Beaver Valley. Photo Credit: Martin Lortz/Visit Grey
Grey County offers cyclists a chance to experience spectacular views and scenery combined with a variety of communities, small towns, and unique businesses well acquainted with welcoming visitors of all types, including those on bike. Enjoy a peaceful ride through flat waterfront trails along Georgian Bay or challenge your legs with off-road trails or steep roads up the Niagara Escarpment.
For a jaunt through the past, follow the Tom Thomson trail or the Underground Railroad route. With numerous trails, road routes, and mountain biking in the area as well as in neighbouring Bruce and Simcoe Counties, Grey County is a cycling hub.
Bicyclists and cars share the road. Considered to be vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as motorists. Be visible, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road.
Blue Mountain Gran Fondo – This 113km long challenging route zig zags through rolling hills and farmland, climbs and descends the escarpment and rewards with vistas over Georgian Bay.
Pedal and Paddle – Starting at the top of the Escarpment at Blue Mountain, this 28km route is reminiscent of a roller coaster, cruising downhill through agricultural lands, mature apple orchards and forests.
Hanover and Neustadt Loop – At 27km, this is a perfect introduction to the idea of exploring the area by bike. The loop takes you on both paved and gravel roads, through two quaint Grey County towns and to two breweries.
Around Owen Sound Route – This 58km route steps up the challenge for your legs and taste buds with the promise of wine, cider and beer. More distance, more paved road, more gravel road, a bit of recreational trail and even some rail trail and of course more stops.
Beaver Valley Route – 47km route – beautiful views of the Beaver Valley, some challenging climbs, stretches of rail trail, plus stops at wineries and cideries.
The routes below are from Cycle Simoe ‘South Georgian Bay Cycling Map’ and are listed in order of distance and difficulty. See the Published Maps section for more information.
Lake Eugenia Loop – This advanced 90km (111 km with alternate routing) ride is suitable for experienced cyclists looking to test their fitness. With epic climbs that bring riders through the outskirts of Collingwood and Thornbury, as well as Rob Roy, Feversham, Eugenia, Kimberley.
Badjeros Loop – The 74km Badjeros Loop offers rolling climbs, a great view over Georgian Bay and then a steep drop into Creemore with cafes, restaurants and galleries
Thornbury Sticky Bun Loop – This moderate 15 km ride includes glimpses of Beaver River through Thornbury into Clarksburg and back into Thornbury.
Underground Railroad Route – Follow the route that escaped slaves used to travel to Owen Sound from the United States. Bike route maps paint a picture of what the journey was like for escaped slaves in the 1800s.
Georgian Trail – This classic and well maintained rail trail is an easy 34 km ride on stone dust between Collingwood and Meaford, where it connects to the Tom Thomson Trail. The path follows the original Northern Railway route along the southern shore of Georgian Bay.
Tom Thomson – The 44 km well-marked and non-motorized trail includes on- and off-road sections. Connecting Owen Sound and Meaford,the path passes by the famous Group of Seven artist’s boyhood home at Rosehill farm and grave. A mountain or hybrid bike is recommended.
Georgian Bluffs Trail – This 16 km stone dust rail trail is rated easy and accommodates all types of bikes. Traveling from Owen Sound to Parkhead, the climb provides views of Georgian Bay and farmland. Motorized use is allowed.
Grey County CP Rail Trail– This 77 km rail trail travels between Owen Sound and Dundalk. The trail surface is stone dusted from Owen Sound to Berkeley (37km) and then turns to coarse gravel from Berkeley to Dundalk (40km). The portion from Berkeley to Dundalk is a rougher trail and allows for ATV use, and is best be suited to mountain and gravel bikes only.
Blue Mountain – 2021 update: Open status and trail access to bike park is changing, check directly via website link. Ontario’s largest bike park has terrain for all levels of rider with 30 km of downhill and 10 km of cross-country trails.
Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Trails – Mountain biking is permitted on some cross country ski trails during summer months. Moderate and more difficult trails are shared with hikers and horseback riders. Visit Ravenna Country Market for a trail map and their infamous butter tarts.
Allan Park – The moderate to difficult park features 16 km of trails including trail system caters to a variety of users including hikers and equestrians. The park features technical single track and descents.
Camp Oliver – 3 km of gravel loops through forests and wetland are rated easy to more difficult the property is also connected to Grey Main, offering more trails.
Grey Main – This forest property is an extensive natural forest featuring about 6 km of groomed trails suited for biking, hiking and cross country skiing.
Derby Tract – Known locally as West Rocks, The multi-use trail system features 4 km of loops that wind through forest and wildflowers on the Niagara Escarpment with easy, more difficult and very difficult sections.
Glenelg Klondyke – Wide trails traverse 10 km of moderate difficulty level with scenic views. 7 km suitable for mountain biking as trails have become eroded due to ATV usage.
Hepworth Management Area – These sawmill trails provide easy 10 km of loops of single track and wide track trails over moderate to steep rolling hills.
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail – Stretching over 3600km, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a route connecting over 140 communities and First Nations along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes: Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Erie, Detroit River and Lake St Clair, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and the North Channel. The fully signed Trail uses the safest infrastructure possible, a mix of both on-road and off-road facilities, and is primarily paved, with sections of unpaved path and gravel roads. It can be enjoyed for as part of a day trip or on a multi-day long distance cycling adventure.
In 2018, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail was extended from Grand Bend, through Bruce County, across Manitoulin Island to Espanola and from Tobermory east to Collingwood. The Lake Huron North Channel route from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury opened in 2018. Both segments form part of the proposed Georgian Bay Cycling Route.
Grey County Cycling Routes. 2020. Map. Grey County Tourism. This map, new in 2018 details 16 of the most popular and commonly used cycling routes in Grey County, with options for easy to difficult rides between 20 and 160 km. Trail riding and mountian bike information also available.
South Georgian Bay Cycling Map. The map has been updated in 2019 and shows 3 routes that share parts of Grey and Simcoe County as well as additional ride routes in Simcoe County.
Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. This historical trail retraces the path escaped slaves travelled between Owen Sound and Mobile, Alabama. An alternate route through Detroit was recently added to this 3,200 km route. Map Section 5 includes Owen Sound and the Grey Highlands.
Ontario has more than 130,000km of unpaved roads – so where do you want to groad? Yes, groadies. Groadies are roadies who love dirt. And mountain bikers who love gravel too. However you define your ride, cyclists have pedalled over every surface imaginable for years. So make some plans to hit the groad! Check out this mix of terrain and routes that will give you a taste of Ontario's unpaved fun. It's just the tip of the gravel iceberg!
Planning a cycling adventure in Ontario is challenging in the best possible way. There are so many options to choose from – touring routes, bike packing adventures, mountain bike trails, gravel loops – so much to explore, so little time. The impressive Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is one route worthy of any cyclist's bucket list.
Over the last few years, bikepacking has become increasingly popular. It allows for some epic cycle touring and while it can take many forms, it often gets riders out on a more challenging experience exploring exciting areas off the beaten track. With its diverse landscapes and large network of old railway lines, trails and gravel roads, Ontario is an ideal location for a bikepacking adventure.
For more information on accommodation, attractions and activities within Grey County visit Grey County Tourism.