helps users find listed cycling routes and trails, as well as places of interest, addresses and street names.
Middlesex County - Cycle Routes and Trail Information
- Ilderton Rail Trail - The Ilderton Rail Trail was once a part of an active rail line that ran from London to Goderich. This 3.1km trail offers both granular and natural dirt trail surfaces. Start at Junction Park in Ilderton.
- St. Clair Conservation Authority Trails – Both the Strathroy Conservation Area and the Clark Right Conservation Area offer mixed use trail systems and are located within or close to the town of Strathroy.
Middlesex County and City of London - Published Maps and Tools
- Middlesex County Trails Guide. Online Guide. This trails guide information on off-road trails, including details on parks and rail trails open to hikers, cyclists, and other recreational users.
- Strathroy Visitor and Adventure Guides. Online PDF Maps. Developed in partnership with the Strathroy Business Improvement Area, the Rotary Club, and St. Clair Conservation Authority, these visitor guides offers details on parks and trails within the downtown. See 'Maps' under 'Visiting'.
Oxford County - Cycle Routes and Trail Information
- Oxford Century Ride – Challenge yourself on the ultimate milestone ride and this 100 mile (156km) tour across Oxford County. This route is ideal for goal setters and those training for longer distances.
- Tillsonburg Airport Run – This 31km route is an easy to moderate ride for recreational cyclists. Use both trail and quiet roads to explore the beauty of southern Oxford County. The route offers a great opportunity to explore Oxford County with fantastic food stops along the way, as well as the Tillsonburg Airport with it's WWII historic aircrafts.
- Drumbo Innerkip Plattsville - This 67km route is a real tour, highlighting the small quaint communities and scenic roads that represent Oxford County so well. This route is on paved roads with mulitple options to either shorten or increase the route length.
- Additional Road Routes - There are 11 routes mapped around the County, using quiet country scenic roads, connecting communities and varying in length from 16km to 156km.
- Hickson Trail – This 5.5km rail line from Woodstock to Hickson is now used by cyclists, walkers, and birdwatchers. This trail brings cyclists from Pittock Park Rd., north to Braemar Side Rd. Parking available on Fredrick Street.
- Husky Trail – Located in the Pittock Conservation Area this is a 5km trail system that also has picnic and overnight camping facilities on the north side of Pittock Lake. The park is open from late April to Thanksgiving weekend in October. There is an admission fee. The path consists of both paved surfaces with secondary trails comprising of hard packed dirt.
- Ingersoll Trails – The Thomas Ingersoll Scenic Trail and John Lawson Park and Trail range in lengths of 2 to 3km and offer cyclists great off-road options in Ingersoll.
- The Millennium Trail – This trail system includes both road and pathway riding and offers 6km of trails that follow the banks of the Thames River, through mixed hardwood and softwood forests. Though all of the trails are not connected at this time, they are in close proximity to each other.
- Roth Park Trail - The trail is located on the south side of Pittock Lake and is approximately 7km long. The main trail is wide with hard packed dirt and granular surface. Side trails link back to the main trail.
Oxford County Published Maps and Tools
Regional Mountain Biking and BMX Trail Systems
- Boler Mountain (London) – Located southwest out of the city of London, Boler Mountain has 120 acres of property, which offers great cross country terrain. With both Beginner loop and advanced loops, there is terrain for all types of riders.
- Fanshawe Lake Trail (London) – This 20km loop trail is open to cyclists from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Helmets are mandatory and a round trip takes approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Westminster Ponds Trails (London) Approximately 11km of single and double track, as well as paved multi-use paths located in the heart of London. Cyclists need to respect the trail and other users.
- Komoka Provincial Park (Middlesex) - Owned and managed by Ontario Parks, there are over 11km trails for recreational users, but only 7 km have been specifically designated as terrain for mixed use, including mountain biking and equestrian riders.
- The Pines (Oxford) - These biking trails are open to Woodstock Cycling Club members only (membership is open to all for a fee), who construct and maintain the trails. With a total 3 sets of trails; Green (Family), Red (Intermediate), Black (Technical). Helmets are mandatory.
- Wildwood Conservation Area Trails (Oxford) - Wildwood's four hiking and biking trails range in length from 1.2km to the 24km lake trail. All trails are multi-purpose and can be used by both hikers and cyclists, by permit only.
- Lambton County Heritage Trails (Lambton) – Located less than 20km southwest of Grand Bend, this system offers trails of 3km, 5km & 6km in length. All trails are accessible from the Port Franks Community Centre.
- Canatara Park BMX Park (Lambton) - The Seaway Kiwanis BMX Track is located south of the Animal Farm in Canatara Park, Sarnia. The BMX track runs seasonally from April to October, weather permitting.
Other Southwest Ontario Cycling Destinations
Consider extending your cycling holiday by visiting some of these great cycling destinations also located in Southwest Ontario:
- Haldimand & Norfolk Counties - Haldimand and Norfolk Counties offer cyclists appealing on-road cycling routes and off-road trails, whether along the north shore of Lake Erie, following the Grand River or through agricultural communities.
- Windsor, Essex & Pelee Island - Surrounded on three sides by water, the warm humid weather is perfect for a long cycling season and Essex County has fantastic cycling destination in Ontario. Pelee Island is a popular tourist destination and its quiet back-country roads and excellent sightseeing are perfect for the recreational cyclist.
* Please note there are may be additional trails, routes, events and information resources for the region that may be of interest and useful to cyclists. Changes to the above links, listings and cycling routes may occur.
Southwest Ontario's Funding Partners:
Event Partners:Ontario's Soutwest, Railway City Tourism, Tourism Oxford, Elgin County, Tourism Middlesex, Tourism London, City of London, Tourism Sarnia Lambton