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.