Bruce + Saugeen – Rail Trail

Clifford to Southampton
Posted on September 9, 2022 / 3376
Bruce + Saugeen – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Western Ontario
Note : New Trail
Total Trail Km : 90
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : paved, crushed gravel, bridges, flat sections, open field
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, trails maintained, shelter
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 90 = 82 + 8 km (one way)

95% rail trail path
5% road crossings, detours

Elevation – Flat, gradual slopes 

Terrain – Crushed stone, gravel, asphalt (one section not resurfaced)

Skill – Easy 

Maps – Map boards, posted signs, more to come

Traffic – Bicycles, eBikes, hikers, horses, ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, Nordic skiers

Facilities – Parking, outhouse, benches, shelter, repair stations on the Saugeen RT, the Bruce RT is still being developed.

Highlights – Beaches, bridges, quiet farmlands, rural towns, Port Elgin, Southampton, Paisley

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – None

Website – Saugeen ShoresBruce County

Similar Trails – G2G, Kissing Bridge, N. Simcoe + Tiny

Local Clubs – None

Access – Not many parking lots; try where the path crosses at Concession Rd. 6 or Concession Rd. 4 in Port Elgin or Rotary Perkins Park in Southampton. The Bruce RT has yet to establish enough user parking lots.

I suggest finding lots in parks or nearby arenas; any quiet country road crossing where you can safely park on the shoulder should work.

History – (I no longer include train history in my free reviews. Only to be found in my published books.)

Make your way to Lake Huron via the 82 km Bruce County and 8 km Saugeen Rail Trails for your holidays. Cruise the wide open spaces, spend time in old farm towns, walk endless beaches, and take in the laid-back vibe of this quiet part of SW Ontario.

I have combined two rail trails (RT) for this review as they do connect to give many options in planning your travels. 

The Saugeen RT segment connects the two summer resort towns of Port Elgin and Southampton. This long-established path has all the extras and amenities RT riders like and expect. 

It’s a pleasure to cycle along, though it’s a short outing: well marked and maintained, and, as with most RT, no hills and no ATVs.

A favourite loopback is to cycle the North Shore trail along the water. Visiting these two towns and the shoreline is an enjoyable way to spend the day.

The other, much longer route is almost finished getting resurfaced and 90% ready for you to consider venturing on. This adds the possibility of long day trips or doing a multiday Bikepacking trip. I think this RT has potential and with time will evolve into a popular destination.

What was five years ago once a hellish minefield of stones and washboarding that only an ATV or MTB could manage has been tamed. Only one small 8 km segment from the Port Elgin junction to Hwy 40 is still rough and due to be resurfaced by mid-summer 2023. Hurray!

The Bruce County RT starts on Huron Bruce Rd., in the middle of Ontario farmlands, on the county boundary. Even though the tracks did at one time go much farther, the trail does not. (I think this is a classic case where one county kept the rail lands when the tracks were lifted and the neighbouring county let it be sold off (in the ’80s). So much for forethought.)

Starting northwest of the village of Clifford, this RT heads that direction towards Lake Huron, passing through Mildmay, Walkerton, and Paisley to Port Elgin. Here the RT splits at the junction…


Read the rest of this review in my NEW book, Volume 2 of Best Bicycle Park & Rail Trails in Ontario

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Bruce Saugeen rail trail map

Bruce Saugeen rail trail map

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