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Five great Ontario rail trails for cycling and running adventures

Most people do the vast majority of running and cycling close to home. But, when training progresses and more distance and variety are required, sometimes it’s fun to head out on the weekends and explore new areas that offer more distance and new scenery. To that end, rail trails are a fantastic option in addition to being a great use of old railway lines that are no longer in service. Yes, the trails are linear, not loops, so plan accordingly. But as out-and-backs Ontario rail trails can provide most any distance required up to more than 200 kilometres. Some even allow for fantastic multi-day adventures through scenic forests, small towns and the countryside.

Here are five of our favourites.

Elora Cataract Trailway

This system, part of the Great Trail that stretches across the country, is a 47-km linear pathway that connects the Grand and Credit rivers along an old railway line.

We love this trail because we think Elora could be the prettiest town in the province, but it also has some amazing scenery and connects numerous lovely villages along the trail including Cataract, Erin, Fergus and others.

The trail is mostly flat and finished with stone dust.

Guelph to Goderich Trail

One of the new rail trails in the province, this rail trail stretches from the city of Guelph all the way to the shores of Lake Huron and the pretty small town of Goderich.

This trail, which follows a former railway line through rural countryside and forests, stretches approximately 130 kilometres and is a fantastic idea for an overnight. The trail is a combination of crushed gravel and dirt trails. It’s a moderate route, relatively flat throughout. Great training ground for an ultra marathon.

Be sure to check out the G2G website for current conditions and detours to adjust the route accordingly.

Victoria  Rail Trail

This 55-km gem stretches from Lindsay to Kinmount northeast of Toronto along a CN rail line that dates back to the late 19th century.

The Victoria Trail is multi-use and opens year-round with cycling, hiking, running and horseback riding in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.

The trail runs along Sturgeon Lake, through Fenelon Falls along Cameron Lake and finally arrives in Kinmout. It’s very scenic, a bit hilly, and is a combination of asphalt and gravel. The trail is managed by the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority and there are washroom facilities and other trail amenities along the route.

Grey County CP Rail Trail

This multi-use trail is 77 kilometres long and runs from Owen Sound to Chatsworth in Grey County. The trail offers views of Georgian Bay and some hilly sections.

The surface of the trail is mostly stone dusted and some gravel in certain sections.

The sections closer to Owen Sound are good for cycling and running, while closer to the other end of the trail are a bit rougher and might require mountain bikes.

Caledon Rail Trail

One of the most well-used trail ways on the list, this 35-km gem runs over an old rail line originally built in 1877.

The trail winds its way through gorgeous forest and rural countryside, all of which is part of the Ontario Greenbelt, and there are also a few nice small towns along the route perfect for a quick snack or drink on route.

Although the trail is mostly flat, there are a few hills along the way to mix it up. There are also a few amenities such as seasonal washrooms as well as interpretive signage along the way.

The trail runs from the town of Terra Cotta to Palgrave.

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