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A Ferry-land Tour - Howe Island Loop

Trail information: 

Click Download Map for a printable trail description

Learn more about the Amazing Places you can find on this trail 

Fort Henry

 

This route can begin at either Gananoque and Kingston, via County Rd. 2, and takes you the length of tranquil, rural Howe Island.  There are ferries to take you to the island and back. At the time of this writing, there is no charge for bicycles to cross on the ferries. 

Starting from Kingston, consider parking in the small lot by the sign for Fort Henry, at the southeast side of the intersection of County Road 2 and Fort Henry Drive, by the traffic light. The hill you’ll encounter on County Rd. 2 east from there is one of the two steepest of this ride. From Kingston to the island, the shoulders of County Rd. 2 are paved, and a popular ride for city cyclists. The highway takes you across rolling countryside as the bedrock beneath is uplifted by the western flanks of the Frontenac Arch. Farms and country homes border on the highway. 

From County Rd. 2, turn right/south onto the Howe Island Ferry Road, and follow it to the river’s edge and the largest of the two Howe Island ferries. Both ferries pull themselves shore to shore on a heavy cable, and do not have propellers as would most such boats. The waterway here is called the Bateau Channel, an inside passage on the St. Lawrence between the island and mainland that got its name because it was a more sheltered route that was easier for the early 1800s river transport workhorses called bateaux, rowed up-current and upwind by sturdy oarsmen. 

On the island, follow Howe Island Drive south, then east along the shore, past summer homes and farms to where it ends at the second ferry, back to the mainland a little west of Gananoque. Follow the road, also called the Howe Island Ferry Road, up to County Road 2, and turn left/west back to Kingston. (Or, you might take the short ride east into Gananoque for lunch or a visit to the scenic town.) Going west, before you come to the first Howe Island Ferry Road, is the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum and Grassy Point Conservation Area – interesting museum, and a waterfront park perhaps for a swim.

Starting from Gananoque, consider parking at the town’s offsite parking lot on Stone Street north, on the west side at the stoplight at the intersection with Charles Street.  From there, ride south on Stone Street, turning west on King Street. At the west edge of Gananoque as you pass under the stone gateway, King becomes County Road 2. Follow this highway west almost two kilometres, to turn left/south on Howe Island Ferry Road. The road ends at the small cable ferry that runs on demand across to Howe Island. 

From the ferry, follow Howe Island Drive west along the shore of the St. Lawrence – quite broad at this point, and past farms and summer homes. Howe Island Drive will turn north towards the west end of the island, and come to the other ferry – which delivers you back to the mainland.

Ride north on this Howe Island Ferry Road to County Road 2, and turn right/east, and back to Gananoque – unless you’d like to extend the ride and go on west into Kingston. Going east about a kilometre is the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum and Grassy Point Conservation Area – interesting museum, and a waterfront park perhaps for a swim.

Start Location: 

As per the route notes. Start in Kingston from the small parking lot at the southeast intersection of County Road 2 and Fort Henry Drive. From Gananoque, use the parking area on Stone Street north, at the intersection with Charles Street.

Terrain: 

There are rolling hills, with some climbing and descents, on County Road 2, at the Kingston end of this loop. From Gananoque end, there are fewer and smaller hills.  All of the roads are paved.

Distance: 
Kingston Loop: 56 km; Ganaoque Loop: 42km
Bike Suitability: 

This is a route for road, hybrid or touring bikes.

Notes and Cautions: 

Because the ferries irregular and flexible schedules, allow for some flexibility in your planning for the day.

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