Hamilton's unique landscape makes it an ideal cycling destination thanks to its forested trails, urban routes and scenic waterfront.
Here are some favourite off-road options for both recreational riders and mountain bikers - all perfect for an adventure on two wheels.
The Dundas Valley
The Dundas Valley is a 1,200-acre treasure with lush Carolinian forest bordering a 40-kilometre network of trails. If you’re ambitious, you can hop on the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail, or explore several unpaved out-and-back trails and loops. Please note you cannot ride on the Bruce Trail sections. Being a multi-use trail, be mindful of hikers and horses.
The Hamilton Waterfront Trail
There are certain points along this 7.5-kilometre paved trail where it’s easy to forget you’re in the city. Riding towards Princess Point and Cootes Paradise takes you along the waterfront of Burlington Bay where baby ducks and swans will bring pedalling to a halt in late spring.
The Escarpment Rail Trail
Built over an old CN railway line, this 9.5-kilometre recreational trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail, will take you up the escarpment along a paved path in the woods. At the top, head over to Albion Falls, one of the city’s many waterfalls. Here, you can continue on to explore some of the Red Hill Valley. If you start your route at the bottom in Corktown Park, the way back to the car is all downhill!
Christie Lake Conservation Area
There are just over 10 kilometres of fast and flowy singletrack trails at Christie Lake, some planned by IMBA (the International Mountain Biking Association), and maintained by the Hamilton Burlington Mountain Biking Association (hbmba.ca), with more in the works.
The Hambur Loop
Did you think we said hamburgers? While you might pedal past a burger joint at some point, the Hambur Loop refers to a 50-kilometre route connecting existing trails throughout Hamilton and Burlington. This is a great day trip (or multi-day if you want to do it in chunks) itinerary that will take you along both paved and unpaved trails (and along some shared roadways), along the water and through some of the region’s forested areas, with scenic lookouts along the way.
Keddy Access Trail
Hamilton's newest trail gives cyclists looking to travel up the escarpment to the 'mountain' from the city's lower city, a safe and scenic route to take. The protected paved trail stretches from Hunter Street all the way up to West 5th Street with an entry point at Hunter Street and the Claremont Access, with four side connections to trails along the way.
The trail is named after Jay Keddy, a 53-year-old kindergarten teacher and father of three, who was struck and killed while biking up Claremont Access.
Visiting without wheels? Here’s where to rent a bike in Hamilton:
- SoBi (a bikeshare system with hubs all over the city). Look out for thir shiny blue bikes.
- Freewheel Cycle in Dundas (mountain bikes, fat bikes and e-bikes)
- Waterfront Trust (regular bikes, as well as tandems, 2- and 4-seater Surreys)
- New Hope Community Bikes (cargo bike rentals)
For detailed Hamilton cycling information visit:
Tara Nolan is a Dundas-based freelance writer with a passion for exploring the outdoors. Tara loves to write about mountain biking, gardening and other active pursuits for a variety of print and online publications. Follow her on Twitter @thattaranolan and Instagram @tara_e Her blog The Outdoor Explorer reveals Hamilton’s stunning outdoor spaces, from nature trails and waterfalls to conservation areas, farms and gardens. Whether you want to walk, hike, bike or paddle, discover where to seek out your next outdoor adventure – all minutes from the city’s core.