Whether you’re a hiker, biker, ATVer or even a horseback rider, there’s a trail for you here. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, it could be the new boardwalk that takes you a kilometre into a marsh. From Corbyville, it could be the trail that follows the legendary Grand Junction Railway. In Deseronto, a bike route along the Bay of Quinte itself. Read on for more details about these trails and a few others that’ll suit any type of trail addict.
Just seven kilometres south of the town of Brighton is a boomerang-shaped peninsula jutting into Lake Ontario that Samuel de Champlain (supposedly) named Presqu’ile, French for “almost island.” Now a provincial park, it’s a haven for migratory birds and monarch butterflies, not to mention bikers and hikers.
There are six trails here—all of them easy—ranging from the 1 km Jobes’ Woods Trail that winds through an area once farmed in the mid-1800s, to the 8.1 km Pioneer and Newcastle Trails that take you into the heart of the peninsula. Don’t miss the Marsh Boardwalk Trail, a newly rebuilt 1.2 km wheelchair accessible loop with over 800 m of boardwalk that passes out and over a marsh. ontarioparks.com/park/presquile=
Corbyville to Stirling
The Grand Junction Railway once ran from Belleville to Peterborough, but now it’s part of the multi-use Trans-Canada Trail and the Eastern Ontario Trail Alliance. It begins in Corbyville, a hamlet just north of Belleville that was once a booming distillery town. From the trail, you can see remnants of Corby Distilleries in old water towers, cement buildings, and rusted pipes and equipment.
The trail heads northwest for 15 km after Corbyville, mostly through farmlands, until Madoc Junction, where it splits and goes 25 km northeast to Madoc or 10 km west to Stirling. If you go to Stirling, take some time to explore the beautifully restored train station, a designated historical site, museum and community meeting hall. tctontario.ca; thetrail.ca
As mentioned above, the Grand Junction Railway line splits at Madoc Junction and travels about 25 km northeast to Madoc. This multi-use, trail is called the Trail of Two Lakes, and you can access it from various points, including Highway 62 south of Ridge Road, Hollowview Road and Slab Street. At Moira Lake, the trail follows a ridge that gives amazing views of the shoreline homes below. vishwalking.ca
Just east of Ivanhoe Station, the Trail of Two Lakes meets the multi-use Trans Canada Trail, and if you take the former railway line about 13 km east, you’ll eventually arrive in downtown Tweed. Along the way, you’ll pass through forests, farmers’ fields and by lakes, including Drag Lake (aka Palmateer Lake), where there’s a memorial to Erin Palmateer, who was crucial in getting this trail open in 1995. thetrail.ca
Deseronto and Tyendinaga Township
The Waterfront Trail is a 1400 km biking route that hugs the shores of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Ontario and three rivers. After Belleville, the trail picks up in Tyendinaga Township at Shannonville. Head south along Beach Road and into Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Tyendinaga Territory, where you’ll pass by a 500 m stretch of Hungry Bay, a gorgeous inlet within the Bay of Quinte. waterfronttrail.org/tyendinaga
About 20 km later, you’ll arrive in Deseronto, which sits on the bay just before it starts narrowing into the Napanee River. You can stay on Main Street and go to Napanee or turn south on Mill Street and check out the town’s waterfront. Either way, have a look at the 113-year-old post office downtown that’s still in use. A couple of years ago, Canada Post recognized it as one of the five most notable post offices in the country for its architecture and heritage.
Napanee is only about a 10 km bike ride from downtown Deseronto, but once you’re there hop off the bike and have a craft pint and some food at one of the restaurants downtown. Walk it off at the Lennox & Addington County Museum, which follows the county’s story from the late eighteenth century through the twentieth.
You can take a longer stroll along the Napanee River at the conservation area just across the centre street bridge; a 100 m boardwalk follows the river to the Springside Park Dam. Feeling more adventurous? Head 16 km north to Hell Holes Nature Trails and Caves for a cave exploration and a 3.2 km hike through rock formations created in the glacial period (Adults: $7, Youth 5-15: $5, Under 5: Free).