On the shores of the Bay of Quinte, I found last year 12 km of leisurely bike paths in the city of Belleville. Just off Hwy 401 in eastern Ontario, this bike route runs down the Moira River to the harbour and beyond.
These easy and well maintained park paths consist of 4 sections. There is on the north end right off the Hwy, Riverside Park, with Zwicks Park on the south west side of the mouth of the river, and the Bayshore trail on the east side. Connecting the three park areas is the Parrott Riverfront Trail running up along the river.
The city of Belleville is trying to promote cycling and has made connections with these snippets of trail to make this a safe and idyllic journey with varying scenery.
I did not see tons of signage but a look at a map would remove any confusion, and by just following the center line we never felt lost.
A likely start to your ride would be at the north end coming off the highway at Riverside Park. Here you can leave your car and do a few loops in the park before heading down the path to the bay.
Take note of the Quinte Mall just west of the park to find lunch on your return perhaps.
On your way down there is “pirate ship” playground to amuse your kids. The trail splits briefly to fine gravel by the river’s edge or the asphalt path by the street.
As you make your way down, numerous dams and concrete barriers in the river tells one the Moira River must have a long history of spring flooding that needs to be managed. Natural waterfalls cascade over the riverbed made of layers of sedimentary stone.
Eventually, this trail will take you over a large dam to the other side. Now the path travels right on the edge of the river along a concrete walled route. Though not very natural in this section, I can see it serves to protect the banks from flood damage.
The path backs onto Front St. in the old downtown core. It’s worth a look as they are revitalizing this sleepy town with some newly landscaped sidewalks and storefronts.
The last underpass at Dundas St. requires a decision to head east or west. Both require about a 600 metre road detour. I would suggest going east first by heading down to the marina and pier, then east along the water’s edge to Bayshore Park.
Travelling this winding, quiet path along the Bay of Quinte, with pockets of parkland, gardens, benches to stop at, produces photo opportunities if you have a good eye.
The path does continue past Herchimer Ave. as more of a short, overgrown gravel hiking trail to Farley Ave., if you feel the need.
As you ride back, you now have the option of crossing the road bridge at Dundas St. over the Moira River to add 4 more kilometres to your ride by looping around Zwicks Park, or head back up along the river.
If driving 2 hours from Toronto for this outing seems intriguing, may I suggest staying overnight and also biking a local Rail Trail – either Millenium or Two Lakes.
With little else in the area as off road pleasure riding, I am pleased to mention this location for you to explore on two wheels in this belle ville.