2020 Summer of Adventure!
Elgin’s Port Burwell to Port Stanley
Celebrate 25 years of trail-building and work to protect and connect our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence waterfront with the 2020 Summer of Adventure!
What you will love–Lake Erie, farm fields, scenic fishing hamlets, fresh perch, fruit stands, expanses of beautiful beaches, Carolinian forest, beautiful provincial parks, a tour of a nuclear submarine or climb to the gallery of a historic lighthouse.
Terrain—Paved roads on shoulders, sometimes narrowed shoulders. Usually, flat with a steep hill as you head into or leave the lakeside hamlets. Best suited to cyclists comfortable sharing roads with vehicles.
The Plan–2 to 3 days. Spend day one cycling in Port Burwell, enjoying the beach and historic sites. Day 2 ride to Port Stanley (40 km one way) with a stop in Port Bruce, spend the evening. Day 3 ride back to Port Burwell. We suggest camping in Port Burwell and spending a night in one of Port Stanley’s inns or motels. However, if you want a more intense ride, it is doable to ride from Port Burwell to Port Stanley and back in one day, while still enjoying the heritage and sites.
This is also a terrific weekend drive for families looking for great beaches and heritage to enjoy. 3 days, 3 beaches. Bring your bikes to get around town.
How to Get There
- By Car–2.5 hour drive from downtown Toronto using the 401 to Port Burwell.
- Detailed paper maps: Use maps 9, 10, 11 in this section. Note you will be following the route right to left, as you are travelling east to west.
- Elgin’s Get Active Guide has looped routes based out each of the Ports on this route.
- Historic walk through Port Stanley – 75 to 90 minute self-guided walk created by the Heritage Port, the Port Stanley Historical Society.
- Elgin hiking trail: Runs 41 km from Port Stanley along Kettle Creek to St Thomas and along Dodd Creek to Southdel Drive. The trail starts at the beach, next to Mackie’s Restaurant, look for the three two “Post People Hikers” and is for hikers only. Map.
- Port Burwell Provincial Park–2 short easy hikes. An interpretive trail along the Ravine Creek (1 km) and a second to a lookout and then the Beach (2 km).
- Port Burwell Municipal Beach, 1 Robinson St, Port Burwell, ON
- Port Burwell Provincial Park–Blue Flag certified. 9 Wilson Lane Port Burwell (Also a great birding location)
- Port Bruce Provincial Park, 3360 Imperial Rd, Aylmer, ON N5H 2R2
- Port Stanley has 4 beaches: Erie Rest Beach, Little Beach, Pumphouse Beach, Main Beach
Three Ports, 7 beaches, 90 kilometres return.
Day One: Port Burwell
Port Burwell makes an impression both with is beautiful scenery and the massive Cold-war era submarine on display. Today, HMCS OJIBWA serves as a museum ship, brimming with incredible stories — a unique and award-winning attraction that cyclists during the 2013 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure loved. Click here for tour information–http://www.hmcsojibwa.ca/
Just across from the Ojibwa is the Port Burwell Naval Museum and Historic Lighthouse. For a modest fee access the collection of artifacts and learn about early years navigating on Lake Erie, climb 56 stairs to the top of the Lighthouse’s gallery for a breathtaking view of Lake Erie.
A fishing boat anchored in Big Otter Creek. Port Burwell is an excellent place to catch walleye and perch!
Port Burwell has two beaches–above is the municipal beach located at the foot of Robinson Street.
The second beach is located in Port Burwell Provincial Park, which offers camping and is renowned as an amazing birding location. This beach is designated as a Blue Flag beach. We suggest you camp your first night in the Provincial Park and book a hotel in Port Stanley for your second night.
Day 2- Cycle from Port Burwell to Port Stanely 45 km.
The trail uses County Road 42/ Nova Scotia Lane, which is the closest continuous road along the Lake. It does not have paved shoulders so it best suited to people experienced with sharing the road with vehicles. Lake Erie’s unstable shoreline is subject to severe erosion. In fact, Lake Erie has claimed several sections of the trail, necessitating detours north, threatening and destroying property, and causing millions of dollars of damage.
17 km –Copenhagen! In Ontario! The Wood Connection General Store marks the location where you head south on Imperial Road to visit Port Bruce. Great place to grab a snack. From here take Imperial Rd/CR 73 into Port Bruce.
Entering Port Bruce, a hamlet of Malahide Township, you’ll take a detour on Bank and Dexter Line (marked in yellow). The Trail/road is closed to replace a bridge over Catfish Creek that collapsed 2 years ago.
21.4 km Port Bruce Provincial Park has a lovely pebble beach located near to restaurants on Collins Street.
Lake Erie still has many lovely cottage communities.
Overlooking the Lake, the Pier is a great chip stand with a patio.
Always fun to walk to the end of a pier and feel almost surrounded by the beauty of Lake Erie….or fish.
Leave Port Bruce, uphill of course as you climb out of the creek valley using Dexter Line/ CR 24, which has paved shoulders.
41 km Port Stanley is a hard place to leave. It has magnificent beaches, charming shops, music-filled nightlife and great food.
The white sand of Port Stanley’s main beach on the west side of Kettle Creek is one of Ontario’s best.
There is also another great beach on the east side of the creek.
There are many terrific places to eat on the beach, such as GT’s.
After enjoying the water, be sure to walk around town to appreciate the fabulous murals and shops in town. Download the Historic walk through Port Stanley – 75 to 90 minute self-guided walk created by the Heritage Port, the Port Stanley Historical Society.
Custom Google Map
Use our custom interactive Google map to check distances. And points of interest. https://waterfronttrail.org/map/interactive-map-2/
What to bring:
Don’t forget your sanitizer, snacks and water as facilities are operating with restrictions. Please respect physical distancing protocols and call accommodations and facilities in advance to confirm hours.
Port Burwell Provincial Park–camping
About the Communities and Region
Ontario’s Southwest–Waterfront Getaway Guide