Each year, we take the tour itineraries we develop for the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure and post them here as trip-planning resources. Now you can experience Great Waterfront Trail Adventures on your own self-supported tour. Maps and itineraries are free to print and download.
Make sure to check our closures and notices page in advance of your trip.
GWTA 2021 – Blue to Bruce
Great Lake(s): Georgian Bay, Lake Huron
Total Distance: ~500 km (321 mi)
Daily Distance: 64-100km (40-62 mi)
Suggested Duration: 5-8 days Spend an extra night in Lion’s Head, enjoy a few nights in Blue Mountain Village Inn.
Suggested Overnights: Blue Mountain Village, Owen Sound, Lions Head, Southampton, Kincardine
Accommodations: Hotel and camping options available and suggested in itinerary
Terrain & Route Overview: Combination of country roads and off-road multi-use trails including some hilly terrain. A short section of gravel on Day two (17 km). This is a linear route. You will need to arrange for a pick up at the terminus.
Things to know: Accommodations in Lion’s Head fill up quickly so book ahead. Most restaurants are closed on Sunday and Monday in Lion’s Head.
Overview Description: Tour the Blue Mountains to the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory to the Point Clark National Historic Site.
- Visit 26 communities along Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
- Chase the pristine blue waters of Georgian Bay, and the stark white bluffs and cobbled beaches of the Bruce Peninsula.
- Follow the sunset shores of Lake Huron, visit the Sauble and Saugeen rivers and some of the best soft sand beaches Ontario has to offer.
- Download the six day itinerary
- Download Paper (pdf) Maps Day 2 to 6: Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six. Note maps contain some information on water stops related to the GWTA supported tour and are not available on self-guided tours.
- Ride with GPS Mapping: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six
Day One: Stay at the Blue Mountain Village Inn. Ride Cycle Simcoe’s Creemore 70 km loop (Ride with GPS map available), or enjoy the facilities in Blue Mountain Village.
Day Two: Blue Mountain Village to Owen Sound. 75 km. 17 km of gravel. Road bike is okay but caution is necessary.
Day Three: Owen Sound to Lion’s Head. 90 km
Day Four: Stay in Lion’s head and enjoy a hiking adventure or cycle in the region or a long ride to take in Tobermory (65 km one-way)
Day Five: Lion’s Head to Southampton. 82 km
Day Six: Southampton to Point Clark, 70 km. Return to Kincardine to stay overnight (90 km)
Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury. Cycle the North!
Great Lake(s): Lake Huron North Channel (touches Lake Superior)
Total Distance: Up to 460km
Daily Distances: 50 to 115km (118 km with an optional ride to St. Joseph Island)
Suggested Overnights: Sault Ste Marie, Bruce Mines, St. Joseph Island, Blind River, Massey, Espanola, Sudbury
Suggested Bikes: Touring, Hybrid, Cyclocross or Gravel (wider tires), Electric Pedal Assist
Never mind the Big Smoke. Welcome to big northern hospitality. Relive the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure from 2019 that inaugurated this section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in Northern Ontario. Experience “the Caribbean of the North” along (mostly) quiet northern roads, following 12 heritage rivers on Lake Huron’s North Channel (the area in Lake Huron between the North Shore and the Manitoulin Island chain). You’ll tour some of the great Canadian landscapes that inspired the Group of Seven, find the biggest buck-five (the “Big Loonie” in Echo Bay and the “Big Nickel” in Sudbury). This route itinerary joins 26 communities including 3 First Nations, introduces you to cyclist-friendly marinas and locally-owned restaurants with great food. You’ll enjoy night skies not restrained by city lights. The route is rugged, relaxing, challenging and rewarding. We think you’re going to love it. Cycle the North!
Note: Roughly 50km of this route consists of gravel roads and trails. The longest consecutive stretch of gravel road on this tour is 14km, located in Huron Shores (Day 3). Gravel riding tips are included in the mini-guide/itineraries for this route. A further 50km of this route travels the generous paved shoulders of Highway 17. Be prepared to ride alongside traffic, including truck traffic. Use caution, however we feel you will be pleasantly surprised by the facilities.
This route is also part of Canada’s Great Trail.
Download the Lake Huron North Channel Mini-Guide: Two page description with overview map of the route.
Download the detailed daily itinerary: Itineraries including camping, hotel and motel recommendations, suggested stops, local history and gravel riding tips.
Daily Route Maps:
Day 01 – Sault Ste Marie (Up to 50km)
Day 02 – Sault Ste Marie to Bruce Mines (73-115km)
Day 03 – Bruce Mines to Blind River (96km)
Day 04 – Blind River to Espanola (115km)
Day 05 – Espanola to Sudbury (81km)
GPS Routing: GPS data is hosted on Ride with GPS. Enter the site, click “find” and enter the keyword “GWTA19”
GWTA 2018 – Ajax to South Glengarry (Quebec Border)
Ajax to Quebec is a classic Great Lakes Waterfront Trail ride. Check out the route maps, itineraries and GPS info below as resources in planning your own self-supported trip. You’ll travel along the water past wineries, ports, and historic villages; visit Canada’s first railway tunnel in Brockville, taste the island life on Wolfe Island and some of the region’s best pies and tarts near Port Hope; share in the highland roots of South Glengarry, visit the Thousand Islands, follow the St. Lawrence River and the site that commemorates the communities that have slipped beneath its shores. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail connects seamlessly with La Route Verte in Quebec, where you can extend your trip an extra day and travel to Montreal.
Download the Daily Itineraries:
(Note: Itineraries include hotel and motel recommendations)
Day 1 – Ajax to Cobourg (99km)
Day 2 – Cobourg to Picton (107km)
Day 3 – Picton to Kingston and Wolfe Island (73km)
Suggestion: Stay and extra day to tour Wolfe Island for an extra 40-80km of island riding.
Day 4 – Kingston to Brockville (83km)
Day 5 – Brockville to Cornwall (110km)
Day 6 – Cornwall to Quebec Border (52km)
To extend your trip to Montreal (+99km), visit La Route Verte’s website for more trip planning resources.
Download the Daily Route Maps (PDF):
Day 1 Map – Ajax to Cobourg (99km)
Day 2 Map – Cobourg to Picton (107km)
Day 3 Map – Picton to Kingston and Wolfe Island (73km)
Day 4 Map – Kingston to Brockville (83km)
Day 5 Map – Brockville to Cornwall (110km)
Day 6 Map – Cornwall to Quebec Border (52km)
Download the Daily Route Maps (GPS):
Note: GPS maps are available through Ride with GPS. Many basic GPS formats can be downloaded for free with no account.
Day 1 GPS – Ajax to Cobourg
Day 2 GPS – Cobourg to Picton
Day 3 GPS – Picton to Kingston and Wolfe Island
Day 4 GPS – Kingston to Brockville
Day 5 GPS – Brockville to Cornwall
Day 6 GPS – Cornwall to Quebec Border
GWTA 2017 – Point Pelee National Park to the Route National Urban Park
Great Lake(s): Erie, Ontario
Total Distance: Up to 565km
Daily Distance: 40-110km
Suggested Overnights: Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, Port Stanley, Port Dover, Hamilton, Toronto
Re-experience the GWTA’s Canada 150 celebration route from Point Pelee National Park to the Rouge National Urban Park with this recommended 6-7 day trip. Step off the GLWT and follow the historic Brock’s Route and the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail between Port Dover and Hamilton. Scenery, history and welcoming communities . Download the route itinerary and maps below.
Download the Daily Route Maps:
Day 1 – Point Pelee National Park & Leamington
Day 2 – Point Pelee National Park to Rondeau Provincial Park
Day 3 – Rondeau Provincial Park to Port Stanley
Day 4 – Port Stanley to Port Dover
Day 5 – Port Dover to Hamilton
Day 6 – Hamilton to Toronto
Day 7 – Toronto to Rouge National Urban Park
GWTA 2016 – Pelee Island to Grand Bend
Great Lake(s): Erie, Huron, and Lake St. Clair
Total Distance: 380km
Daily Distance: 80-100km
Suggested Overnights: Pelee Island, Windsor, Wallaceburg, Sarnia, Grand Bend
Relive the inaugural ride of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail extension to Lake Huron on a suggested 5-day tour beginning at the most southerly point in Canada, Pelee Island! Download the suggested itineraries and daily route maps below.
Download the Daily Route Maps:
GWTA 2014 – Kingston to Iroquois
Great Lake(s): Ontario & the St. Lawrence River
Total Distance: 166km
Daily Distance: 80-100km
Enjoy a 2-day ride from Kingston to Iroquois, South Dundas with an overnight in Gananoque and suggested loop on Wolfe Island! Based on the GWTA 2014. Download the route itinerary below. Download route maps via our maps page.
GWTA 2013 – Lakeshore to Fort Erie
Great Lake(s): Erie
Total Distance: 620km
Daily Distance: 80-100km
Suggested Overnights: Windsor, Leamington, Rondeau Provincial Park, Porty Stanley, Turkey Point Provinical Park, Dunnville, Fort Erie
Enjoy your self-guided tour along the route of the inaugural Great Lakes Waterfront Trail: Lake Erie edition. Download the detailed itinerary and maps below. Includes maps, timing and suggested stops. As an alternative to Turkey Point, try glamping at Long Point Eco Adventures.
GWTA 2012 – Niagara-on-the-Lake to Quebec Border
Great Lake(s): Ontario and the St. Lawrence River
Total Distance: 740km
Daily Distance: 80-100km
Suggested Duration: 8 days
Suggested Overnights: Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, Trenton, Amherstview, Prescott, Cornwall & South Glengarry
Experience an 8-day Great Lakes Waterfront Trail journey from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border near South Glengarry through some of Ontario’s most bike-friendly communities. Download the itinerary below. Route maps can be downloaded and printed on our maps page.
Check out these other great self-guided trip ideas from of our partners!
Ontario by Bike Multi-day Cycling Tours
St. Thomas and Four Ports Tour
The St. Thomas and Four Ports Tour is a four-day recreational bike ride that covers 184 km along quiet rural roads down to Lake Erie’s Waterfront Trail and through communities with rich maritime heritage and vast agricultural lands. Itinerary developed by Ontario by Bike for Southwest Tourism.
Windsor-Kingsville-Essex Cycling Tour
The Windsor Kingsville Essex Cycling Tour is a three-day bike ride that covers 130 km along scenic rural roads to the heart of Canada’s southernmost wine region. Follow glistening Lake Erie and Detroit River shorelines on the Lake Erie Waterfront Trail through charming towns, natural areas, beaches, historical buildings and culinary offerings. Itinerary developed by Ontario By Bike for Southwest Tourism.
In addition to these, Ontario by Bike has a number of other trip suggestions on and off the Waterfront Trail on their website!
Velo Quebec Self-guided Tour Packages
Based on the popular Grand Tour 2014 route, this is an independent 7-day cycle tour package. It includes everything you need for an amazing experience of Niagara and Lake Erie–on a date of your choosing. Much of the route uses the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. Package includes 6 nights in three-star hotels, six breakfasts, two dinners, baggage transportation between stopover cities, GPX data and maps.
Based on the popular Grand Tour 2011 route, this is an independent 7-day cycle tour package. It includes everything you need for an amazing experience of Thousand Islands section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail along the mighty St. Lawrence River. Choose your date. Package includes 6 nights in three-star hotels, six breakfasts, two dinners, baggage transportation between stopover cities, GPX data and maps.
Supported Multi-day Guided Tours by Velo Quebec Travel Services
Velo Quebec offers a supported, guided tours of Niagara Region, Thousand Islands and Georgian Bay. Follow the link to learn more about dates, registration fees and itinerary highlights, of which the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is one!
Two-day Self-guided Cycle Tour Simcoe to Niagara Falls along Lake Erie and the Niagara River
Cycle 270 km over two days along Lake Erie, the historic Welland Canal and heritage Niagara River using parts of the Waterfront Trail visiting communities of Simcoe, Port Dover in Norfolk, Selkirk and Dunnville in Haldimand, and Wainfleet, Port Colborne, Welland, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls. Do more than just cycle; be sure to walk along the beaches in Port Dover, kayak down the Grand River in Dunnville, take in the vibrant patio life in Port Colborne, visit Old Fort Erie, tour Niagara wineries and finish at one of the world’s great natural wonders — Niagara Falls.
This itinerary was part of the 2014 Velo Quebec Grand Tour. Suggested accommodations reflect Vélo Quebec’s selections, however, there are a variety of suitable accommodations along the route, which can be found on our partner’s websites. Ample opportunities for camping as well. Download the pdf itinerary with turn by turn instructions and maps by clicking here.
Waterfront Excursions along Lake Erie
Waterfront trip itineraries along Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River and Lake Huron including birding, culinary tours, driving and beach ideas!
Lennox Addington Cycling Loops-Both Day and Multi-day Suggestions
For the Best Day Ever! Located in the heart of eastern Ontario you’ll find beautiful Lennox Addington County on Lake Ontario. The County has organized 12 cycling itineraries that showcase the area’s rich loyalist heritage. You’ll beautifully preserved colonial homes, churches, Greater Napanee’s heritage main street and a wonderful new winery equipped with a pizza oven on the Waterfront Trail. Each itinerary comes with map, KML and GPX data and detailed route information about accommodations, sights and attractions. Of the 12, the following are on the Waterfront Trail: D Shoreline, E Hay Bay, K Amherstview.