This Mennonite Country Cycling Route is a 79 km ride on paved roads over gentle hills with little traffic. There is magnificent scenery, a historic covered bridge, the popular tourist towns of Elora and Fergus plus you are sure to see a few horse drawn carriages along the way.
Located one hour from Toronto this is a very popular region for day trips by both cycling clubs and individuals. Start your ride at the Kissing Bridge Trail parking lot which is a recreational path more suitable for mountain bikes that goes for 45 km.
However, we start our ride by heading north on County Road 39 until reaching a T-junction where we take a left turn. Not far past the town of Ariss we turn left on St. Charles Road.
One of our group mentioned the terrain in this area looked like you are cycling in Belgium with the rolling farmlands and the steeple of the church in the town of Maryhill, sitting as expected at the top of a hill.
In Maryhill you do take a sharp turn right passing that same church and onto a very quiet country road. After a short distance turn left on Crowsnest Road and go straight for a long stretch until reaching the end.
Turn right on County Road 23 (Katherine Road) and note there are partially paved shoulders. However these paved shoulders were not designed for cyclists but for the horse drawn black carriages with which you share the road. Also it seems that every time I do this route the Mennonite farmers are having a roadside sale and today was no different.
Turn left on River Edge Road and descent the gentle hill which runs next to the Grand River which in on its way to Lake Erie. In front of you is the only covered bridge (Kissing Bridge) in Ontario. It is one lane with you must share with tourists walking, horse drawn carriages, cars and other cyclists.
Cyclists seem to be drawn to the only covered bridge in Ontario
Once over the bridge and past the General Store turn right on West Montrose Street which changes names twice more as you head east. You now have a long stretch to Elora with magnificent views of the Grand River Valley and trail, a weird castle like structure, horse farms and other great scenery.
In Elora many stop for ice cream but we continued down Geddes Street turning left on Mill and into the park for lunch along the river. Then we continue east towards Fergus and although there is some traffic there is also a paved shoulders. This area besides being popular with tourists is home to a summer music festival.
In historic Fergus we turn right on Tower Street crossing the Grand River with another immediate turn on Union Street. Now we are heading west passing the beautiful homes lining the river and we have time to look as there is little traffic on this side of the river.
Back in Elora we turn left on Bridge Street and head up a small hill before turning right on McNabb. We continue west passing the famous Elora Conservation Area, popular with picnickers and people inner tubing down the rapids.
This park is not for us as we ride up a few hills before a sharp left turn on the 4th Sideroad in Inverhagh. Turn right on the Second line a you find a superb paved road with zero traffic. You pass the research farms of the University of Guelph until reaching County Road 51. A right turn and short cycle before turning left and back to the start.
Directions to Start
To reach Kissing Bridge Trail parking lot take Hwy 401 west from Toronto, north on Hwy 6 to T-Junction, right on Woodlawn to first traffic lights and left on County 39 for 2.4 km.