The Georgian Rail Trail going from Collingwood through Thornbury to Meaford is one of the more popular bike rides for locals and tourists. This pleasant and easy bike path follows the coast of Georgian Bay.
It offers glimpses of the water, travels through shaded woodlands, marshes and farm fields with the towering Niagara Escarpment as a backdrop.
This trail has a well maintained base of crushed gravel, with little overgrowth. There are plenty of signposts to keep you informed as to how far your destination is.
Collingwood has many bike paths, and taking one of them along the water’s edge will bring you to the back of a mall where the rail trail starts.
Following the trail through a forested area, this leisurely bike ride is a favorite for local families and bike cruisers. The distance to Thornbury (the next town) is 19 km one way.
Near Craigleith, note the old train station that once brought vacationers in from the city. Also a good area to go for a dip in the bay on a hot summer ride.
I chose to ride what I think is a shorter, more interesting section from Thornbury to Meaford and back, a comfortable 13 km. (one way). The plan was to ride to the next town have lunch and return back to Thornbury.
Thornbury has a dam with an old railroad trestle bridge and this was our start point. As with most rail trails, the going was very straight until we reached Meaford for lunch.
As you enter town there are some enjoyable wooded trails that end at the harbor by the sailboats. The old main street is worth having a look at and a good spot to eat.
Alternatively, you could start your ride at Meaford and have lunch in Thornbury for some samples of cider at the local distillery. Yum! Or go the distance 32 km and find plenty of eateries in Collingwood.
Collingwood is the largest town in the area, which is doing well again as a retirement community and recreation area by Blue Mountain Village, which has some serious downhill MTB runs. You will find the downtown charming and full of life on the weekends.
Anyone looking for a weekend getaway should consider trying this rail trail. It’s about a two hour drive from Toronto and worth staying over night to enjoy the festivals and events in the area.