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Waterfront Trail:
Ontario's New Hiking and Cycling Route

Ontario's now completed but always being improved Waterfront Trail wends its way from the Quebec border to Kingston and on to to Niagara, taking in Toronto along the way. 



It's level enough for rollerblading and has great walkability for those who aren't so steady on their feet.

The Trail is 780 km of foot and cycle trail that, unfortunately, still includes some 120 km on regular roads.

These are being slowly replaced but it will be a while before the whole of Lake Ontario's northern shore is accessible to walkers, rollerbladers, and cyclists as is intended.

Nevertheless, the trail is a great achievement and one worth supporting by using it.

Waterfront Trail - When to walk

Waterfront Trail, bay at Whitby Ontario

Spring, summer, and autumn are the times to be out on the trail because it isn't kept snow or ice-free in winter. 

Any time you go to the water in summer, you get cooling breezes -- the perfect antidote for humidity.

Spring and autumn on the other hand, you may need to bundle up.

This trail isn't really for hiking or camping, though you can certainly do that for there are plenty of campsites along the way. They're just not associated with the trail itself. This trail is one to dip in and out of, picking your spots to savor. For me, those are the out-of-town areas. For others the in-town trail would be perfect, with lots of places to stop and watch the busy world go by.


How to Find It

Waterfront Trail, sign for Ontario's Waterfront Trail

Accessing the Waterfront Trail is easy. Once you've reached the Lake Ontario northern shoreline you'll see the waterfront Trail signs, see image on the right, they're pretty well everywhere. And it's free. There's no entrance fee required. You can't get a better vacation deal than that.

Another point in the trail's favor is that, for the most part, it's very level. Ontario isn't a hilly place anyhow, at least in the southern part, and, at the lake, the land can be described as 'rolling' at the most so it's ideal for vacationers.

Overview

Waterfront Trail, beaver hauling a cut down tree across the trail

Sometimes your path is blocked by wildlife crossing. In this case a beaver carrying away a small tree it has gnawed down.

Ontario is working with local communities to ensure the lands around the trail reflect native species of plants, which will support native species of wildlife. 

This initiative is designed to counter the success of the many invasive species that threaten to overwhelm the locals.

Waterfront Trail, a tangle of Garter Snakes beside the trail

While I support all efforts that try to keep the uniqueness of places, I can't help feeling it's ironic that successfully invasive people should be working so hard to oust animal and plant invasive species who are just doing what the humans have already done.

These garter snakes were enjoying a summer afternoon at the side of the Trail in Whitby, Ontario.

Not everyone's favorite wildlife but I like them. They're colorful, harmless and eat all sorts of things that are even less attractive to have around.




Waterfront Trail, Red-tailed Hawk beside trail

Big hawks, like Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks also hunt in the quieter parts of the trail, as do foxes and coyotes.

While none of these animals are normally dangerous to humans, it's worth keeping your eyes open for Coyotes.

They're German Shepherd sized dogs and, when they're in packs, have been known to attack people. 





Waterfront Trail, male wild turkey

The next pictures are of two animals most people love to eat, both families, the deer and turkeys, were within a kilometer of the Trail sign up above.

The male Turkey, in all his mating season glory (though not puffing out his chest to show it off at its best, see Birds) looks ready for Thanksgiving or Christmas already even though it's only spring. 

Waterfront Trail, female wild Turkey

One of the females out strolling with the male above demonstrates perfectly what I meant when, on the spring page, I said it was a season with a muddy half.

Look at her foot! His too are pretty dirty but this one looks like she's wearing boots. 



Waterfront Trail, deer on trail

The deer family were wary of the clicking of the camera and their tails, used to signal alarm, were always twitching as I took these photos. The fawn in the next photo wasn't as calm as the older ones.

His tail is like a flag.



Waterfront Trail, young deer near trail showing its white tail

Maybe he should have stayed close by, like his Mom told him to.

For more detailed information and on-line maps of the Trail go to the official webpage --Waterfront Trail or visit our pages, Bruce Trail and  Hiking Trails in Ontario. 




Return to Home Page from Waterfront Trail

And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:



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