WATERFRONT TRAIL; LAKE ONTARIO/NIAGARA SECTION:
NIAGARA-on-the-LAKE to ST. CATHARINES [PORT DALHOUSIE]; ONTARIO CANADA
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: July 31, 2017
Length: Waterfront Trail; Lake Ontario/Niagara Section; 17.9 miles
Royal Henley/Jaycee Gardens Park Spur; 1.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved, cement, stone-dust trail with many on-road sections. Not all sections ideal for kids on bikes.
To Start from the Nelson Street parking lot in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Eastern End); From I-190 in Lewiston, NY cross the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge into Canada along Route 405. Take the first exit towards Niagara-on-the-Lake and come to Route 61. Turn right and follow Route 61 to the Niagara River Pkwy. Turn left and travel 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north to a 3-way intersection. Turn right on Ricardo Street passing by a parking lot for the Niagara River Recreational Trail. Follow Ricardo St into Niagara-on-the-Lake and just before a marina on your right is Nelson St.
To start from Charles Ansell Park in St. Catharines (Western End); From I-190 in Lewiston, NY cross the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge into Canada. Follow Route 405 to Queen Elizabeth Way. Cross the Welland Canal and take exit 44 to Dieppe Rd. Follow to Route 48 and turn right. Follow to Route 87 and turn right. Take your first right on Route 52 and the park is on your left.
Stretching over 1,305 miles (2,100 km) along the Canadian shores of the earth's largest group of freshwater lakes, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail consists of both on-road and off-road facilities. The Trail is about 30% off-road along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and about 14% off-road on the Lake Erie, Detroit River and Lake St Clair section, and 4% off -road along the North Channel between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. It is primarily paved, with sections of unpaved path and gravel roads. The Waterfront Trail; Lake Ontario/Niagara Section I describe here only covers from Niagara-on-the-Lake to St. Catharines. Visit; WATERFRONT TRAIL for more information.
The Waterfront Trail; Lake Ontario/Niagara Section utilizes part of the regional Greater Niagara Circle Route. [The Bridge-It Route travels on-road between Thorold and Niagara Falls cutting the Circle Route in half. SEE; Route Directions for cycling from Port Robinson's Ferry parking lot to the Niagara Parkway in Chippawa, Ontario]. Four connected trails combine to form a circle (north-south & east-west) along both Great Lakes, the Niagara River and the Welland Canal. At it's eastern end this trail connects with the Niagara River Recreational Trail (part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail) which travels south to Fort Erie and the Friendship Trail (part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail) that travels west to Port Colborne. At it's western end this trail connects to the Welland Canal Trail (not part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail) which travels south to Port Colborne and the Friendship Trail.
Starting from the Nelson Street parking lot; Cross Ricardo St where the paved Waterfront Trail begins. This is also part of the Niagara River Recreational Trail . Map board located here. Travel up a slight hill and cross Byron St. Travel past the FORT GEORGE NHS Visitor Center on your left before coming to an intersection at 0.3 miles. On your right is the Fort.
Note; The Niagara River Recreational Trail continues straight. Head right past a pavilion and the Fort George NHS parking lot and you'll pick up the paved Waterfront Trail on your left. Cross Queen's Parade to an open field through The Commons. Informational signs all along this route. Come to an intersection at 0.8 miles. Right leads to Veterans Memorial Park. Head left, staying straight and you'll come to another intersection at Butler's Barracks NHS. The Waterfront Trail continues right out to King & Mary Streets at 1.1 miles. Continue straight on-road (BIKE LANE) along Mary St. I haven't checked out this section. This section is almost all on-road .Not recommended for kids on bikes. Cross Mississauga St at 1.5 miles where you continue on-road (shoulder). Keep left on Lakeshore Dr at 1.7 miles. This is a busy road with narrow or no shoulders. After 6.3 miles, after you pass East & West Line, according to the map you'll pick up a BIKE LANE. Come to Read Rd at 8.5 miles and turn right. Follow Read Rd (residential) past Happy Rolph's Bird Sanctuary to the end where you'll pick up the crushed stone trail at 9 miles. Here the trail follows alongside Lake Ontario.
Note; The 9/11 Memorial Walk is located here as well.
The trail quickly turns inland bringing you out to Peacock Bay circle at 9.3 miles. A short paved trail on your right then connects you to Stepney St. Continue straight on-road (residential) to Bromley Dr and head left where you'll pick up another paved trail that takes you past Eastport Park and out to Broadway at 9.7 miles. Map board located here.
Note; Right brings you to the Welland Canal Trail; George Nicholson Trail Section .
Head left on-road along Broadway (shoulder). Broadway veers right at 9.9 miles (no shoulder) and brings you out to Lakeshore Rd. Head right crossing the Welland Canal next to Lock 1 and you'll come to Welland Canals Pkwy and the Welland Canal Trail at 10.3 miles. Charles Ansell Park parking lot on your right. I've checked out this next section. Cross Welland Canals Pkwy and head right along the sidewalk a short distance and you'll pick up the stone-dust Waterfront Trail on your left past a gate. Signs and map. This section of the trail travels through MALCOLMSON ECO-PARK . See; MALCOLMSON ECO-PARK MAP . You quickly come to an intersection (Lack of directional signs through this park). There are multiple route through the park, but the official Trail route (according to the map) is to head right.
Note; Straight is part of the Blue Trail.
Travel through the woods to a more open trail that continue north, parallel to the Welland Canals Pkwy. Before you reach the northern end of the Welland Canals Pkwy look left to spot where the trail renters the woods. Follow this to an intersection (Red Trail) and head right. This brings you to another intersection.
Note; Heading left the Red Trail loops back south all the way to the Malcolmson Eco-Park parking lot after 0.5 miles. You can then continue south out to Lakeshore Rd and cross over to a paved Trail. Heading left you can then return to the Charles Ansell Park parking lot after 0.8 miles.
Continue straight out to Lombardy Ave at 11 miles. I haven't checked out this section. Travel Briefly along Lombardy Ave and you'll pick up the stone-dust trail again on your right. The trail travels through Sunset Beach (picnic tables, playground, beach overlooking Lake Ontario) then out to Arthur St at 11.3 miles. You'll need to travel on-road (residential) along Arthur St. Turn right on Melody Trail and you'll rejoin the trail after 11.6 miles as you enter Cherie Road Park. Come to a 4 way intersection at 11.9 miles.
Note; Straight is the Walker's Creek Trail . I haven't checked out this trail.
Head right out to Largo Dr. Head left on-road (residential) to Butler Crescent and turn right. Follow to Vine St and head left, then a quick right on Lantana Circle. This returns you to the paved trail after 12.2 miles. Travel through Spring Gardens Park keeping straight alongside Lake Ontario. The trail splits so keep left as the right spur dead ends. You come to Beachview Dr at 13.2 miles. A 1 mile on-road detour begins here. Head right then a quick right through Belmont Ave to October Dr and head left. Turn right on Jellico Dr, then left on Simpson Rd. Along your right is Pine Grove School. Look for a path that takes you past the school out to Lake St and turn right. Finally turn left on Shore Blvd and you'll pick up the paved trail after 14.2 miles as it travels through Westcliffe Park. The trail then heads down to Lighthouse Rd at 14.6 miles. Cross the road where the trail continues left. I've checked out this next section.
Note; Take a detour right, then left alongside the East Bank of Port Dalhousie Harbor and head north. Pass the Port Dalhousie Pier Marina & Lighthouse and follow the cement causeway out to a second lighthouse overlooking Lake Ontario after 0.5 miles. This is part of the Port Dalhousie Harbor Walkway.
Heading left down Lighthouse Rd turn right and follow the cement trail alongside the East Bank of Port Dalhousie Harbor. This is part of the Port Dalhousie Harbor Walkway. Pass by a Hydro Dam before heading up a ramp to Lakeport Rd at 15.2 miles. Travel right across the bridge. Martindale Pond is on your left. Pick up the trail again on your right as it enter Howes Park. Informational signs here. Lock 1 of the Third Welland Canal is on your right and a spillway on your left along with the Lock Tenders Shanty. A pedestrian bridge then takes you across the water to the West Bank of Port Dalhousie Harbor. Pass by Lockhart Point parking lot, then head left following the road, as the trail dead ends ahead. Pick up the trail again on your right out to Lakeport Rd.
Note; From here you can check out the Royal Henley/Jaycee Gardens Park Spur. See Below.
Head right alongside a Marina, then past the Lakeside Park parking lot out to Lakeside Park and a pavilion at 15.8 miles.
Note; Take a detour straight (north) along the West Bank of Port Dalhousie Harbor and follow the causeway out to an overlook of Lake Ontario after 0.4 miles.
I haven't checked out this section. Head left through Lakeside Park and past Lakeside Beach to a stairway (Looks as though they were working on this section? No more stairs?) up to Lock St/Dalhousie Ave at 16 miles. Here the trail is on-road (residential). Continue straight on Dalhousie Ave, right on Ann St, then left along Bayview Drive. Right on Corbett Ave which becomes Colton Ave. This returns you to the trail at 17.1 miles. This short trail section then leads to Mary St. Head right on-road as Mary St become Courtleigh Rd. This brings you back to lakeshore Rd at 17.9 miles. The trail continues right on-road. See MAPS Below.
Note; From here you can connect to the Green Ribbon Trail/Merritt Trail . Cross Lakeshore Dr to Third Street Louth and head south. Bear left on Old Martindale Rd and you'll come to the trailhead after 0.3 miles.
Royal Henley/Jaycee Gardens Park Spur:
From the intersection of Lakeport Road and the Waterfront Trail; I've checked out this section. Head right along Lakeport Rd to a cross-light, then follow a sidewalk back alongside Lakeport Rd to the Rennie Park parking lot on your right. Pass through the parking lot to a paved path that travels through the park. Pass by a "Rowing" monument and you'll come to an intersection. Left leads back out to Lakeport Rd, so you can either continue straight or bear right. Both trails travel around a wildflower hill and reconverge at a pedestrian bridge which travels across Martindale Pond. Enter Royal Henley/Jaycee Gardens Park after 0.5 miles. Follow the paved trail up a slight hill. Below on your left (may not visible from here) lies Lock 2 of the Third Welland Canal. Pass by a playground then down to another intersection at 0.8 miles. The trail splits here with a stone-dust trail straight through the park out to Ontario St at 1.1 miles or continuing left where the paved trail also travels right through the park out to Ontario St at 1.1 miles. Between these two trails lies the buried Lock 3 of the Third Welland Canal.
Note; If you continue straight you'll come to the Royal Henley/Jaycee Gardens Park parking lot. Head left through the parking lot to a stone-dust trail which brings you to The Bollard. Bollards were used to tie ships up while in the canal. This one was salvaged from Lock 1 of the Third Welland Canal in Port Dalhousie. Lock 2 of the Third Welland Canal can be seen behind the bollard. Check out The Old Welland Canals Field Guide for more historical features in this park, as well as, along the rest of the old canal. Across Ontario St the old canal continued, however, it was filled in years ago. If you check out Goggle Earth you can follow its course, as most of it is covered by green space.
CLICK HERE FOR GREAT LAKES WATERFRONT TRAIL MAPS
CLICK HERE FOR WATERFRONT TRAIL; LAKE ONTARIO SECTION MAPS 1-4
CLICK HERE FOR GREATER NIAGARA CIRCLE ROUTE MAP 1
CLICK HERE FOR GREATER NIAGARA CIRCLE ROUTE MAP 2
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