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Bicycling the Rideau
Ottawa to Cataraqui Trail to Kingston
(191 km without side trips)

The following are turn by turn directions for a self-guided bicycle tour. Mate this information with a paper or digital map (see the Maps Page for information on various maps of the Rideau).

This is a self-guided bicycle tour from Ottawa to Kingston via the Cataraqui Trail. If you want an all paved road tour, then please see the Grand Tour - Ottawa to Kingston. Depending on your skill (stamina) as a bicycler, for the average bicycler, this is a hard one day, a moderate two day or a relaxing three day journey. Please note that the kilometre distances are only approximate, they have been measured off a map. The road portion of this tour are on lower traffic paved back roads. The Cataraqui Trail follows an abandoned rail bed, so it is flat with a few rough sections (see the Cycling Notes on the Cataraqui Trail Website).

Place names with links will lead you to a map and description of that community.

Highlights of this trip outside of the many attractions in Kingston and Ottawa include the Rideau Canal Waterway (stops at several lockstations), the scenery along the Cataraqui Trail, the beautiful villages of Portland, Merrickville, Kars and Manotick and the interesting variety in the Town of Smiths Falls. Plus of course the lovely scenery along the rural back roads.

If you see any errors in this information, please email me.

Symbol Legend
Bicycle Route
Route Arrow - continue along main route Right or Left Turn Arrow Side Loop - a side trip off the main route Stop of Interest Bicycle Route - where this route intersects another bicycle route or an alternate route
Ottawa to Kingston Route Directions
  Km Location Description
0 Hogs Back The Lockstation at Hogs Back marks the start of our journey. You can get there by following the bicycle paths (head out to Carleton University and from there to Hogs Back). Follow Hogs Back Road east to Riverside Drive.
1 Riverside Drive Turn south (right) onto Riverside Drive and continue to Mooney's Bay Park
2 Mooney's Bay Park A City of Ottawa Park on the shores of the Rideau River.
2 Riverside Drive Continue south on Riverside Drive, crossing Hunts Club Road.
6 Riverside Road Continue south on Riverside Road to Limebank Road
8 Limebank Road Continue south on Limebank Road and take it to Earl Armstrong Road
alternate route 8 Long Island Locks Alternate An alternate route, in order to visit the Long Island Locks is to turn right onto River Road (County Road 19), rather than going south on Limebank Road, and follow River Road south to Nicolls Island Road (8 km). Turn right (west) onto Nicolls Island Road and follow it to the Long Island Locks. After visiting the locks, cross the dam and turn left (south) onto Cecil Rowat Lane (it crosses the weir) to its intersection with McLean Crescent (0.7 km). Follow McLean Crescent south to Bravat Drive (0.2 km), turn left (east) onto Bravat Drive and follow it to Lena Avenue (0.15 km). Turn right (south) onto Lena Avenue and follow it to Long Island Road (0.55 km). Turn left (east) onto Long Island Road and follow it south to Bridge St (1.6 km). Turn right (west) onto Bridge Street and take it into Manotick (0.5 km). You are now back on the original route at km 21.
13 Earl Armstrong Road Turn west (right) onto Earl Armstrong Road and take it to Spratt Road.
15 Spratt Road Turn south (left) onto Spratt Road and follow it County Road 8 (Mitch Owens Road).
19 County Road 8 Turn west (right) onto County Road 8 (Mitch Owens Road) and follow it to Manotick.
21 Manotick Manotick offers a variety of services. Be sure to take time out to visit historic Watson's Mill.
21 County Road 13 From Manotick, head south along County Road 13 (Rideau Valley Drive) to Kars.
30 Kars The Village of Kars is a small place with few amenities but lovely ambiance.
30 County Road 13 Head south along County Road 13 to Baxter Conservation Area.
38 Baxter Conservation Area Conservation areas offer picnic tables and washrooms. A small day fee applies.
38 Dilworth Road From Baxter Conservation area turn west onto Dilworth Road and take it to County Road 5. Note that you will be passing by Rideau River Provincial Park.
41 County Road 5 Turn south (left) on County Road 5 and take it to County Road 44
47 County Road 44 Turn south (left) onto County Road 44 and take it accross the bridge over the Rideau Canal to River Road (on your right, just past the bridge).
48 Kemptville
(7 km)
You can continue straight along Cty Rd. 44 to the town of Kemptville, only 3.5 km away, offers several services, including a fast food strip with a Tim Hortons (turn south at the intersection with County Road 43).
48 River Road Turn southwest onto River Road and take it to Burritts Rapids.
stop.gif - 624 Bytes 60 Burritts Rapids Burritts Rapids is one of the oldest communities on the Rideau. If you feel like a hike to stretch your legs, try the Tip to Tip Trail (start from the Burritts Rapids Lockstation).
60 River Road Continue along River Road to Upper Nicholsons Locks
64 Upper Nicholsons Locks A lovely lockstation with swing bridge. Picnic tables and washrooms.
64 River Road Continue along River Road to County Road 43
66 County Road 43 Turn southeast (right) onto County Road 43 and continue to Merrickville
68 Merrickville Merrickville is well worth a stop. Accommodations, groceries, restaurants, and many shopping opportunities. Visit the Blockhouse and the locks. While you are in Blockhouse Park, stop in at The Depot, run by Friends of the Rideau and pick up an interesting Rideau book. Take a boat tour of the Rideau on the electric cruise boat, the Harriet By.
alternate route 68 Toledo Alternate A lower traffic alternative to passing through Smiths Falls is to head from Merrickville to Jasper, from there to Toledo and for there to the Cataraqui Trail near Lombardy. See the end of this section for details of this route. Or, continue on to Smiths Falls where highlights will include a fast food strip (incl. Tim Hortons) and the Rideau Canal Visitor Information Centre.
68 Cty Rd. 43 From Merrickville, take County Road 43 west to the turn-off for Kilmarnock.
80 Kilmarnock Lock Side Trip
(2 km)
Kilmarnock Lock - a peaceful rural lock with a lovely wooden swing bridge. Picnic tables and washrooms.
80 County Road 43 Continue west along County Road 43 to the turn-off (left) for Old Slys.
92 Old Slys Locks Old Slys is another lovely Rideau lock. Picnic tables and washrooms.
92 Jasper Avenue From Old Slys, continue down Old Slys Road and follow it as it swings into Jasper Avenue. Continue along Jasper Avenue to the lights at Brockville Street.
95 Lock & Museum Side Trip
(2 km)
To take this side trip, you might find it easier to walk your bike across the intersection and then head north, down the west side of Beckwith Street, over the bridge to the first road on the left, leading to the Combined Lock. You'll also find the walkway to the Rideau Canal Visitor Information Centre just a few feet down this road (on the north side). Once you've done these, cross the bridge over the weir (water dam) and continue straight on Confederation Drive which will swing around to the north to join Strathcona Street. Head west down Strathcona Street to Abbott Street. Turn south on Abbott Street and just after you cross the first bridge will be the entrance to the Detached Lock and the Bascule Bridge. Once you visited these, head back to Abbott Street and turn south on Lombard Street.
95 Lombard Street Continue straight through the lights on to Lombard Street and follow Lombard to the turn off (left) for Tim Hortons/Harveys.
96 Head of Cataraqui Trail You'll find the starting point of the Cataraqui Trail located behind Harveys Restaurant. Follow the Cataraqui Trail west to its intersection with County Road 1.
105.5 Cataraqui Trail This is the point where the Toledo Alternate Route rejoins this route. Continue west along the Cataraqui Trail to Portland Station Road.
121 Portland You can exit the Cataraqui Trail at Portland Station Road and take it into Portland. Once you've "done" Portland, you can return to the Cataraqui Trail via this route.
121 Cataraqui Trail Continue along the Cataraqui Trail to its intersection with County Road 42
126 Forfar Side Trip
(2 km)
A short 1 km jaunt to the west down County Road 42 will bring you to ForFar, home of the Forfar Cheese Factory. Pick up a variety of delicious cheeses, including fresh (squeaky) curd cheese.
alternate route 126 Newboro Lock Alternate Route An alternate route, in order to visit the locks at Newboro is to exit the Cataraqui Trail at County Road 42). Head west on County Road 42 (stop in Forfar for some cheese) and follow it all the way to Newboro (9 km). Newboro offers shopping, dining and accommodation. To return to the original route you'll have to backtrack 5 km on County Road 42 to Crosby. Then head south on Highway 15 for 0.3 km to Crosby Road and follow it for 3 km to Chaffeys Lock Road (or you could go down Hwy 15 to Chaffeys Lock Road). Turn right (south) on Chaffeys Lock Road and follow it for 3.5 km to where it intersects Cataraqui Trail. Turn right (west) onto the Cataraqui Trail and follow it to Chaffeys Locks.
126 Cataraqui Trail Continue west along the Cataraqui Trail to Chaffeys Locks.
139.5 Chaffeys Locks At Chaffeys, stop for a bit to take in the locks, the beautiful grounds of the Opinicon Resort Hotel, visit the Chaffeys Lockmasters House Museum. To get to Chaffeys, you might find that it is easiest to exit the Cataraqui Trail at Indian Lake Road and take Opinicon Road into back into Chaffeys (less than 1 km away).
139.5 Cataraqui Trail Continue west along the Cataraqui Trail to its intersection with Maple Leaf Road.
Turn Left 155 Maple Leaf Road The first road that crosses the trail is Maple Leaf Road. Turn south (left) off the trail onto Maple Leaf Road and follow it just a short distance to Opinicon Road.
Turn Right 155 Opinicon Road Turn west onto Opinicon Road and follow it to County Road 10.
156 Cty. Rd. 10 Turn south (left) onto County Road 10 (to Perth Road Village) and continue to the exit for County Road 12 (Moreland Dixon Road) at the south end of Inverary.
167 Cty. Rd. 12 Turn east (left) onto County Road 12 (Moreland Dixon Road) and take it to Sunbury.
171 Cty. Rd. 11 At Sunbury, turn south (right) on County Road 11 and take it to Kingston Mills Road
183 Kingston Mills
(4 km)
Take Kingston Mills Road 2 kilometres east to the Kingston Mills Lockstation. Beautiful scenery, picnic tables and washrooms.
183 Cty. Rd. 10 Continue south on County Road 10. When you pass under Highway 401 it will turn into Montreal Street which you can take into downtown Kingston.
191 Kingston You're done.
Toledo Alternate - Merrickville to Cataraqui Trail
(this will bypass Smiths Falls via Toledo and Jasper)
Turn Right 68 County Road 16 Take St. Lawrence street south out of Merrickville, and turn southwest (right) onto County Road 16. Take County Road 16 to Jasper.
83 County Road 16 From Jasper, continue along County Road 16 to County Road 29
left 88 County Road 29 Turn south (left) on County Road 29 and continue to the exit for Toledo.
95 County Road 8 Turn (right) onto County Road 8 and take it in to Toledo
96 Toledo Gas station with groceries. Limited services.
96 County Road 1 From Toledo, head north on County Road 1 and take it to where it intersects the Cataraqui Trail (just past where County Road 1 crosses Strictland Road)
110 Cataraqui Trail You're back on the main route - head west along the Cataraqui Trail.
My thanks to Dave Wellstood who provided several updates/improvements to this route after travelling it in 2006.

Thanks also to Michael Whitty who cycled this route in 2013 and provided several good suggestions for alternate routes and side trips to visit more of the lockstations.


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Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

©1996- Ken W. Watson