Click Map PDF at the bottom of the page for a printable trail description
This is a relatively short loop, and one that can take up a pleasant day with lots to explore and experience. There are two lock stations of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site, both fascinating with fabulous stories.
The Kingston Mills Lock Station is the first from the south end of the Rideau system. The foot of the locks is a long bay at the Lake Ontario level. The bay ends abruptly at a high granite cliff, over which Cataraqui Creek poured in a waterfalls. The falls was key in Kingston’s early years, powering flour and lumber mills. The Parks Canada exhibits at Kingston Mills tell the story of how important the site became in the 1820s building of the canal system from Kingston to Ottawa – be sure to explore the site, and chat with the lock staff.
Follow the route east from Kingston Mills on Cty. Rd. 21, away from the Rideau waterway to Hwy. 15. Ride east on this road, over Hwy. 401 and to a stop at Middle Rd. Bear left on Middle Rd., passing through rolling farmland and rural homes. You’ll come to a steep downhill glide in about 4 KM, and then to a T-stop at Joyceville Rd. Geologically, that hill went down nearly 100 million years of ages of sandstone rock layers.
Turn left/north at Joyceville Rd. and ride north, again crossing Hwy. 401, until reaching Hwy. 15. Turn right onto Hwy. 15 and ride north on the narrow paved shoulder about 1.5 KM to the Washburn Rd. Cross the highway to Washburn Rd. Be prepared to spend a little time at this point of the ride to experience some of the unique character of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.
Just onto Washburn Rd. is Waddell Farms – an apple orchard, but a store to explore for great local apple-inspired tastes and farm insights. Just down the hill is the Lower Brewers Lock Station, the first above Kingston Mills, and though the lift isn’t high, it does create enough water depth to allow boats to reach the Upper Brewers Lock. The Rideau Canal system is a series of steps up and over the Frontenac Arch to let canal traffic to traverse from Kingston to Ottawa – and vice versa. At this station, have a look at the bridge – needed for vehicles to cross nearly 200 years ago, and today. It takes just one person to swing it, by hand. There is also a power generating station here, in generating no carbon power since 1935. And just across the bridge is Doner Studios – superb metal and jewelry artists who also have a museum in an old granary at canal side.
After you’ve taken all that in, ride west on Washburn Rd. about 9 KM to the stop at Cty. Rd. 11 (incidentally, Montreal St. in Kingston). Turn left/south and spin along aware of traffic from behind. There’s a deep valley just pass the County of Frontenac buildings, and before long is the left turn onto the Kingston Mills Road/Cty. Rd. 21, down a long hill and back to Kingston Mills Lock Station.
Learn more about the Amazing Place you can find on this trail
Kingston Mills - the public parking lot by the locks.
Gently rolling to hilly.
All paved - suitable for road, hybrid or touring bike.
Notes and Cautions
Exercise caution crossing County Rd 15 leaving Kingston Mills at Codes Corners, and again crossing at Washburn Road. If you're boating, get off at either lockstation, cycle to the other while your boating party continues to meet you there.