About 2 hours east of Toronto, nestled in the northeastern corner of Northumberland County, is the community of Campbellford. Not to be mistaken with Campbellville or Campbellcroft; Campbellford is perched upon the Trent Severn Waterway on the northern boundaries of the county. The rural setting and scenic countryside, make this area a perfect spot to get out on the quiet paved roads and clock some kilometres on a bike.
Northumberland Tourism has 5 signed cycling routes, one of which is the Trent River Truckin’, a 63km looped road route starting out of the artisan village of Warkworth. While distance and difficulty always play a factor in which routes we conquer and when, sometimes decisions are also made easier by the types of things we’re able to do and see on route.
The community of Warkworth has dedicate some long-term parking for cyclists at a small parkette, just out of town. With route signage visible from the parking lot, you’ll be really pleased with how things kick off. It’s the small things in life that matter, however in the world of cycling routes, signs are a big deal and very much appreciated!
Heading north from Warkworth, the landscape is quintessential Northumberland County. Don’t know what it’s like? There is a surprising amount of movement in the topography, making the riding challenging yet rewarding. The challenges are the climbs, but the rewards are the views!
Beautiful landscapes quickly roll past before one arrives in Campbellford. It’s definitely worth taking the time to explore the lock system and trails in and around the Trent Severn Waterway and Ferris Provincial Park. Managed by Parks Canada, Lock 13 along the Trent Severn Waterway is a National Historic Site and a great spot to stop on the route. In addition to a small kiosk and information booth, there are lots of places to take in the views of the Trent River and Lock system.
After taking a breather on the red Muskoka chairs, walk your bike across Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, into Ferris Provincial Park. Ride through the crushed stone trail through the park and into Campbellford to explore a community perched on the Trent River. If you visit on a Saturday, visit the local farmers market in town and you’ll be talked up by locals, who will point you in the direction of a local Cheese Factory and a Chocolate Factory.
Taking a bit of a detour through town, visit the aptly named “The World’s Finest Chocolate Factory“. We recommend a bag of chocolate almonds to throw in your pannier.
If you’re up for it, as it’s not on the official route, it is on a busier road without paved shoulders; head out of town, east along highway 8 to Empire Cheese Factory. If you’re game, you’ll be extremely happy you did. Good Ontario cheese is one of the better items that serves up a true sense of place. Pick up a block of something that suits your fancy, as well as a box of crackers, then set off to the grass out back overlooking the corn fields and enjoy a small feast!
Riding back to Campbellford, take the gravel roads in Ferris Provincial Park and back through Campbellford. Pedaling north along the eastern shoreline of the Trent River, it’s a great reminder of how much you enjoy having water views when riding. After a short jaunt east, follow the signage for the Trent River Truckin’ route, heading north towards your next destination, Church Key Brewery. A brewery with a view and a veranda.
Enjoy a taster or pint for two (if you’re riding with others) in the sun at Church Key Brewery, before starting your last leg of the route north. Ride west and cross the Trent River in Kellers. More stunning riding, this time along the west shore of the river and back into town.
Now if you pick up ‘souvenirs’ on the way, the ride back can turn out to be a fair bit more work. Add it up and you’ll have accumulated a little bit of weight from stops along the way. Perhaps a something from the farmer’s market, a bottle from the brewery, a bag of chocolate almonds and a full water bottle to stay hydrated.
The ride itself is suitable for someone comfortable riding on roads, but it can be a real recreational ride with stops along the way. There are a few short steep hills, but all in all it isn’t a thigh burner by any means. Ride this in the fall and you’ll be rewarded along those great vistas with beautiful fall folliage!