LE & N – Rail Trail Brantford to Port Dover
Posted on September 28, 2018
LE & N – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Western Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 46
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : paved, crushed gravel
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 46 km (one way)

90% rail trail path
10% road crossings, detours

Elevation – flat with very gradual slope

Terrain – crushed stone, some gravel, asphalt (more than usual) road crossings

Skill – easy

Maps – map board at gate

Traffic – bicycles, hikers, dogs, X-country skiers –  No E-bikes on Lynn Valley

Facilities –  parking, outhouse, benches, picnic tables, lodging and eats in Brantford, Waterford, Simcoe and Port Dover

Highlights – railroad bridges (large in Waterford), shaded woodlots, old farming communities

Trail Fee – free

Phone – none

Website – Norfolk Pathways,  Norfolk Tourism,

Similar Trails – Kissing Bridge, Omemee,

Local Clubs – Turkey Point MTB Club, Bike Fit Sunflowers, Short Hills Cycling Club

Access – most side roads crossings, parking suggestions:

  • Brantford – end of Beckett Dr.
  • Waterford – west end of Nichol St.
  • Simcoe – Argyle St. (map flag)
  • Port Dover – Silver Lake Lions Park

History – This was an electric railway line from 1916 till 1960 when diesel engines took over. Built to serve passengers and transport local agricultural goods such as tobacco, fruits, vegetables and flowers from greenhouses in the south. Also from Port Dover fresh fish was delivered.

The Lake Erie and Northern Electric Rail Company  (LE & N) abandoned passenger service for bus coaches in 1955, as road travel was cheaper and easier.

Freight operations continued and combined service with the Grand River Railway until Canadian Pacific Rail lifted the track in the 1980’s.

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The LE & N Rail Trail was once the Lake Erie & Northern Electric Railway before it was repurposed as a recreational trail to cycle on. At 46 km, this section runs from Brantford to Port Dover.

As a popular and well maintained rail trail, it travels south to Lake Erie across farm fields, through many woodlots and a few old towns which this train line served to transport people and goods.

Local counties have taken parts of this route and given it their own names but riding the path remains the same.

As it leaves Brantford from the Veterans Memorial Pkwy, it is called the LE & N Trail and goes for 14 km. It passes by neighbourhoods and curves gently out of town along a shady tree-lined path to more open farm fields.

Eventually it meets up with another Rail trail, the TH & B (Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway), which joins it and gives bike riders another way back.

Then for 18 km, it’s called the Waterford Heritage Trail, as it passes through Waterford where the rail trail splits (take the left path) and it goes up over a large bridge then past grain silos. Below you can see how this valley had other rail lines running under it. (which you can ride)

The name changes again briefly to the Norfolk Sunrise Trail for 4 km as it enters the town of Simcoe, where it finally becomes the Lynn Valley Trail for the last 10 km.

One does not notice much of a valley here but there are four old bridges and it’s almost all a tree covered path. There is one small road detour that jogs around a corner and then you are back on the trail again.

Once at the end in Port Dover, continue straight down the side streets to the harbour. Being a summer tourist town there are plenty of eats and a beach to rest before your return.

Comparing this rail trail to most in Ontario, I found this one well maintained to the point that many parts of it were paved in asphalt! Truly not necessary, but they were.

Plenty of signage helped, and even historic placards kept it interesting. Much of the length of it was shaded (and appreciated) to avoid that baking sun.

Now on the site map, it’s one of the best Rail Trails so far and worth an overnight stay at any of the towns on the way. And to check out plenty of other attractions down in Southern Ontario.

Total Score 4 REVIEWS
Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
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