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Prescott & Russell: Eastern Ontario’s Next Great Rail Trail

Rail trail riding fans unite, and make plans to head to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell in Eastern Ontario to ride the 72km Recreational Trail that stretches across the countryside, south of Ottawa to near the Quebec border.

With the significant recent trail and amenity improvements, boost the Prescott & Russell Recreational Trail to top of the list for your next rail trail adventure. Newly designated as a part of the Trans Canada Trail, you can easily choose a distance that best suits your ride style, shorter or longer, for a spin on this well-maintained unpaved rail trail.

The addition of upgraded parking at eight locations as well as six sheltered pavilions with washrooms, plus e-bike rentals at three community locations, makes this flat multi-use trail easily accessible to all. Explore the quiet surrounding rural farmlands, with ample mapped road routes, and visit the unique villages and small town businesses that make this destination all the more appealing for a visit extending beyond a single day.

Cycling Itinerary

Making it easy to plan a ride is a new suggested cycling itinerary featuring the trail on a 54km out-and-back ride that will take you along a segment highlighting the scenery and to a number of welcoming communities. There are plenty of options to shorten the ride distance to any length desired. (Download in English or French.)

Vankleek Hill

Known as the Gingerbread Capital of Ontario for its Victorian inspired architecture and houses, this pretty village is also home to popular Beau’s Brewery. Their award-winning bicycle friendly location that has hosted many cycling events in the past, is a welcome beacon for thirsty riders who can relax and rehydrate on their large patio. Rent an e-bike at the brewery and hit the trail close by.

Additional info to explore Vankleek Hill

Plantagenet

The pretty riverside setting of Plantagenet makes the village ideal for a rest stop, coffee, gelato or more overlooking the South Nation River (a tributary of nearby Ottawa River). Ideally located, stop at Café sur la rive, frequented by local and visiting cyclists. Rent an e-bike at the cafe and hit the trail close by.

Additional info to explore Plantagenet

Bourget

Ride as far as Bourget on the suggested itinerary and return on the trail or loop back on quiet roads through the surrounding countryside on one of the many mapped cycling routes in the area. The trail does extend beyond the town, and an additional 32km to the outskirts of Ottawa at Anderson Road, where it is possible to ride to downtown connecting via bike lanes and paved shoulders to hydro trails and the Ottawa River Pathway. Rent an e-bike at Mike Dean’s Local Grocer and hit the trail close by.

Additional info to explore Bourget

More reasons to ride and visit Prescott and Russell

  • There are over 200km of paved shoulders on quiet countryside roads, with over 29 cycling routes mapped. Try the:
  • Cycle by and admire the series of Popsilos. Unique to the area, find seven giant mural artworks painted on farm silos, and plan a cycling route that will include these colourful additions to the farmland scenery.
  • Prescott and Russell is just across the Ottawa River from Quebec. Find a bridge crossing in Hawkesberry, and two small ferry crossings nearby. With the close proximity to Quebec, it’s no surprise that this Francophone region is fully bilingual.
  • Need help with your bicycle while visiting? Go to full-service bike store: VeloExpress in Embrun; additional service and parts available at Sport Experts, in Hawkesberry.

For Additional Information

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Photos Credits: 1 & 2 & 5 by Prescott & Russell Recreational Trail; 3 & 4 by Nicolas Seguin; 6 by United Counties of Prescott and Russell

South Eastern Ontario
Published On: January 31, 2024Categories: News

About the Author: Ontario By Bike