By Amanda Chalk — A friend recently shared a photo of their bicycle ride on the Cataraqui Trail. A place on my ‘to visit in Lennox and Addington’ list that I’ve been meaning to cross off. Now that the leaves are starting to bud on the trees, and the ground was drying up, I decided to check out what was once the old CN Railway that crosses through Lennox and Addington County, and set out for an afternoon hike.
I started my hike in Newburgh at the trail entrance off of County Road 17, just a few kilometers outside of the village. The parking area was just off the road, and displayed a large directional map of the trail and regional information.
As I crossed the road, I entered the trail heading east towards Camden East. The distance between the two points was a quick 3.7 km one way. Not a bad trek on a beautiful day.
The trail was wide, gravel packed and very well maintained. Being the former rail line, the trail passes through farmland and residential neighbourhoods which made for nice scenery along the way.
I arrived in Camden East at the County Road 4 intersection and decided it was time to turn back to get my vehicle and continue on to Yarker. I’ve heard the falls are pretty spectacular this time of year, and wanted to add a few more steps to my day. The trail distance from Newburgh to Yarker is 11.2 km, a little to far for a round-trip afternoon hike, this time.
The water was running high and fast along the Napanee River. I could hear the rushing falls in Yarker as I approached the parking area close by. The Cataraqui Trail passes through the north end of Yarker and crosses the Napanee River via the old train bridge.
The bridge gave magnificent views of the Napanee River leading into Yarker. I walked to the end of the bridge and back and enjoyed the view of the river on both sides, before completing my day.
The Cataraqui trail runs 103 km of the former CN Railway that once connected the Bay of Quinte to the Ottawa Valley. The trail starts in Smith Falls and ends in Strathcona, located in Stone Mills Township. The trail is open year round and is great for hikers, joggers, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, naturalists and snowmobiles (with a current Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs trail permit).
For more information on the Cataraqui Trail visit http://cataraquitrail.ca/