Dodgeville

Random Wanderings and Wonderings

Peterborough to Hastings rail trail

By , August 20, 2012

 

The Peterborough to Hastings rail trial curves away from the Trent River after kissing the shore.

After our thoroughly enjoyable trip on the Peterborough to Omemee rail trail a few weeks ago, I decided to take a trip down a second Peterborough-area rail trail this weekend, heading east out of town this time. Risa was unable to join me for the ride, so I packed up my day-trip kit and did this one solo.

The Peterborough to Hastings rail trail is not yet part of the Trans Canada Trail, but is listed as a proposed addition and there is some work afoot to make it official (PDF) and make improvements where necessary. As it stands now, the trail is formally maintained only in winter as a snowmobile trail, leaving summer maintenance to volunteers acting on an ad hoc basis with no coordinating body.

Compared to the Peterborough to Omemee trail, the lack of coordination shows: the route to Hastings is a little more wild and a bit more of a challenging ride. Unlike the smooth wide bed of gravel dust on the Omemee trail, the ride to Hastings is mostly on dirt double-track with some large gravel, loose sand, and other trail hazards along the way. Some of the bridges seemed to be in rough shape, with some surface planks rotting away and exposing holes big enough to see through to the rivers below. The trail is probably smooth as butter¬†when it’s covered with a couple of feet of hard packed snow but it can be a little jarring on a bike in the summer. It’s certainly in good enough condition and offers enough variation for an average cyclist to have an enjoyable trip, but you won’t find any beach cruisers on it. Front suspension on my mountain bike was most welcome by the halfway mark.

The trail was exceptionally quiet considering that it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon for cycling or hiking. The first 90 minutes of my two hour putter along the trail were blissfully solo, without another soul in sight at any time, even when crossing intersections. The last half hour was almost as quiet and I only encountered four people on the trail before I turned onto the streets of Hastings. I imagine that it’s not quite as tranquil when the snowmobiles hit the trail, but it’s a very relaxing summer day trip.

The trail ends somewhat unceremoniously in the middle of the Trent River in Hastings (see the gallery below for more information about that), but you can make connections from there to other trails that continue to Campbellford, Tweed, and Sharbot Lake. Traversing gaps to yet more trails that can get you as far as Bancroft or within hailing distance of Bon Echo Provincial Park.

The Peterborough to Hastings rail trail starts approximately 7 km southeast of downtown Peterborough at Keene Road and runs about 29 km to Hastings. Like most rail trails, it’s fairly flat and grades are slight enough that they won’t trouble even the most casual of cyclists. The scenery ranges from wide-open farmers’ fields to thick forest growth and includes views of numerous rivers, creeks, marshes, swamps, cows, and even a couple of trailer parks heading into Hastings. Intersections are mostly quiet dirt roads. There are no obvious supply facilities or rest stops along the way other than farmhouses that back onto the trail; the village of Keene is about 2 km south of the trail at the 9 km mark, but that’s about it. Be sure to pack a repair kit and adequate food and water.

Check out the gallery after the jump for the usual ride pictures and commentary.

2 Responses to “Peterborough to Hastings rail trail”

  1. B Hill says:

    I would like to bike from Peterborough to Hastings. Is the trail well defined and how long will it take. We are fit but not extreme riders. Would like to bike to Hastings and find a b&b to stay and head back in the morning.
    Can you help or do you know of a nice 3-6 hour bike trail from Peterborough in any direction that is nice, well defined, not terrible difficult and stay overnight to return the next day.
    Thank you,
    B

    • Val Dodge says:

      Hi B,

      The trail is much improved from last year; see the current condition of the trail at http://valdodge.com/2013/07/28/peterborough-to-hastings-rail-trail-ii-new-and-improved/

      The trail is very well defined and in terrific shape this year. It’s easy riding with no hills; almost any cyclist should have no problems on it. Depending on your riding speed, it should take 1.5-3 hours to ride from Keene Road outside Peterborough right into Hastings. Allow more time if you want to make a side trip to Lang Pioneer Village or Keene along the way.

      The Welcome Cyclists website (http://welcomecyclists.ca/) lists a couple of bike-friendly B&Bs in Hastings if you want to stay overnight.

      Another option for a quick trip from Peterborough is to take the Omemee trail (see http://valdodge.com/2012/08/01/peterborough-to-omemee-rail-trail/) into Lindsay. It’s a touch longer than the trail to Hastings, but is in equally good condition. If you’re into camping and have a light tent, Emily Provincial Park is close to the trail outside Omemee.

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