Country Cruising Through the Greenbelt
September 28, 2023
Creating an appealing rural cycling route should include peaceful country roads, secluded limestone rail trails, picturesque waterfront paths, places to grab a meal, and spots perfect for capturing a selfie or group photo. Fortunately, all 13 of Ontario's Great Lakes to Greenbelt cycling routes meet these criteria. If you are looking for easy access, breathtaking views, waterfalls, a mix of urban and rural environments, and a few challenging hills, welcome to the Escarpment Country Cruise.
Creating an appealing rural cycling route should include peaceful country roads, secluded limestone rail trails, picturesque waterfront paths, places to grab a meal, and spots perfect for capturing a selfie or group photo."
Our journey begins at Bayfront Park in Hamilton on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, where you'll find convenient access, ample parking, and a stunning lakeside setting. We recommend riding the fully marked 65-kilometre loop counterclockwise to take advantage of the approximately 5-kilometre descent down the Escarpment Rail Trail back into the heart of Hamilton.
Excitement fills the air as our group of four sets off on the paved paths along the lake. The initial kilometres are smooth and flat, a reminder that this adventure caters to cyclists of all skill levels, whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner. The Escarpment Country Cruise route consists of both paved and dirt surfaces but is suitable for road bikes. Our group favours larger tires for comfort, and a mix of pedal bikes and e-bikes ensures a good time for all.
Passing through Westdale Village tests our determination with a tempting array of culinary delights, but it's too early in the ride to stop for a break or food.
The ride must go on as we trade pavement for screened limestone and enter the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. This 1,200-hectare sanctuary boasts rolling hills, babbling streams, lush forests, and serene trails, providing much-needed shade on this scorching summer day. We follow the rail trail and pause at the replica Victorian train station for a well-deserved rest.
Back on the pavement, the road winds upward, presenting us with the day's greatest challenge. There's only one way to conquer a demanding uphill climb – the promise of ice cream. With the hill bested, we indulge in delicious treats at Tasty Scoop in Ancaster.
From this point onward, the route takes us along country roads, flat landscapes, past farmland and orchards. Our next stop, and the final opportunity to refuel before the last stretch into Hamilton, is at Carluke Orchards. Look for the vibrant green bike rack that marks the spot.
These bike racks are the result of collaboration between the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (WRT), Greenbelt Foundation, and local businesses like Carluke Orchards, all working together to enhance your cycling experience along the Greenbelt to Great Lakes routes. You can find other bike racks in the area at West Avenue Cider, Dyment Glen Drummond Farms and Ridge Road Estate Winery.
While the bike rack provides a convenient place to park your bicycle, the well-stocked counter filled with delectable baked goods inside is sure to make you grin.
Onward we go, a bit more rail trail, a stop at the lovely Albion Falls, and the promised descent down the Escarpment Rail Trail back into the heart of Hamilton.
So, what are you waiting for? Dust off your bike, gather your friends, and embark on the Hamilton Escarpment Country Cruise loop for an unforgettable cycling Great Lakes to Greenbelt adventure! Remember to capture and share those epic moments using the #greenbeltroute and #waterfronttrail hashtags.
Let's spread the joy of cycling together!
Happy pedaling, adventurers!
Escarpment Country Cruise – 65 km
Terrain: Some hills.
Surface: Combination of paved and unpaved paths and paved roads. Suitable for road bikes.
Level: Intermediate to difficult due to some steep hills and the busy crossing of HWY 6.
Family-friendly options – in and out along Chippewa Trail or Escarpment Rail Trail.
Maps: Ride with GPS Map
Martin Lortz is a photographer, writer, and content creator for the Waterfront Regeneration Trust focusing on outdoor activities, adventure, and lifestyle. All images are taken by Martin Lortz.