Lower Trent – Rail Trail

Trenton to Glen Ross
Posted on July 17, 2021 / 1049
Lower Trent – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Eastern Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 17
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : crushed gravel, flat sections, drains well, open field
Faclities : parking, food close by, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length –  17 km (one way) 

95% rail trail path
5% road crossings, road detours

Elevation – Pancake flat 

Terrain – Crushed gravel; pockets of loose grit; wide tires needed; width of path varies, narrowing to singletrack at times

Skill – Easy

Maps – Map board at the gate, route signs

Traffic – Bicycles, eBikes, hikers, snowmobiles and X-country skiers in winter

Facilities – Parking, benches, amenities in Frankford and at locks

Highlights – Town of Frankford, locks, swing bridges, Bleasdell Boulder

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – 613 394 4829

Website – Quinte West, Lower Trent Conservation

Similar Trails – Caledon, Millennium, LE & N Rail Trail

Local Clubs – None

Access – Park at south end of trail on Lock Rd. east of Stockdale Rd., at midway point in Frankford on N. Wellington St., or at north end at the Glen Ross locks

 

History – Moving farm goods and lumber down the Trent River was difficult by boat until locks were built in 1920 to tame the seven set of rapids. In 1884, the Central Ontario Railway (COR) built this branch line to bypass navigating the river.  It ran from Trenton Junction to Coe Hill with a station in Frankford 

 By 1923, the line belonged to the Canadian National Railway (CNR), which operated it ’til the rails were removed in the late 1980s. In 2005, the railway was turned into a recreational path.

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Discover the Lower Trent Rail Trail running north from Trenton, as I did this summer. It’s a great find and an enjoyable 17 km path to cycle. 

What makes this Rail Trail so pleasing is the variety of scenery along the way. Onward one rides, through quiet fields and small wooded enclaves. We encountered a multitude of small butterflies en route.

In my opinion, this under-publicized Rail Trail truly deserves more attention.

Because there was little info online to indicate we could ride it or even make it the whole way, we were pleasantly surprised to find the path resurfaced with the usual crushed-gravel base and well signed. This length of the trail is also free of any motorized traffic (ATV, motocross bikes), though eBikes are permitted (and snowmobiles in the winter).

From the south end in no time, you can take a 300 m side trail to visit the Bleasdell Boulder Conservation Area. See one of the largest boulders left behind from the ice age, pushed down from the town of Madoc. There is a small 1 km loop you can try in there, too.

We passed by the village of Batawa, which has a ski hill with MTB trails, I hear. The more interesting backyards of the larger town of Frankford were an unexpected highlight and a nice change of scenery.

The large hills you will see in the area are actually eskers: mounds of sand and gravel deposits left behind by receding glaciers. Though the route follows the Trent River with its many dams and locks, we only saw glimpses of it in the distance. A quick jaunt east on any side road will take you there.

The last section is rural countryside and ends abruptly at Glen Ross Rd. (The trail continues past here to the train bridge, but this section allows ATV action and it’s a rough ride. Better to take the road around the bend to cross the Trent River, where this trail review ends at Trent-Severn Waterway Lock 7 – Glen Ross.)

It would be novel to actually cross the old trail bridges, but they are closed. 

The next segment of this Rail Trail does continue north beyond the locks off Rosebush Rd. as the Hastings Heritage Trail. It goes way up past Bancroft for 150+ km on a route ATVs use, so expect it will be more of a lumpy, bumpy trek. 

Riding along this path, I have the feeling that an initial effort was made to establish this recreational trail and then the money/interest ran out. The path narrows at times to singletrack, and the brush is starting to grow in. The base could use a little grading and there is a fair bit of loose grit that may need a few years to pack down.

None of this should discourage you from venturing on to this new find. A hybrid/gravel bike with wider tires will manage nicely. And this review, plus your visit, will spread the word.

Afterwards, find a riverside patio in Trenton for a bite or even stay over to explore the Quinte area and ride the Millennium RT too.

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3.3
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