Enjoy a 33 km country cruise, car-free, on the Lang Hastings Rail Trail this summer. Find your way out to Peterborough and cycle through the Ontario countryside to Hastings.
I recently rode the length of this trail with my friend Michael on a sunny day to scout the conditions of the path. I am pleased to say the route is in excellent shape with new signs, benches and is resurfaced with a fine crushed-gravel base.
We started in Peterborough at Rogers Cove Park, a perfect start point 1.5 km back from the official trailhead. This was done for two reasons: no parking lot at the trailhead and extra sights to see by the Otonabee River.
It’s worth going west down Maria St. for a minute; this will take you over a long rail bridge into town. Then double back to start your journey heading SE on the park trail that crosses over the Trent – Severn Canal at Lock 20. You have to walk your bike over the locks, rather novel.
A short jaunt down a paved path alongside Ashburnham Dr. takes you to Lansdowne St. On the opposite side of this busy (take care) intersection is the Lang Hastings trailhead. That was the hardest part to navigate (lol, not hard at all); the rest of the way is easy sailing on two wheels.
This part of Ontario is full of short hills that you do not have to manage. Track builders years ago found a way around these many mounds of glacial deposits to make a level route for trains. This in effect gives riders less of a straight, boring direct route and more of an interesting, winding path to follow.
The trip is a quiet venture into farm country with a few barns in the distance and the odd woodlot and marsh to pass through. We both agreed that sunscreen would help, as it was not that shady a trip.
I do not recall many road crossings on this trek. Most are underpasses with likely the largest road “tunnel” in Ontario going under County Rd. 2.
As one nears the tourist town of Hastings, the path swings down to the end of Rice Lake to give refreshing views over the water dotted with boats.
The odd part of this Rail Trail is that maps show the route crossing over to the other side via the old train bridge. But in actual fact, cyclists can not partake in this crossing for most of the riding season (mid-May to Thanksgiving), as the swing bridge is open. (The same thing happens on the Victoria RT in Fenelon Falls.)
So plan to ride around it; when you cross Asphodel 7th Line, head north, then east onto River Rd. and take Park Lane to avoid the hill.
Soon you will see the town of Hastings, which has an excellent waterfront pub/patio and a coffee shop to refuel.
For more mileage, this trail continues on the other side of the town locks and bridge and as the Northumberland Rail Trail. Another 34 kilometres gets you to Campbellford on what they say is a little rougher route (ATVs are permitted).
And Peterborough has many options to continue cycling and refuel if you ride this trail in the other direction. Within reach from Toronto for a day trip or a longer getaway, it’s yours to discover!