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Learn more about the Amazing Place you can find on this trail
This route explores the north-central part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere, and the top of the watershed of the Rideau Canal. The roads meander through the very scenic and ancient granite landscape of the Frontenac Arch, and into picturesque communities.
This trip could start at any of Chaffey’s Lock, Westport or Newboro, but in this version, it’s from the Chaffey’s Lock Station of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site. Get to Chaffey’s Lock either by boat on the canal, or if by land, from Highway 15 look for County Rd. 9/Chaffey’s Lock Road and go west on that and the winding road will take you to the lock station. Just before coming to the Opinicon Lodge and locks, there’s parking along the roadside on the north side, overlooking the upper part of the locks.
This was a complicated lock to build, and complicated by the use of the falls and rapids by a miller who was an important part of the local early economy for milling grain to flour, and having a whiskey still as well. Ask the lock staff for the story.
Perhaps after a coffee at the splendid Opinicon Lodge, go west on the Opinicon Road. You’ll cross a swing bridge over the lock – itself another engineering feat – and ride west along this winding and shady lane, past the road into the Queen’s University Biology Station – an leading ecological research station – and in pleasant time on a forest and field-lined road come to a T-stop at County Road 10/Perth Road. Turn right/north.
The ride up the Perth Rd. is one of the prettiest rides in the region. It traces along the remarkably wildlife rich forests of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere, and lakes and wetlands. In under 16 kilometers is Tett Crescent, on the left. Turn off on Tett Cr., and come to the site of an old Mill – the Bedford Mill, private property – and the interesting waterflow channel and tower that powered it. The lake at the heights above feed westward; the lake below the mill goes into the Rideau system. The Tett Crescent takes you on to reconnect with Cty. Rd. 10, and north.
Cty. Rd. 10 comes to a T-stop at Cty. Rd. 42, beside a school. Turn left/west and roll into the village of Westport. Westport is a destination in its own right, originally a lumber town but now the nexus for cottagers on the Rideau. Good food, interesting shops, nice folks. After an explore of the village and refueling at coffee shops and restaurants, ride out the northwest corner of the village on Cty. Rd. 10, past the Cove Country Inn, across the bridge at Westport Pond – a fish sanctuary – and grind up the steep hill to turn left on the Foley Mountain Lane into the Foley Mountain Conservation area. In about 350 meters is a parking area for Spy Rock – and from the lookout you can see well south down the Frontenac Arch, over Westport. The cliff edge is the edge of a very ancient fault, where a half billion years ago the landscape in front of you dropped a hundred meters, and created the basin for the Rideau Lakes.
Back to Cty. Rd. 10., ride back through the village and at Cty. Rd. 42, go east. In about 8 KM will be the village of Newboro. This is the “top” of the Rideau canal system. From here, the waters flow north to Ottawa, and south to Kingston. Explore the story of the canal and locks at the lock station, turning right/south on Lock Street just before the venerable Sterling Lodge. In the village is Kilborn’s store, rambling through several buildings of shopping experience.
Follow on Cty. Rd. 42 to a T-stop at Highway 15. Along the way you’ll trace the raised rail bed of the long-abandoned Brockville – Westport Railway which carried passengers, lumber, farm goods and everything imaginable as it wound across the rugged landscape connecting villages on the way. Turn right on Hwy. 15, and ride south, cautious of traffic, to watch for the signs for Chaffey’s Lock Station, and back to your start point.
Start from the parking area near the Chaffey’s Lock Station.
Gentle rolling hills, on winding but paved roads.
There are no paved shoulders, but except for Hwy. 15, the traffic is light.
This is a route for road, hybrid or touring bikes.