Two Lakes – Rail Trail

Belleville to Madoc
Updated April 18, 2019
Two Lakes – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Eastern Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 38
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Intermediate
Terrain : crushed gravel, bridges, flat sections, open field, rocky patches
Faclities : parking, food close by, good trail signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 38 km (one way)

95% rail trail
5% roads, detours

Elevation – A gradual slope northward.

Terrain – The trail is made of crushed stone and gravel, with some large stones and potholes.

Skill – Intermediate.

Traffic – Bicyclists, hikers, horseback riders, ATVs, and dirt bikes, as well as snowmobiles in winter.

Maps – Plenty of signage, much of it for ATV vehicles.

Facilities – Parking lots, food, and lodging can be found in Belleville and Madoc.

Highlights – Bridges, shaded forest, and natural wetlands, as well as Moria Lake, and the town of Madoc.

Trail Fee – Free.

Phone – 613-478-1444

Website – The Trail

Similar Trails – CataraquiSeguin

Local Clubs – Kingston Velo Club, Bloomfield Bicycle Club

Access – From side roads or two parking lots: one at the south trailhead where River Rd. and Cannifton Rd. N. meet, as well as on the other end of Moira Lake, at Hwy 62 and Watson Lane.

History – This route incorporates two old rails lines to make up the Trail of Two Lakes. The Grand Junction Railway opened a route in 1877 at the south end, running north from Bellville then west to Campbellford, Hastings, and Peterborough. The Canadian National Railway (CNR) abandoned the line in 1987.

In the north end, the line was built by the Belleville & North Hastings Railway Company (B & NHR). After two years of construction in was connected in 1880 to a 9-km east-west line, running past Madoc to service iron ore mining. By 1983 the CNR closed this section due to the costly repairs needed at the Moria Lake bridge.

The Trail of Two Lakes runs for 38 km north from Belleville and up to Madoc along an old rail bed.

This Rail trail is your typical, multi-use repurposed rail line, and is more known (and used) by ATVs and snowmobiles than cyclists. As such, the surface terrain is coarse with the odd pothole and is better suited for Intermediate riders.

Since the path is unlike the fine, crushed stone of other Rail trails, a good hybrid bike with shocks or, better, a mountain bike or Fatbike is the ticket.

Bicyclists and hikers are welcome, just know that motorists are likely to pass on your ride. (We encountered perhaps eight ATVs on our trek, but they slowed down and were friendly folk.)

The rail bed continues along, with gentle curves and not too much straight sections that felt endless. Riders will come across many marshlands, giving open views and a break from the forest canopy.

One would think the bugs could be a problem in the spring, but I did not find this the case during my ride in the fall. Along the way, crossing country roads reveals small communities with cottages and farmers’ fields.

For the most part, this is a quiet, nature-filled bike ride. You may see turtles crossing the road, or songbirds in the marshes.

Just before Mudcat Rd. is the largest bridge on the trail; an old iron bridge spanning the Moira River.

I did note a long climb (harder for a train than you!) after Smith Rd. Listen for Rawdon Creek running alongside.

Right after Tuffsvile Rd. the rail line splits, another Rail trail branches left, heading west for 28 km to Campbellford.

Further north, about 15 km and on the west side, the Rail trail passes White Lake. Just before this is an underpass, where the Trans Canada Trail (another Rail trail) passes over.

The path now descends to Moira Lake and merges into Watson Lane. Crossing Hwy 62 the trail passes over a wooden bridge, where (I would conclude) are views of the two lakes.

Go 3 km more to reach the end at Seymour St. W. Taking this road east will bring you shortly into the town of Madoc, with places to eat and refuel.

At the south end, little remains in of the large Corby distillery by the river. Signal Brewery has replaced it, offering food, a patio, or an optional place to stop before your return—or before you head on to Belleville.

(Note: We had a friend help shuttle our van to the end point of our ride. A rare treat by not having to retrace our route.)

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