Most regions have their marquee trails—the ones you see on every tourism site, every biking pamphlet you pick up. Quite often they’re popular for a reason, but what’s a cyclist to do once you’ve ridden those routes, or when you’re looking to get off the beaten track? Having featured some of Kawarthas Northumberland’s best-known routes in previous posts, we thought we’d take a moment to reveal some of the area’s hidden gems.
Kawarthas Northumberland’s Trent-Severn Trail Towns may be familiar to cyclists already as pit stops to grab a bite and supplies, or as jumping off points for a ride. If you’ve got the time and you’re feeling ambitious though, bikepacking between several on a multi-day excursion gives you a chance to really get to know the region.
Tswtrailtowns.ca suggests two possible biking routes. The shorter of the two begins in Campbellford and ends in Fenelon Falls, though as a point-to-point ride you could easily create bespoke routes based around the communities that appeal most to you. The longer of the two options adds two additional Trail Towns, and turns the first route into a complete loop—though at around 280km, you’ll want to book an overnight or two along the way.
Since the towns are connected by the historic Waterway, your route will include tranquil waterside sections, charming small communities, and a mix of pastoral and woodland landscapes. You’ll often be travelling on low-traffic roads, so expect to encounter unpaved hardpack. Digital route maps are available, but be sure to plan ahead because there’s no physical signage along the way.
Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Peterborough & the Kawarthas is fortunate to have the cycling fanatics at Wild Rock Outfitters constantly exploring and mapping new trails. Finding hidden gems is a big part of their M.O.— In their words, “The challenge we put to local riders is to explore beyond habitual rides; to ride some of the quiet, rarely visited roads that make our region special.”
One of the lesser-known options suggested by Wild Rock is the Southern Gravel & Hope Mill loop. It’s a charming, manageable 41km ride that begins on the Trans Canada Trail before transitioning to farm roads. The highlight is a perfectly paced mid-point stop at Hope Mill, a fully restored and operational 19th century lumber mill close to Lang Pioneer Village (lead photo). If you’ve got the time, a visit to this unique living history museum will enrich your appreciation of the area further.
If you’re looking for something a little longer or shorter, peruse the rest of Wild Rock’s route listings, which are packed with more hidden gems.
The Glorious Ganaraska and Rice Lake Ramble tend to lead the charge when talking about Northumberland County’s bike routes—but don’t pass up a chance to ride the Shelter Valley Cycling Route. As the name suggests, you’ll encounter serene natural landscapes along the way. You’re also never far from the cooling breezes off Lake Ontario, and since you the route begins and ends in Cobourg, you’ll have access to plenty of amenities and dining options as well.
For mountain bikers, Goodrich Loomis Conservation Area is another gem. As a free alternative to the popular Ganaraska Forest, the six intermediate trails here are an excellent way to switch things up.
Most Kawartha Lakes cycling posts make mention of the Victoria Rail Trail from Lindsay to Fenelon Falls, but venture a little further north and you’ll be in range of the Carden Ramble. Named after Carden Alvar, a globally rare form of habitat that supports diverse birdlife, this route will appeal especially to naturalists. Because alvars are created by shallow soil and a limestone bed, the route is often flat. Take a closer look, however, and the subtle, hardy life uniquely adapted to live here will wow you. You’ll also get a taste of human ingenuity as you pass Kirkfield’s impressive lift lock.
Mountain bikers looking for a hidden gem, on the other hand, would do well to consider Somerville Tract. With approximately 8.5km of track passing terrain that varies from pine plantation to wetland, it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the Kinmount area, although be aware some areas intersect with ATV use.
Plan a Ride in Kawarthas Northumberland
Visit www.kawarthasnorthumberland.ca for more information on cycling and other outdoor activities in the region.
Sponsored Content Partner: Kawarthas Northumberland
All photos courtesy of Kawarthas Northumberland