Top 10 cycling trails in Canada
Fundy Tidal Trail, New Brunswick: This 215-km road route begins and ends in Moncton. The main highlights are riding through Fundy National Park -- and a stop at Rocks Provincial Park, where the awesome Flower Pot Rocks have been carved out by the strength of the world's highest tides. (Fotolia)
As the author of Cycling Canada, I'm often asked about my favourite rides. Well, here's a list of 10 of the best.
1. Fundy Tidal Trail, N.B., New Brunswick: This 215-km road route begins and ends in Moncton. The main highlights are riding through Fundy National Park -- and a stop at Rocks Provincial Park, where the awesome Flower Pot Rocks have been carved out by the strength of the world's highest tides.
2. Greater Victoria Regional Trail System, Vancouver Island: After cycling across Victoria's Selkirk Trestle, cyclists soon arrive at the Regional Trail Switch Bridge, where riders can choose one of two worthwhile routes: The 29- km Lochside Trail north to Sidney or the 55-km Galloping Goose Trail west to Sooke.
3. Gatineau Hills, Ontario and Quebec: Ottawa alone offers more than 100 km of wonderful cycling trails, and a short ride across the Alexander Bridge and into Quebec leads to Gatineau Park, where cyclists can explore the area via the 30-km Promenade de la Gatineau Loop. This particular ride from Ottawa to the park and back (about 110 km) is best in the autumn -- so you can enjoy the brilliantly coloured foliage.
4. The Golden Triangle, Alberta and British Columbia: Explore the magnificent Canadian Rockies on this very challenging road ride of about 300 km, beginning and ending at Castle Mountain Junction. You'll ride through three spectacular national parks and encounter three mountain passes. Riders definitely work up a sweat on some long, gruelling climbs -- particularly through Kicking Horse Pass.
5. Icefields Parkway, Alberta: Linking Jasper and Lake Louise, this magnificent 232-km route in the heart of the Rockies is my personal favourite. Riders face two challenging mountain passes -- and several opportunities for side trips to fantastic hiking trails and spectacular lookouts. Be sure to stop at the Columbia Icefield.
6. Kettle Valley Railway Trail, B.C.: This abandoned railway bed winds for about 600 km through central B.C., between Hope and Midway. My favourite section of this route is Myra Canyon, near Kelowna. I cycled over 18 spectacular trestles and through two blasted rock tunnels in a mere 10 km. What a ride!
7. Magdalen Islands, Que.: This province offers the avid cyclist a wonderful trail system, but for something "a little different" and "a bit out of the way," I suggest a five-hour ferry ride from Souris, P.E.I., to the Magdalen Islands. You'll find lots of sand dunes, secluded beaches, rocky promontories -- and perhaps some very strong headwinds -- as you ride the 85-km route on this archipelago of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
8. Prince Edward County, Ont.: "Quinte's Isle" is a beautiful peninsula in southeastern Ontario, just south of Belleville. Much of your ride is on quiet rural roads without a paved shoulder -- and the terrain is relatively flat. You'll pass several vineyards and might choose to stop for a wine tasting. Also check out Sandbanks Provincial Park, with its ocean-like setting and beautiful sand dunes.
9. P.E.I. National Park, P.E.I.: The paths and boardwalks found along this shorter (35 km) and relatively easy route offer opportunities for viewing sand dunes, red sandstone cliffs, and access to some of eastern Canada's finest beaches. I recommend rewarding yourself with a traditional lobster supper after the ride!
10. The Viking Trail, Nfld.: This challenging 450-km route takes riders from Deer Lake, along the rugged coast, through spectacular Gros Morne National Park, and onto the northern tip of Newfoundland (check out L'Anse aux Meadows). Be on the lookout for whales and icebergs along the coast -- and moose along the route!