The Niagara Region, on both sides of the Niagara River has many regional recreational pathways and trails (for municipal parks & pathways):
Erie Canal Trailway 100 miles /160 km
The Erie Canalway Trail is 100 miles long and has four main developed segments along the canal path that starts at the Niagara River between the Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda heading east to the City of Troy. The Erie Canal Trail begins in the City of Tonawanda, passing through the Town of Tonawanda, the Town of Amherst in Erie County, and the Town of Pendleton in Niagara County. The Trail extends from the Town of Lockport in Niagara County to Palmyra in Wayne County, passing through the Town of Royalton in Niagara County, and Albion, Gaines, Murray, and Ridgeway in Orleans County. The Trail surface is stone dust; with some portions in Tonawanda and Rochester surfaced with asphalt. The trails are used for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and in some sections, for horseback riding and snowmoblinng. Generally, no motor vehicles are allowed.
Opened in 1825, the Erie Canal kept expanding until the early 1900s, and only after growing competition from railroads, highways and the St. Lawrence Seaway, did commercial traffic on the Canal System declined in the second part of the 20th century. Today, the waterway has become a recreational and historic resource. Pleasure crafts cruise the canal, and thousands of visitors and residents enjoy the miles of pathwayss, parks and historic sites along the canals. Campsites are located at Lock 30 in Macedon and at the Holley Canal Port.
A free map of the New York State Canalway Trail System is available from the New York State Canal Corporation. To obtain a copy, or to learn more about the Canalway Trail, call: Toll-free (800)-4CANAL4 or write: New York State Canal Corporation P.O. Box 189 Albany, NY 12201-0189. Canal Trailway Website
Bruce Trail 773 km / 480 miles
The Bruce Trail is one of the most popular trails in North America stretching 773 kilometres (480 miles) from Queenston Heights in the south to Tobermory at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula. It follows the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment (see Niagara Escarpment Commission), a ribbon of near wilderness running through one of the most populated parts of the country, creating a vital natural link for plants, animals and birds. The Bruce Trail is rugged in places and is punctuated by waterfalls cascading over steep dolostone cliffs. The Trail also connects picturesque villages, and historical sites. In recognition of its international importance as an ecosystem and its exceptional scenic beauty, the Niagara Escarpment Reserve was named a World Biosphere Reserve in 1990 by UNESCO.
The Trail is marked with white blazes; that is, white rectangles that are approximately 6 inches (15 centimetres) high and 2 inches (5 centimetres) wide have been painted on trees, fence posts, and rocks, A turn is indicated by a pair of blazes, one above the other, with the upper one offset in the direction of the turn. In the Niagara area, there are numerous side trails that lead to various points of interest. These are also marked, but with blue or yellow blazes.
A detailed guide book to the Trail is available from the Bruce Trail Association.
For more information on the Bruce Trail, please visit their official site
The trail winds nearly 2000 kilometres from Windsor to Fort Erie with the Wainfleet and Port Colborne sections following Highway 3, where hikers can enjoy the scenery and the Carolinian forests.
Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail
The Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail stretches approximately 325 kilometres from Trenton to Stoney Creek with new sections in the Niagara Region. It links communities, natural areas, parks and promenades, marinas and yacht clubs, historic places, commercial districts and other trail systems. It is a multi-use trail suitable for both cyclists and hikers. Please use caution and obey traffic laws when using the roadways. For more information on the Waterfront Trail, please refer to the Waterfront Trail Guidebook for sale at bookstores and from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, 207 Queen's Quay West, Suite 580, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 1A7, 416-314-9490.
Welland Canals Trail
This stone dust trail along the Welland Canal connects Welland to Sugarloaf Harbour in Port Colborne. Sections continuing from Port Colborne to Fort Erie are still under construction.
Friendship Trail 16 km
The Friendship Trail extends for 16km east from the country village of Ridgeway across picturesque Six Mile Creek, and through quiet residential streets, connecting waterfront parks along Lake Erie to historic Old Fort Erie, with views of the Buffalo Skyline, and to the Niagara River Recreation Trail along the Niagara River. Free Parking is available in parking lots off Ridge Road, Crescent Road, and Lakeshore Road. Ridgeway, at the westerly end of the Trail, has ample parking and a wide variety of commercial facilities and eating establishments. Lake Erie Access is found at Burleigh Rd, Windmill Point Rd, Stone Mill Rd, and Crescent Rd.
Much of the trail is built upon an abandoned rail line, and is relatively level and smooth and in summer is used by walkers, hikers, cyclists and rollerbladers, and in winter by hikers and cross-country skiers. The trail is also wheelchair accessible. The Friendship Trail forms the southerly link of the Greater Niagara Circle Route, a 150km multi-use trail system at the east end of the Niagara Peninsula. The Friendship Trail is also part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail - connecting to Trenton, Ontario, and the 17,000km Transportation-Canada Trail system.
Niagara Falls Loop - 29 km
This ride, following the Welland-Chippawa Power Canal from the Niagara, provides a loop easily reached from most anywhere in the city. It guides visitors past the mighty Falls with a link between the two off road trails along the Niagara River. Allow 2 hours plus stops. Niagara Falls Loop (29 km)
Grimsby Mountain Loop - 38 km
This generally quite route takes you through the rolling farmland on top of the Escarpment, south of Grimsby, beginning and ending in the town of Smithville (the only good place to stock up on food and water for the trip). Along Ridge Rd. you will be rewarded with magnificent views over the Lake Ontario Plain and, then the route takes you onto Wolverton Rd, with its extended steep downhill stretch down Wolverton Mountain. Some traffic may be encountered along Regional Road 20 south of Grassie for about two kilometres. Grimsby Mountain Loop
The Lincoln Loop - 40 km
This tour leads you past Niagara - orchards, vineyards, farms, a super waterfall and some quiet streams and settlements. The clockwide loop begins & ends in Jordan, a village of quaint shops, restaurants and wineries (this is also the stock-up point). The route detours into Ball's Falls, with a lovely waterfall, and a pioneer village of Niagara area buildings. There are pretty rolling hills for exploring and picnicking. If you go counter-clockwise, the climb up the Niagara Escarpment becomes steeper the further west you go. Lincoln Loop (40 km)
The Louth Loop - 24 km
Start in Jordan (pack a picnic) and head up the Niagara Escarpment to Ball's Falls. Numerous wineries and orchards are encountered on the very scenic route up and back along quiet roads. The Louth Loop (24 km)
The St. Catharines Loop - 39 km
This loop takes you right around the City of St. Catharines and along the Welland Canal into Thorold. Stop at Lock Three to watch the boats and the locks, and visit the St. Catharines Historical Museum. On Government Rd, watch for the Welland Canals Parkway Recreational Trail on your left as you follow Government Road at Glendale Avenue. Coming down from Thorold on Bradley Street, to your north side is the route of the mid-1800s Second Welland Canals. Glendale Road from Mountain Road to Pelham Road is busy, but there are bike lanes almost all of the way. On the west side of St. Catharines, the road route to the Waterfront Trail passes two wineries and the Wiley's Juice factory. St. Catharines Loop (39km)
Niagara-on-the-Lake Loop 43 km
This loop heads west from the Clock Tower in NOTL's Olde Town and passes a number of wineries on the way to the Welland Canal. Watch ships "climb the mountain" and visit the St. Catharines Museum, before returning east to a leisurely cycle along the Niagara River Trail, with a stop at the Printing Museum in Queenston, and several more wineries. Niagara-on-the-Lake (43 km)
The Port Robinson Loop - 27 km
This route takes you across the Welland Canal by ferry at Port Robinson, takes you through scenic countryside of Fonthill, along Hollow Road, before looping east to historical Allanburg, and then south to the east side of Port Robinson. Be sure to check ferry schedules. Port Robinson Loop (27 km)
The South Niagara Falls Loop - 30 km
Start at Kingsbridge Park, with favourable winds heading east along the Welland River, there are good picnic spots along the Niagara Parkway. South Niagara Falls Loop (30 km)
Long Beach Pedal - 65 km
This is a pretty flat ride west from Welland through the Wainfleet swamps and countryside of the southwestern Niagara Region, with a midway stop at Long Beach Conservation Area and beach! Then return back to Welland with the prevailing winds at your back! Long Beach Pedal (65 km)
The Ridgeway Ramble - 70 km
This route starts and finishes at Ridgeway, and passes through rolling countryside with a possible side loop to the historic Point Abino Lighthouse. You can finish with an ice cream in Ridgeway's quaint downtown. Ridgeway Ramble (70 km)
Fort Erie Loop - 60 km
Heads west through some quiet farmland and past the Willoughby Marsh, turning south to Lake Erie. There are several spots for a quick dip in the lake as you head back east towards the Peace Bridge. Fort Erie Loop
The Thorold-Welland Loop - 57 km
This loop takes you past the Short Hills Provincial Park to the scenic Welland River road, passing many community shops and restaurants, for cyclist's sustenance. See a variety of Niagara attractions along the way, including Maple sugar farms, nurseries and stables, the famous "Comfort Maple", Welland Airport, parks, Brock University, finishing with a descent of the Niagara Escarpment. Thorold-Welland Loop (57 km)
There are also a wide range of municipal parks, parklands and recreational trails: