Summer of Adventure!

The Glorious Ganaraska in Port Hope, Northumberland

What you’ll love:  Rolling rural countryside, fields of lush farmland, beaches, historic architecture, a boardwalk through a Woodland Marsh, downtown Port Hope’s restaurants and shops and two lovely clean beaches. During Covid, the beaches are closed during weekends to prevent overcrowding. The best time to visit if you want to enjoy the beach is during the week.

Only 90 minutes away from Toronto, Port Hope works well as a day trip, however, we recommend you stay a night to take in everything. This week we suggest a 30 km ride–the Glorious Ganaraska, followed by three  2km (one way)  waterfront hikes.

The Walks

  1. Stroll through Port Hope’s downtown, visiting shops and restaurants.
  2. Two kilometers (one way) from the East Beach through the AK Sculthrope Woodland Marsh to the mouth of Gage’s Creek.
  3. Two kilometres (one way) hike along the east bank of the Ganaraska River on the Ganaraska Hiking Trail to the Fish Ladder.

The Ride: 

Distance—30 km looped route largely on road with hills.    The Glorious Ganaraska is just one of  5 scenic cycling routes developed by Northumberland Tourism, and try them all.  Read Petra Hartwig’s blog’s on her experience. Our thanks to Northumberland Tourism for this excellent ride–Quick Print Map

Downtown Port Hope — If you are coming for the day, parking is available at the Municipal Parking lot by Town Hall, 56 Queen Street or by East Beach on Mill Street South. Before heading out on your bike or walk,  check out downtown Port Hope for a bite to eat–we like the Dreamer’s Cafe (2 Queen Street). Click here to learn more about  history of Port Hope.

Beautiful vistas are your reward for riding to the top of a hill. There are many stunning views of Ontario’s farmland on this route.

Port Hope’s Fresh Food Guide is your invitation to visit hardworking farmers and their families, and see beautiful fields filled with sun-ripened berries, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Visit Port Hope’s  Google Maps Fresh Food Guide Map or check out our digital Fresh Food Guide.

Sylvan Glen Conservation Area–is a great place to take a break. It is a favourite picnic and fishing spot.

Back in Port Hope –one of the first Ontario By Bike Friendly Communities as well as a founding community for the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.

The beautiful Ganaraska River runs through Port Hope. Along its banks is the Pine Ridge section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail. The southern terminus is marked with a pink granite cairn on the west bank of the River. From here you can follow the trail for 2 km under the shade of the trees until to reach the Corbett’s Dam and the fish ladder. Continue on the path under the 401 to reach Port Hope Conservation Area.

Or bring a boat and float down the Gan. Every Spring the Town hosts Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny–a wonderfully fun commemoration of the 1980 flood with teams on homemade boats racing to the mouth of the River. The event is just as much fun to watch from the banks with many people using water guns to squirt racers.

Crawford’s Lakeside Cafe is right on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and East Beach at Madison and Mill St.

East Beach is a lovely sandy beach near to restaurants with patios overlooking the Lake.  Staff will close the beach to prevent overcrowding so the best time to visit is during the week.

Don’t leave Port Hope before walking the Waterfront Trail along the eastern bluff to the AK Sculthrope Woodland Marsh.

We can thank Keith Richan and Peter Huffman for this beautiful stretch of Trail, which sits on bluff. Together they spearheaded the work to secure funding, recruit scouts and other volunteers in clean-ups and trail building to blaze a beautiful section of the Trail.

The gazebo provides a scenic and serene place for reflection.

As you walk along this path, take a moment to thank conservation leaders from yesterday, today and tomorrow for protecting and preserving so many pieces of the precious natural environment.

Boardwalk through AK Sculthrope Woodland Marsh.

The mouth of Gages Creek–a lovely quiet spot.  At this time, this path is spur for the Trail. To achieve a continuous route for the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, we use HWY /County Road 2 through Hamilton Township and into Cobourg. However, the legacy goal is to secure an alignment that follows the shore of Lake Ontario. One day the opportunity will present itself and given the passionate commitment of residents in Port Hope, Hamilton Township, Cobourg and Northumberland to the waterfront, we expect this will be achieved eventually. Enjoy but please take care and don’t leave any trace of your visit.

In the background, you can see one of a pair of railway landmarks on the Trail. The largest and most spectacular is the long stone railway viaduct, which carries CN’s Toronto-Montreal main passenger line across the broad valley of the Ganaraska River. The Greenbelt Route and Great Lakes Waterfront Trail are coincidental along HWY 2.

Port Hope’s West Beach is a pebble beach and a little more secluded. There is a playground area for the kids. Until further notice the beach is closed on weekends to avoid overcrowding during the Covid pandemic.

HOTEL CARLYLE & RESTAURANT is one of many excellent accommodations in Port Hope.

Download the Printed Maps:

Glorious Ganaraska Cycle Route–Quick Print Map with stops:
Map 3-10  in this bundle for a map to the AK Sculthrope Woodland Marsh-
Use our custom interactive Google map to check distances. And points of interest.

What to bring:
Don’t forget your sanitizer, snacks and water as facilities may not be fully open. Please respect physical distancing protocols, wear a mask when inside, and call accommodations and facilities in advance to confirm hours.

Learn More About the Communities

Port Hope Community Profile-

Accommodations and other excellent information about what to do while in Port Hope.

Port Hope-

Northumberland Tourism;

Other activities to enjoy

Treetop trekking in the Ganaraska Forest-