The Uxbridge Kawarthas Trail section of The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail) can be ridden as a day outing or overnight cycle tour (as in weekend getaway) depending on the distance you wish to go. We went from Uxbridge (just north of Toronto) to Lindsay where we spent the night. During the winter months this is a snowmobile route.
Uxbridge Rail Trail
You can start at Eglin Park on the south end of Uxbridge and just ride up Concession 7 (Road 1) to the start at recreated Trestle bridge or if starting on a weekend like we did from Uxbridge Secondary School, 1217 Planks Lane which is a bit closer. If starting there you can also go up 3rd Avenue to Barton Lane where the Barton Trail joins the main trail.
This first part is also known as the Beaver River Wetlands and the route soon has you surrounded by a vast marsh on both sides with bull rushes, water lilies and croaking frogs. The trail surface is hard packed and I had no issues with my thin tired road bicycle.
This is a rail trail so expect this section to be very flat, just watch out for a pot hole or two. On the day of our ride there were also plenty of other cyclists and a few walkers as well.
The Beaver River Wetlands continues almost to Blackwater at 15.4 km mark, where there is a big information sign. At this point the left trail continues to Cannington, great if you are doing a day bike ride. However, we took the right fork and continued with a very slight incline, still called the Beaver River Wetlands Trail.
Kawarthas Rail Trail
When you reach Manilla on the route you are at the zero-kilometre mark on the sign as you are entering the Kawarthas region. The main difference is that when the path meets a road there is a barrier with a small space for your bike to pass but with the concrete block in front so with loaded panniers it can be difficult. The path is a bit narrower here and in places you have to ride around apple trees full of hanging fruit.
The 33 km mark at Eldon Road is a good lunch stop as there is a gazebo with picnic tables and bicycle pump next to a carved wooden statue. There is a slight incline as you continue with corn fields on either side until reaching the Mariposa River which has a historic plaque.
Soon after you reach the outskirts of Lindsay where you wind through the campus of Sir Stanford Fleming College.
After 54 km you continue your bicycle tour until reaching Trent-Severn Waterway which has plenty of interesting watercraft to observe. Cycle along the shore following the signs until reaching Lindsay Street crossing the river and into a park which has public washrooms. You may wish to continue along the Rotary Trail for about a km until reaching lock 33.
The closest accommodation to the route is the Days Inn and Suites which we found a bit expensive so stayed at the Howard Johnson also close to our route. For dinner we went to the Lindsay Golf & Country Club next door which is open to the public and has a patio with superb views of the course. During our visit they featured a BBQ dinner with prime rib; corn on the cob; Yorkshire pudding; fries and a crumble pie.
Other accommodation could include the Victoria Motel and a little farther away the Kent Inn. The Kawarthas website more information.
Omemee & Peterborough
From the washroom along the Trent-Severn waterway continue about half a km along the river where the trail splits with the right fork heading 44 km to first Omemee (the early childhood home of singer Neil Young) and then to Peterborough.
About 6 km past Omemee you arrive at Doube’s Trestle Bridge which spans over 200 metres over the Buttermilk Valley and offering superb views, a definite photo opportunity.
We will do this section on a future trip knowing that local citizens were recommending the Best Western Otonobee Inn as the place to stay. The Peterborough website provides more information on the area including the famous lift lock.
You may also wish to ride an additional 15 km along the paved cycle route to Trent University and then continue along the waterway to Lakefield. If you make it this far you just must go into the ice cream shop when you arrive.
Lindsay to Uxbridge
For our return cycle tour, we also started from the washroom and took the left fork along the Rotary Trail which after a short distance reached a narrow foot bridge which required walking across. Winding our way through Lindsay until reaching Sir Sanford Fleming College again and back on the rail trail.
Wanting to take something a little different on the return we didn’t go far as we reached a paved road which had Cycle Route 2A posted so we rode for about 1 km along Elm Tree Road. Route 2A turns left on Dew Drop Inn Road and so did we as it is a paved country road with little traffic.
At the T-junction we went left along Opmar Road for a very short distance before turning right on Farmstead Road, a typical gently rolling paved road in the countryside with no traffic. We followed Farmstead for quite a long distance until reach Station Road where a left turn took us back to the rail trail.
Just past Manilla we had a slight decline as we sailed along the forested pathway with squirrels and rabbits running across our path. Then across the Beaver River Wetlands trail until reaching Uxbridge after out 115 km journey.
Cycling the Uxbridge Kawarthas Trail provides and easy and interesting getaway close to Toronto.