Skip to main content

Rideau Ramble: Westport-Portland Loop

Trail Information

Click Map PDF at the bottom of the page for a printable trail description

Amazing Places LogoLearn more about the Amazing Place you can find on this trail

Spy Rock

This loop explores the north edge of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere, along the Rideau Lakes. It takes you to and through cottage country, sometimes rugged, sometimes pastoral – always scenic.

Start from the parking behind the community centre in Westport, at the corner of County Rd. 42 and Spring St. Follow Spring St. north, and just up from the lake and the main street, Rideau St., is the Chamber of Commerce info office, with washrooms. Turn left onto Rideau St. and past the Cove Country Inn, and ride across the control dam for Wolfe Lake, one of the many lakes that feed water to the Rideau Canal system. This is now County Rd. 10.

The biggest challenge of this route is a 160 m climb up the granite flank of Foley Mountain. At the top, take a break with a short side trip into the Foley Mountain Conservation Area. About 400 metres in is a pull-off on the right for Spy Rock, an Amazing Place – a terrific lookout atop a cliff.

This is the edge of an ancient fault line, where a half billion years ago the earth that would have been in front of you fell about 100 metres, creating the Rideau Lakes basins. From Spy Rock you can see a very long ways south across Westport and down the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.

Ride back out to County Rd. 10, and follow it eastward across the countryside, and watch as the landscape changes from granite outcrops of the Precambrian-era Frontenac Arch to the much younger and less rugged sandstone bedrock of the east flanks of the Arch. County Rd. 10 is also the Scotch Line into the south edge town of Perth. A left turn takes you into Perth – a very picturesque and historic community, with many places to refresh and refuel.

Continuing on the route, it would have been a right turn where the Scotch Line meets County Rd. 1, the Rideau Ferry Rd. When approaching Rideau Ferry there's a turn to the left on Yacht Club Rd., a half kilometer into the Rideau Ferry Conservation Area which has great swimming, picnicing and washrooms. Back to the highway, continue on County Rd. 1 across the Rideau Ferry bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn right onto Old Kingston Rd. which winds several kilometers past cottage access lanes for Big Rideau Lake on your right, and Bass Lake on your left. Continue on Old Kingston Rd. until it meets up with County Rd. 15.

Turn right onto Highway 15, which can be quite busy and without paved shoulders. It's 3 km to Portland, where at the Galley Restaurant there’s a fine view over Big Rideau Lake. Climbing the hill on Hwy. 15 out of Portland, there’s a way to get off and by-pass the busy main highway. Turn left onto Harlem Rd., and in about a kilometer turn right onto Forfar Rd. Forfar Rd. ends where it intersects County Rd. 42, so continue on County Rd. 42 and the hamlet of Forfar, where there is the Forfar Dairy, which was one of the oldest cheese makers in Ontario.

County Rd. 42 crosses Highway 15 at Crosby – a busy intersection. Ride onwards on County Rd. 42, through the village of Newboro and its rambling Kilborn’s on Rideau stores. A short detour down Lock Rd., just past the old Stirling Lodge, brings you to the Newboro Locks. This is the highest point on the Rideau Canal system, and the water flows downhill to Kingston, south; and Ottawa, north from this point.

In another 10 km, County Rd. 42 takes you back into Westport, following along what you can still make out as the old abandoned Brockville – Westport rail bed.

Start Location

Westport, Portland or Perth


Several hills but long flat stretches, too


83 km

Bike Suitability

All paved - the route is suitable for a hybrid, road or touring bike.

Notes and Cautions

The short stretches of Highway 15 can be quite busy with traffic.