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Learn more about the Amazing Places you can find on this trail
This loop explores village and countryside of the Frontenac Arch and Rideau Canal, an outing that takes you to and through the natural environments and community history that are key to this region having both UNESCO designations – a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
This loop could start at Seeley’s Bay, Jones Falls or Lyndhurst – but we’ll roll it out from Seeley’s Bay. Start from the dock and parking at Centennial Park, where Mill and Bay Streets intersect at the village harbour. There are washrooms at the playing fields just up Bay St., and the Nest Egg is a great place for a coffee and treats before setting out.
Turn right/southwest onto Main St. and where it ends at Highway 15, turn right and cautious of highway traffic ride nearly 1.5 KM to turn right/west onto Burnt Hills Road. In about 2 kilometers you’ll come to the Rideau Canal and an historic iron and wood-surfaced bridge. Towards the west end of the bridge is one of the remaining swing bridges of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site. Parks Canada staff may be present, if there are boats to pass through at the time. If so, watch a feat of early 19th Century engineering as one person can by hand turn the bridge on an iron track to let boats through.
The scenic Burnt Hills Rd. winds and twists across small hills and valleys of the Frontenac Arch, and crosses a bridge that has Cranesnest Lake to the right/north and Dog Lake to the south. In less that 8 kilometers is a T-stop at County Rd. 11/Battersea Road. Turn right/north. The Battersea Rd. too winds through this Canadian Shield landscape with farms and forests, and will become the Jones Falls Road. You’ll come to a green and white sign that announces a parking area for the Jones Falls Lock Station, but continue past a hundred meters to the laneway for Hotel Kenney. Turn right there, and ride to the bottom of the hill and the hotel – a fine spot for a rest, lunch and washrooms.
Jones Falls is probably the most photographed site on the canal system, and is one of the most complex of the lockstations built by Colonel John By’s engineers. Do take time to explore, and talk to the lockmasters – a wealth of information. There’s a lot to see, and the small exhibit building (with more washrooms) lays out more of the story for you.
Back to the Jones Falls Rd., turn right/east and ride out to Hwy. 15, and turn right/south. In about 400 meters, crossing Morton Creek, turn left/east in the village of Morton onto the Briar Hill Road. If you look up to the left at that corner, you’ll spot through the trees a small 8-sided building that was once a village school house, nicknamed decades ago “The Pimple” because of the way the red brick shape stood out on a then less treed hilltop. In about 800 meters, veer left onto the unpaved Fortune Line Road. It’s about 1.5 kilometers down this to Wendy’s Country Market – an old one-room school now a farm market with produce from all over the FAB region, and great local cheeses and local food.
From Wendy’s, ride south on the Briar Hill Rd., also gravel, to Cty. Rd. 33, and at the T-stop turn left. In a kilometer you’ll come to the village of Lyndhurst. Quaint today, Lyndhurst had an important place in regional history. It was called Furnace Falls in the early 1800s because the high waterfalls powered lumber and flour mills, and a foundry on the banks just south of the stone bridge. The bridge itself is the oldest stone bridge still in use in Ontario. Historic plaques in the park on the northeast side of the bridge tell the story. There are washrooms in the park, and interesting shops to visit.
Retrace the ride back out of Lyndhurst westward on Cty. Rd. 33. You’ll come to an intersection with Sweets Corners Rd. If you want to taste some great baking, perhaps a fresh-made pie, turn right/north and in 200 meters is Briarlea Farm and bakeshop, on the right. Further on Cty. Rd. 33/Lyndhurst Rd., keep your eyes peeled for the quirky steel art sculptures on the south side of the road. It’s about 8 kilometers from Lyndhurst to Hwy. 15. At that intersection turn left/south on Hwy. 15 and in 3 KM turn right at the signs for Seeley’s Bay and Main St., to return to your start point.
Start from the parking area at Centennial Park, corner of Main and Bay.
Gentle rolling hills, on paved roads except about 5 kilometers on gravel roads.
This is a route for road, hybrid or touring bikes.
Notes and Cautions
There are no paved shoulders, but except for Hwy. 15, the traffic is light.