Tay Shore – Rail Trail Midland to Waubaushene
Posted on July 12, 2019
Tay Shore – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Central Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 17
Park Path % : 90
Road % : 10
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : smooth soil, paved, bridges
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, change rooms, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 17 km (one way)

90% rail trail path
10% road crossings, detours

Elevation – Flat as a pancake, with one notable small hill.

Terrain – All asphalt, smooth wide path, well maintained, many road crossings, and seldom busy. Entrance gates are a tight squeeze to thread.

Skill – Easy cruising. 

Maps – Map boards, and plenty of signs (most facing west?).

Traffic – Busy on nice days, with bicycles, hikers, dogs, rollerbladers, X-country skiers. Watch for turtles!

Facilities – Parking on street, toilets, benches, picnic tables, places to buy snacks, refill water bottles, outhouses and bike repair stations, eateries, lodging nearby.

Highlights – More of a fancy Park ride, scenic views of the bay and wetlands, historic Ste. Marie among the Hurons in the area.

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – 705 534 7248

Website – Tay Township, Tourism Simcoe

Similar Trails – Georgian, Greenway, Speed River

Local Clubs – Barrie Cycling Club, Collingwood Cycling Club

Access – Car parking lots in Waubaushene, on Coldwater Rd. off Hwy 400, Albert St. in Victoria Harbour, Trestle Park on Hwy 12, Sainte Marie fort, Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre.

History – This Rail line was built around 1879 with 5 flag stations on the route between Orillia and Midland. One of them, at Sturgeon Bay, would wave a flag (or lantern at night) to have the train stop for passengers.

The line served local lumber mills and connected with the busy shipping ports of Port McNicoll, Midland and Penatang to move freight inland to the southeast.

In 1912 during a blinding snowstorm, a train rear-ended another causing much damage and crew deaths.

The last Canadian National Railways steam locomotive ran on October 1958 and then sold for scrap. 

Much later in 2007, this route opened as part of the Trans Canada Trail as a paved recreational path.

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Experience the best in Rail Trails, as you cycle the 17 km of the Tay Shore Trail on the Georgian Bay coast. I have yet to encounter a better developed and scenic Rail Trail to enjoy on a sunny Sunday afternoon. (And that is exactly what we did!)

As part of a much larger trail system, this section is well-signed, flat, easy riding, with plenty to see and all paved! Yes, a paved Rail Trail which truly has turned into a Park trail and is good for any type of road bike.

Evenly placed along the route are benches to rest, picnic tables, outhouses and interpretive signs to take in the local nature and history. For train buffs, someone has placed small white signs with a detailed history of what was once a busy rail line.

As the route curves, it runs close to the shore, which you see often, from Waubaushene on to Victoria Harbour into Midland. You will see many cottages and retirement communities, and pass through two large wetlands with grand views of the bay.

Well-shaded by trees, you might think you are riding in the country but a quick look at a map shows homes and amenities close at hand. Plenty of small road crossings offer the chance to veer off and discover small marinas and beaches and alternate roads for your return.

A short 2 km spur trail on the right takes you up to the town of Port McNicoll as an alternate route.

Actually, this area has many other routes to try. The trail officially ends when you cross the large bridge and see the rebuilt historic fort — Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. (worth visiting)

It continues another 8 km as the Midland Rotary Waterfront Trail, which takes you along the shore into town.

From there, a short ride on the road and on the Mid/Pen Trail connects you with the Tiny + N. Simcoe Rail Trail in Penetanguishene. On the other end, this trail continues south to Orillia as the Uhthoff Rail Trail. 

Add the Oro-Medonte leg and you have a weekend of riding known as the Simcoe County Loop Trail and part of the Trans Canada Trail. The Tay Shore section of this large loop is the smoothest riding. Expect some other parts to be rough where wide, gravel bike tires are needed.

Consider camping over at Awenda Provincial Park, to ride there and here also.

Head up Hwy 400 to start right off the highway at Waubaushene for your Rail Trail touring adventure.

Tay Shore bicycle path map

Midland bike trail map

Reviews
3.8
Total Score 2 REVIEWS
Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
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Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout: