If you are looking for a weekend getaway then this 38 km Waterfront Trail along the Thousand Island Parkway might suit your fancy. Not only is it an easy, scenic bicycle ride, there are also plenty of other things to see and do afterwards.
Starting just outside of Gananoque the path goes meandering eastward along the St. Lawrence River ending at Butternut Bay just as the Parkway meets hwy 401, near Brockville.
Listed as a Park ride on this site, it has less of a park feel to it than a road ride that has its own dedicated path beside a road. There are trees on the sides and grass lawn medians on this fairly straight, wide open Parkway. I find the lack of landscaping, sterile and a little boring.
If prevailing winds are be blowing from the west and this may slow you down on this open trail. That said, there is also not much shade on this path so get that sunscreen on.
This paved path follows the Thousand Island Parkway for all of its length on the north side and at times lower than the highway. My wish would have been the south side closer to the river. Then you truly get a “Waterfront Trail” as it has been called.
Sure you can get the occasional view of the water on this ride but not as the name implies. You may find yourself crossing the road to lookouts to take a picture or two. The good news is the highway is quiet and underutilized as most cars are doing the 401.
You will encounter a few rolling hills and mounts occur as you cross roads and driveways. So the route is not totally car free at those intersections. Though recently new dedicated lanes over the hwy 137 bridge now makes for 37 km of continuous off-road riding. (Applause)
Along this route one can find numerous interesting places to eat, lodge, camp or take a dip in the water. Explore Gananoque a quiet tourist town or Ivy Lea and Rockport (halfway point) which offers boat tours of the 1000 Islands.
Further up, tiny Mallorytown Landing has a visitors centre and Brown’s Bay Park makes for a good picnic stop or ride beyond to Brockville. This is the largest town on the route where you can tour its waterfront and the short 4km park trail.
With that said, still pack what you need as this highway is not busy and you will not find countless convenience stores or diners. There are a few camping spots for those who like to bike tour and add this path to their route.
On a warm summer day, with the cool winds blowing this makes for a great family outing or a date.