Essex County’s section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is substantial part of the visionary County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS). Over the next 15 years, CWATS will link seven local municipalities with an active transportation network spanning some 800 km. But you don’t have to wait to enjoy this incredible peninsula.
Located in the southern reaches of Ontario, Essex County has lovely weather, kilometres of flat quiet country roads and trails, farm land, award winning wineries, beaches, historic lakeside towns, forts and beautiful parks, and an Island as well. It is a great location for a 2-5 day get away.
Beginning in the north along the St. Clair River, the towns of Lakeshore and Tecumseh have grand waterfront parks that are community favourites: Lakeview Park in Lakeshore and Lakewood Park in Tecumseh have beaches, concession stands, playgrounds, washrooms and ample parking.
There are two conservation areas: Ruscom Shores CA and Tremblay Beach CA. Both are located in Lakeshore and they protect the last two marshes on Essex County’s north shoreline of Lake St. Clair. They are naturalized parks with trails and paths. Great place to see shore birds.
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail continues through the City of Windsor and re-enters Essex County along the Detroit River travelling through the towns of:
Along the route, you will find numerous beaches beckoning you for a swim, lush farm fields selling goods, and excellent wineries, many with food service. In LaSalle you can entre onto the Herb Gray Parkway Trail for 17 km of dedicated path. Visit Amherstburg’s Fort Malden, waterfront parks and gardens, and enjoy a lunch on a patio. In Colchester, dip your toes in Lake Erie at the Colchester Beach near to their lovely Peace Garden. For a glimpse of our pioneering heritage visit John R. Homestead.
In Kingsville the Waterfront Trail joins the Chrysler Greenway for a short while. The Chrysler Greenway is a converted rail-trail with a crushed limestone surface, and along it you will find the restored Kingsville Train Station – now a delightful restaurant with patio seating.
Leamington has a bustling downtown area with shops, restaurants and places to stay. Just east of Leamington is Point Pelee National Park, a world-renowned birding destination and Canada’s most southernmost mainland point. The side trip to Point Pelee National Park to the southern most tip of Canada or the 42nd Parallel is about 20km and absolutely worth the visit.
Consider taking the 90 minute ferry ride to spend day or two in Pelee Island. For schedules contact Pelee Island Transportation Company (1-800-661-2220) or check the website at www.ontarioferries.com.