Victoria – Rail Trail

Lindsay to Haliburton
Posted on October 17, 2020
Victoria – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 85
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : sandy spots, crushed gravel, drains well, open field
Faclities : parking, toilet, outhouse, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length –  85 km (one way)

90% rail trail path
10% road crossings, detours

Elevation – Flat as she goes with a few noticeable inclines 

Terrain – crushed stone, gravel, asphalt, very sandy and rocky north of Kinmount.

Skill – Easy, north part difficult

Maps – A few map boards, well marked.

Traffic – Bicycles, hikers, horses, ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, Nordic skiers

Facilities – Limited parking, towns of Lindsay, Fenelon Falls, Kinmount and Haliburton have food, lodging & toilets, bike share station by locks

Highlights – Wilderness, Waterfront cottages,  Fenelon Falls & locks, Highlands Cinemas in Kimount, old train stations and old locomotive in Haliburton

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – 705 324 9411

Website – Kawartha Lakes

Similar Trails – Victoria South, Uxbridge Lindsay,  N. Simcoe + Tiny

Local Clubs – Peterborough Cycling Club

Access –

  • Lindsay: Trail starts north of Pottinger St. on Victoria Ave. N with only street parking. At the end of William St. N and Champlain Blvd. there is more room or where it crosses on Thunder Bridge Rd.
  • Fenlon Falls: If you are heading south park at the old train station, 103 Lindsay St.
    If you are cycling northward park near the locks around Garnet Graham Beach Park \
  • Kinmount: Austin Sawmill Heritage Park
  • Haliburton: Gelert Rd. lot (7290 Haliburton Country R. 1)

 

History – The Victoria Railway started running trains in 1878 to Haliburton. Originally intended as an immigrant settlement project for settlers to give business back to the railroad. But by the time it was built it was a means of extracting lumber and minerals from the north.

Eventually, Lindsay became an important train hub with lines from other railways running in all directions. Today sadly it has no tracks left. 

It was acquired by the Midland Railway in 1882, and eventually by the CNR in 1923. Regular passenger service ceased in 1960 and freight service lasted till 1978.

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The Victoria Rail trail is a popular 85 km route running north through Ontario farm fields into the forests of cottage country. A long and winding path that keeps cyclists engaged with the ever-changing geography that passes by from Lindsay to Haliburton.

Over the years I have ridden separate sections and it being so long and different, I think it best to divide the Victoria RT into three parts. 

From the south end in Lindsay, it starts as a  paved path but soon enough, as you leave town it becomes that familiar crushed fine gravel rail bed riders are used to. There are a few odd larger stones to avoid but little else to be concerned about.  

Soon you pass through a rock cut to cross the open wetlands of Sturgeon Lake. Stop for a moment at the bridge to take in how large this marsh is.

After there is a little bit of a climb to some nice scenic vistas over farms and fields. This part is an open trail with no shady woodlots to pass through. The going is pleasant right to the old train station in Fenelon Falls 20 km away.

To get to the next section of the trail a short road riding is required as the train swing bridge is only in use in the winter for snowmobiles. No matter, taking Lindsay St. (in Fenelon Falls; confused?) to cross the only bridge in town, this leads you to the locks and waterfalls, a worthy sightseeing stop.

If you start your ride in this summer tourist town, head north of the locks along the waterfront. Take note of returning after your ride to the pizza, craft beer and ice cream storefronts by the locks, a perfect triad. Yum!

This trail takes you along the waterfront of Cameron Lake by fancy cottages and docks. Then up the Burnt River through forests and fields to Kinmount for 30 km

Along the way, there are opportunities to stop and take in a snack break when you spot a set of rapids or waterfalls.

In the village of Kinmount, is a park with a dam, an old train station and a sawmill museum. This can be another start point to go south or further north to Haliburton.

The route to Kinmount should be fine for med-sized bike tires but beyond it gets really rough with stones, sand and becomes frustrating heading to Haliburton.

I and others have tried to push farther north but the sand is so loose, I would only suggest it on mountain bikes… even better a Fatbike. If you can make it up 4 km to the large bridge the riverside route is worth seeing.

This Rail Trail is well used by everyone so expect to encounter more travellers, cycling and hiking on the path closer to any of the towns.

We were surprised at how well maintained and level the terrain was considering the number of ATVs that passed us. And this trail has lots of them! Just take note of their presence, give them space to pass and hope the dust is at a minimum.

This route is well suited for an overnight stay on your trek, be it in Lindsay, Fenlon Falls or Haliburton and the trail runs through the Log Chateau campgrounds as well.

Another Rail Trail I reviewed earlier by the same name continues SE from Lindsay, as the Victoria South section for 29 km more, if you want do it all.

Victoria Rail Trail map

Victoria Rail Trail map

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