BIKEPACKING THE TRAIL TOWNS

Extend your stay with a scenic tour across Kawarthas Northumberland

Bikepacking is a fantastic way to get to know a region, whether you’re planning a epic ride that can’t be completed in a single day, or just taking in a shorter ride at a leisurely space. Regardless of which approach best suits you, you’ll find the quiet road and trail network of Kawarthas Northumberland ideally suited.

Both of these routes options pass through several Trent-Severn Trail Towns, scenic communities along the Trent-Severn Waterway with excellent visitor amenities. If you’re planning a multi-day excursion, that means you can choose the stops that best suit your interests and abilities.

Although these routes are generally well-maintained, cyclists should be aware long sections of the route are unpaved hardpack, with patches of loose gravel a possibility. Hybrid bike tires are an excellent choice here.

We’ve listed roofed accommodations, but note camping is available to visitors arriving at most lock stations by bike; Hastings and Peterborough are notable exceptions. See here for more info and be sure to plan ahead if choosing this option.

Looking for more ideas? Visit the bikepacking page at our sister site, FallRoutes.ca.

Option #1: Point-to-Point

  • Total Distance: 116km
  • Starting Point: Campbellford
  • End Point: Fenelon Falls

This is the shorter of the two options, yet it still six Kawarthas Northumberland communities, four of which are Trail Towns. As a point-to-point ride, you’ll need to arrange your own pickup and drop off.

Section 1: Campbellford to Hastings (17km)

Beginning in Campbellford means your ride opens on gentle country roads that rejoin the Trent-Severn Waterway in Hastings. This popular fishing town is home to Lock 18 and numerous services. If you’re hungry, McGillicafey’s Pub offers several Taste of the TSW dishes, in keeping with your ride’s theme. If you’re looking for a place to stay, consider Hastings House Bed & Breakfast or The Water Lily & Lockside Guest Suite.

Section 2: Hastings to Peterborough (37km)

This section is mainly rail trail, and features a mix of shady wooded stretches and open pastoral views. As the largest destination you’ll visit on your ride, there are too many excellent restaurants and accommodations to list—and since you’ve almost reached the halfway point, it makes a great choice if you’re breaking things up into a multi-day trip.

Section 3: Peterborough to Omemee (22km)

Riding out of Peterborough you’ll pass through the city’s picturesque Jackson Park along the Trans Canada Trail  en route to one of Kawartha Lakes’ unique attractions, Doube’s Trestle Bridge. The historic bridge spans Buttermilk Valley, and marks an undisputed highlight of your ride. The town of Omemee is smaller than some you’ll visit, but a grocery store and dining options are available if you need to fuel up.

Section 4: Omemee to Lindsay (17.5km)

The Trans Canada Trail continues northwest to Lindsay. You’re closing in on the end of your ride, but you might be tempted to linger in Lindsay. Close to Lock 33 you’ll also find Old Mill Park, a pleasant green space accented with the ruins of an historic mill. Gusto Grande offers a fine dining experience, while The Coach & Horses Pub is a more casual comfort food option. Days Inn & Suites is officially Trail Town Friendly and a good choice to spend the night.

Section 5: Lindsay to Fenelon Falls (22.5km)

Almost there! The Victoria Rail Trail is popular with cyclists for a reason—you’ll pass through Ken Reid Conservation Area and get great views across Sturgeon Lake as you follow the former CN line north to Fenelon Falls. You’ll be spoiled for choice if you decide to cap the evening with a meal—enjoy a hearty burger at the Cow & Sow, or dine beside Lock 34 at Murphy’s Lockside Pub & Patio. For a bit of luxury, consider overnighting at Eganridge Resort.

Option #2: TSW Loop Route

  • Total Distance: 278.5km
  • Starting and End Point: Campbellford
As the longest of the two routes, this option will take through the same destinations as Option #1, but by continuing on after Fenelon Falls, adds two additional Trail Towns and more sights as you complete the loop back to Campbellford.
 
Section 6: Fenelon Falls to Bobcaygeon (23.5km)
 
If you’ve still got the stamina after completing option #1, get ready for a diverse and calming journey through the countryside. Chances are you’ll arrive in Bobcaygeon early in the day, so there might only be time for a quick ice cream at Bigley’s Sweet Treats. If you’ve arranged your ride differently, though, The Bobcaygeon Inn & Royal Moose Grill & Waterfront Patio is a one-stop option for dining and accommodations. Either way, check out the local shops and the green parkland around Lock 32 before you ride out again.
 
Section 7: Bobcaygeon to Bridgenorth (57.5km)
 
As the second-longest stretch between towns, this provides a chance to really immerse yourself in the country landscape. You’ll enjoy views across the water, red barns in rolling fields, and expansive greenery before reaching Bridgenorth’s signature causeway. The town offers many casual dining options and a grocery store along Ward St; we recommend Chemong Lodge if you’re looking to stop and savour a meal.
 
Section 8: Bridgenorth to Lakefield (11.5km)
 
It’s a short jaunt from Bridgenorth to Lakefield, which is packed with amenities from bookstores to chocolatiers. You can’t go wrong choosing between the Canoe & Paddle, The Loon, or Cassis Bistro for a meal.  If the ride wore you out, lay your head at The Village Inn. If you’re camping, head to Lock 26.
 
Section 9: Lakefield to Campbellford (70km)
 
The home stretch is a scenic 70km ride. If you started your journey in Campbellford you know where you’re headed, and can enjoy cruising the backroads to the finish line. Once you’re in town Antonia’s Bistro and the Dockside Bistro are all great choices for a celebratory meal. The Emilyville Inn and Water’s Edge Inn are both comfortable places to rest up and reflect on an epic bikepacking ride.

KEEP EXPLORING

There’s always more to see and do—browse the itineraries below for more daytrip and overnight suggestions around Kawarthas Northumberland.

Aerial view of an open road in fall

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