Welland Canal – Park Trail

St. Catharines to Port Colborne
Posted on June 30, 2018 / 10057
Welland Canal – Park Trail
Listing Types : Park Trail
Location : Central Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 42
Park Path % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy, Intermediate
Terrain : sandy spots, paved, bridges
Faclities : parking, food close by, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 42 km (one way)

95% park path
5% road crossings, detours

Elevation – hill at each lock on the north end, flattens out beyond Thorold

Terrain – paved wide path, bridge crossing, a few short road detours

Skill – all levels

Maps – good signage

Facilities –  food and lodging available along the way, restrooms, bike repair station

Highlights – freighters, locks, bridges

Trail Fee – free

Phone – none

Website – Niagara Cycling Tourism

Similar Trails – Niagara River, Hamilton Beach, Rideau Canal

Local Clubs – Short Hills Club, Bikefit Sunflowers

Access –  Parking north end starts at Charles Ansell Park, south end starts HH Knoll Lakeview Park, Welland Canal Centre and Museum, Allanburg bridge, many parking spots on route

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The Welland Canal 42 km bike path makes for a great weekend outing or two. This historic canal from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie is a wonderful, scenic and easy route by the waters edge.

The sights are varied along the way. The large freighters drifting down the canal and giant locks are a sight to see. There are stretches of homes, industry, open parkland with the occasional bridge.

One follows the canal for most of the way on the west side. Well marked with a few detours this path is paved and wide with room for all.

From the top you can start at Lake Ontario by also taking in the George Nicholson Trail another 3km but officially it starts at the first bridge/lock on Lakeshore Rd.

As you cycle along  the edge of St. Catharines and the canal, you will pass two locks as you start to climb. By the town of Thorold  and the third lock you are now going to have to climb the Niagara Escarpment which is a good sized hill.  The rest of the ride is easy except for this section.

Beyond this, one crosses a few bridges to travel over an island which has natural park land and wooded areas.

The path diverts away near the city of Welland to run along the old canal for 14 km before joining up to the main again. There’s an option of riding a path on the opposite side, perhaps on your return.

On this section are signs of industry and old bridges no longer needed. At one point the canal is filled in to create a still surface for the boat races at the Flatwater Centre.

As you ride south to Port Colborne the path jogs a bit onto an island, across and back to the westside to end at the waters of Lake Erie at a marina and park.

There are numerous small towns with amenities along the way to plan a lunch or stay over. I also saw a few free bike repair stations if you need one.

Doing the entire length and back can be done at 70 km. But I think many of you will plan to ride one or the other end or perhaps the middle section.

This trail can be made into a larger 140 km loop to meet up with the Niagara Parkway which makes for a great weekend loop.  

Open Street Maps

Welland Canal bike route map

Total Score 5 REVIEWS
Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
  • April 11, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Great path, gets you into nature, needs some repair stations found one in Welland but few in between and want operational . Great in the summer especially by the flat water area and if some events are happening .Must be extremely careful if heading to the Dain city section also needs signage to direct you behind the rowing to the path to port Colborne Besides that what a unbelievable enjoyable biking path, nevermind the one from Port Colborne to Fort Erie or Fort Erie to NOTL Niagara has so much to offer.

  • February 28, 2021 at 8:23 am

    One of my favourite trails, if it is not too windy out. One big hill around the Robin Hood Plant and in Thorold. Well maintained and all off road.

  • September 27, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Easy ride. Go to Nickel beach in Port Colborne. Great day. Very enjoyable.

  • July 12, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Scenic, peaceful path that for the most part, is in exceptionally good condition. The path is rarely crowded and has plenty of places to stop and rest. Long site lines allow for a relaxed group ride.

  • June 30, 2018 at 9:59 am

    An epic long park trail, good for any type of bike and rider. Make it long or a short ride and come back. Hilly on the north end, flat on the south.

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Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout: