Skip to Content

Ten of the Best Ontario Bike Trails for Unforgettable Rides

From the tens of thousands of kilometres of Ontario bike trails, we’ve selected some of the best routes to experience the province on two wheels.

Cyclist on the best Ontario bike trails riding through a tunnel of trees

The cycling scene in Ontario is dynamic and exciting. Ontario bike trails cover the entire province from Manitoba to Quebec and all the way down to Pelee Island in the south. Depending on whether you love long, winding riverside trails, intense hill climbs, or gnarly rips through the forest, there are bike trails in Ontario for every style of cyclist.

After all, we know that great bike rides aren’t just about pedaling. They’re about getting out and appreciating all of the incredible small towns, scenic trails, and unbelievable nature that Ontario has to offer. The best bike trails in Ontario are more than just straight-up cycling routes. They’re journeys through some of the province’s most unforgettable places.

Some of these trails are epic, and most riders will tackle them in segments (not that we’re stopping you from having a go at the whole thing). Others are great for weekend getaways or single-day rides, and some of these Ontario bike routes are perfect for a quick escape from the daily grind. Whatever type of riding suits you, there are Ontario bike trails for you.

A man holding a bike over his head on a ride along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail
Cycling a section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Trail Map

One of the most epic and popular Ontario bike trails is the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. Stretching for over 3,600 kilometres along the shores of Ontario’s Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail connects over 151 cities, towns, and First Nations communities throughout the province.

From the city of Cornwall in the east to Sault Ste. Marie in the west and dipping as far south as Pelee Island, this Ontario bike route connects Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, allowing riders to experience some of Ontario’s most majestic scenery.

The trail was created to protect, connect, and celebrate the Great Lakes Basin and has become one of the most notable cycling routes in the world. The trail is fully marked from start to finish and combines a mixture of on-road, gravel trails, and paved bike paths.

You can read more about the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail here.

Rideau Canal Park Trail – Ottawa

Trail Map

Winding from Hog’s Back Locks up to the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal might not be the longest of the bike trails in Ontario, but it makes up for its small distance with ever-changing scenery and incredibly well-maintained trails.

The route is roughly 10 km but can be doubled by making it a return trip, one way on the east side of the canal, the other way on the west side. The Rideau Canal Park Trail is also very flat, so it’s a perfect route for those new to cycling to get some experience.

Don’t miss stops at Hog’s Back Falls and Hartwell’s Locks for some great scenery. Another fun stop along the Rideau Canal Park Trail is the Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa. It offers some very cool exhibits and can help stretch a few hours into a cycling day trip.

Woman cycling through a flower-filled field along the St. Lawrence River in Ontario
Cycling along the St. Lawrence River – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

The Greenbelt Route

Trail Map

Covering 480 km of fully signed trails and back roads, the Greenbelt Route has become one of the most popular cycling excursions in Ontario. This scenic route traverses the Golden Horseshoe between Peterborough and Niagara Falls, passing through Ontario’s heartland where the province’s largest cities meet its agricultural engine.

This beautiful, protected countryside route winds through the Ganaraska forest in Northumberland, zips along winding rivers, and includes some charming small towns to stop and enjoy a coffee or fresh pastry. Along the way, don’t miss some of the stops from the Schitt’s Creek filming locations!

Power your way uphill along the Oak Ridges Moraine and stop in at the Trading Post in the Alderville First Nation, the northernmost apex of the Greenbelt Route.

Elora Cataract Trailway – Elora

Trail Map

Stretching for 47 kilometres between the towns of Grimstone and Elora, the Elora Cataract Trail follows a historic railway through the towns of Fergus and Erin. The original railway connected the vital waterways, the Grand River with the Credit River.

The Elora Cataract Trail is popular for the wide range of landscapes that it passes through, so no section of this route is ever boring. Along the cycling trail, you’ll experience farmland, forests, the Shand Dam, and the beautiful Belwood Lake Conservation Area.

Much of the well-signed route consists of gravel trails and is best suited to mountain bikes and gravel bikes.

A chain of islands connected by a causeway along Long Sault Parkway cycling route
Long Sault Parkway along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Pelham Route – Pelham

Trail Map

Cycling over rolling hills lined with some of the province’s most beautiful countryside has made this 34-kilometre cycling route one of the best in southern Ontario. This isn’t just a bike route to race, though. The Pelham route needs to be relished, like a fine glass of Pinot Grigio.

A stop for a roadside picnic along the Welland River and a scenic view from Lookout Point Country Club are just two of the highlights of this route. The Pelham route winds through the towns of Pelham and Fonthill on the Niagara Bench. The route is mostly roadside cycling, and there’s lots of climbing, so bring plenty of water.

Mindemoya Lake Loop – Manitoulin Island

Trail Map

Manitoulin Island has, somewhat intentionally, slipped past the radar of most cycling enthusiasts in Ontario. Those who understand the beauty of the world’s largest freshwater island tend to keep it to themselves.

Manitoulin offers some of the best Ontario bike trails thanks to its network of wide, flat roads, scenic beauty, and lack of crowds and traffic. The Mindemoya Lake Trail is a 34-kilometre loop along back roads that offers a wonderful introduction to the island.

Along the Mindemoya Lake Loop, enjoy a dip in the warm waters of Mindemoya Lake, enjoy a bite to eat at Maja’s Tea Garden, or take a detour to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation in M’Chigeeng First Nation.

Major's Oak Park in Ottawa along the Rideau Canal
Major’s Oak Park in Ottawa along the Rideau Canal – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Escarpment Rail Trail – Hamilton

Trail Map

Another “shortie” in our list of the best Ontario cycling trails is the Escarpment Rail Trail in Hamilton. This challenging ride follows a former CN railway line running from downtown Hamilton out to Albion Falls.

This gravel path takes riders through the tall oak trees of King’s Forest. Along the 9-kilometre route, you’ll power up 107 metres of elevation as you make your way from the urban centre to the scenic wilderness.

You can find more awesome bike trails in Hamilton here.

Voyageur Cycling Route

Trail Map

Race along three Canadian Heritage River waterways from the Ottawa Valley to Sudbury along the 380-kilometre Voyageur Cycling Route. Also known as the “Veloroute des Voyageurs,” this scenic bike trail offers up some of the best cycling in Northeastern Ontario.

Starting from Lake Laurentian Conservation Area in Sudbury, the Voyageur Cycling Route takes riders through North Bay, Mattawa, Petawawa, and Almonte before ending along the Rideau River in Ottawa.

The route is a mixture of bike trails and road cycling and is well-marked from start to finish.

Paipoonge Kam River Ride – Thunder Bay

Trail map

Northern Ontario has some absolutely unbelievable bicycle trails. One of the top Ontario bike trails up near Thunder Bay is the Paipoonge Kam River Ride. The ride launches from Thunder Bay and follows quiet country roads through the region’s stunning farmland and Boreal forest.

The Paipoonge Kam River Ride follows the Kam River as it loops back toward the town of Rosslyn. Along this 32-kilometre cycling route, you can enjoy a number of great stops, including Duke Hunt Historical Museum and Stanley Tavern, a perfect place to break for lunch at the 17-kilometre mark.

A man waving with his bike mounted on rocks in front of a waterfall in Sault Ste Marie Ontario
Mountain biking in Sault Ste Marie – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Hastings Heritage Trail – Bancroft

Trail Map

Considered among the best rail trails in Ontario, the Hastings Heritage Trail is a long, figure-8 loop that makes for a fun and scenic ride.

The Hastings Heritage Trail launches in the town of Tweed and winds along an even gravel surface to the village of Madoc. From there, the route loops back towards Eldorado before continuing on to Marmora Mines. The Marmora Mines historic makes for a perfect swimming stop during the hot summer months.

The Trail is open year-round and boasts a number of parking lots and access points along the route. Some of the best stops along the Hastings Heritage Trail are waterfalls, wetlands, and relics of ghost towns like Brinklow.

Cycling in Ontario

If you love hitting the best bike trails in Ontario, drop a comment with your favorite cycling route below. Or better yet, swing over to the Ultimate Ontario Facebook community and join the conversation of locals and visitors discovering and sharing the best things to do in Ontario.