Cycling Around Lake Ontario
Golden Hill State Park © Harvey Botzman, 2004
'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 2nd Edition, 2011-12 Revision
Traveling around Lake Ontario is a cyclotourist's dream tour. It is a
varied two week trip with enough sights and sounds; smells and tastes to enjoy and savor
every moment of the tour.
'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 3nd Edition,
is the only tour guide which covers the entire land circumnavigation route around
this wonderful Great Lake. There are no motoring guides which are as comprehensive as
'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 2nd Ed.! Below is a sample map from the 1st Edition of this wonderful Tour
Lake Ontario has great historical significance for all Americans
(citizens of Canada and the United States). Major naval battles of the War of 1812 were
fought on the Lake. Crossing Lake Ontario was one of the last way stations on the underground
railroad for African-Americans escaping slavery in the United States.
At both ends of the Lake, canals were dug to transport the raw
materials, agricultural products and finished goods of the Adirondack Mountains, western
New York State, eastern Ontario, Québec, and the Great Lakes region to the Atlantic Coast
cities of North America and Europe. These Canals were and necessary for the growth of all
of North America.
The route along the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa is included in
'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide. The bicycle route along the St.
Lawrence River from Kingston to Montreal also is detailed in 'Round Lake Ontario.
Both of these "side trips" are popular trip extensions for bicyclists touring
around Lake Ontario.
In earlier days, Lake Ontario teemed with fine tasting freshwater fish.
Today the Lake Ontario fisheries are prime venues for sport fishermen and women. Many
cyclotourists bring collapsible fishing poles to catch their dinner along the way. Others
simply enjoy catching the salmon, trout and bass for sport and then returning the fish to
their rightful place in the Lake.
Large sophisticated cities (Toronto and Buffalo); wonderful livable
moderate sized urban areas (Rochester and Hamilton); college towns growing with retirement
communities (Kingston, and Oswego); North America's original tourist attraction (Niagara
Falls); and lots of rural cycling in between delightful villages are some of the delights
of a cyclotour along Lake Ontario's shore.
The wineries on the Niagara Peninsula between Niagara Falls and
Hamilton are noted for their excellent reds. All the wineries are listed in the Guide
so that the cyclotourist can enjoy a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread and ....
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It always happens! A day or two after I receive the latest edition or
revision of a book from the printer something important along the route changes! This time
the change involves crossing the Niagara River and a slightly improved route east of
Just giving you an update on the Waterfront Trail this side of
Last week I rode from Toronto to Port Credit using the trail
exclusively. That stretch was entirely paved, with large portions good enough for
roller-blading. Have to keep an eye open for the signs, but it is an excellent bike path
Slower than the main road routes, but infinitely nicer, more scenic,
almost zero car traffic.
I'm not sure if I'll make the full lake circle this summer. I'm off to
the Yukon for 2 weeks (sudden opportunity) so the lake circle may have to wait until
R. von E., 2008.
1. Niagara River Bridges: As of late May, 2008, a
bicyclist can use 3 bridges to cross the Niagara River. The Peace Bridge (Fort Erie,
Ontario-Buffalo, New York); the Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls, NY-Niagara Falls, ON); and
the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge (Queenston, ON-Lewiston, NY). Use the roadway rather than
the walkway on the Rainbow Bridge, since the gate leading to the walkway tends to be
difficult to negociate with a pannier loaded bicycle. The Peace Bridge may have very heavy
motor vehicle traffic, especially during weekday rush hours, thus the walkway might be
preferrable for crossing this bridge. The Queenston-Lewiston Bridge does not have a
walkway and the entrance to the roadway on the USA side might be a bit obscured. I will
try to visit cross three bridges before winter.
2. Lewiston-Queenston Bridge: W. Z. & son as well
as J. C. suggest the following techniques when using the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
a. Crossing this bridge is tricky while it is
under construction. (there is no side walk to use and the Canadian to US entrance is in an
b. Crossing US to Canada, Turn right off
Military Rd onto Upper mountain rd and take first exit ramp, this takes one to the bridge.
After crossing and going thru customs go to the right most toll both and pay toll, the
toll attendant can direct you to the recreational trail. Basicly you back up from the toll
booth and go over the curb to the toll offices and walk around the offices into the
parking lot out to the Niagara Parkway and recreational trail. (I have done this twice
this year and the toll both operators were very helpful). [N. B.: Earlier editions of
'Round Lake Ontario... suggested using this technique.]
c. Crossing from Canada to the US is pretty
tricky. You start on the North side of the bridge on the parkway.(this is where you exited
from the parking lot coming the other direction. You will see a sign on the fence stating
that bicyclists to the US must check in with the toll office. Enter the parking lot and
work your way around to the back of the offices and walk the bike around to the main toll
office and report to a attendant. There are several signs directing bicyclists. When I did
this, they directed me to carefully cross behind the toll boths and through a opening in
the curb and wait for a clearing in the traffic heading to the US and then cross this
traffic and stay in the right most auto lane. Go through the customs booths (right most
open auto booth). Take the first exit ramp (leads to Upper Mountain Road) then take the
first exit ramp ( Rt 104 East). When I did this 3 weeks ago the customs officer said this
was the first time that he had seen this done. (tho' I don't know if he was talking about
my Greenspeed Trike or a bicyclist.)
3. Kingston, ON Camping: Lake Park no longer has
campground facilities. We did not catch this information when editing the 3rd edition.
bicyclists who used the 2nd edition and wrote us about this definitive
I will publicly state, when I publish my
crazyguy journal that your route is the right route.
Every time I deviated from it I paid
J. S., Pepper Pike OH, July, 2007, www.crazyguyonabike.com
My wife Karen and our two friends Amanda and Rodger returned Friday
night from an Eastern [as opposed to where the writer lives] New York bike ride.
You may recall you gave us some hints on where and how. I'm reporting that we had an
extraordinary ride. We began on the Lake Ontario Parkway at Lakeside Beach State Park,
rode west to Olcott, then down to Lockport where we stayed the night. The next day we rode
the Erie Canal trail to Western Rochester. The last day we rode north, through Rochester
to the Parkway and back to our van at Lakeside Beach.
The weather was perfect, the trail easy, and the scenery delightful. By
the way, some guy in a Rochester bike shop that I talked with by phone before we left
advised us strongly NOT to use the Lake Ontario Parkway. Rough roads and much traffic he
said. He was nuts! I can't believe the state of New York spent tax payer dollars on the
Parkway. We had it to ourselves! Very enjoyable ride.
Thanks a lot for your advise. It tipped the scale in favor of Western
New York. It was much appreciated.
L. M., Holland MI, September, 2007.
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A few links to Lake Ontario related web sites:
Lake Ontario Sailing: http://www.lakeontariosailing.com/links.htm
@Rochester, NY: http://roch.com/recreation/cyclotour-guide-books-936.html
Bruce Trail (Hiking only): http://www.torontobrucetrailclub.org &
State (NY) Council on Waterways: http://www.scow.net/scow_links.htm
Info Rochester: http://www.inforochester.com/bike.htm
Info Buffalo: http://www.infobuffalo.com/bike.htm
Brock Univ., Summer Accommodations, www.brocku.ca/sportsres, 905 688-5550 press 1, x
Ontario Cycling Hostel/Longhbreeze B&B: www.ontariocyclinghostel.com
Sample Map page from the 1st ed. of 'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour
Park to Golden Hill State Park
The map (from the 1st ed.) below shows the both the rapid route using
Rt.18 and the scenic route near the lakeshore through farmland on the Lake Ontario South
shore in rural Orleans County, N. Y.
Here's a map from the 1st Editon. The maps in the 3nd Edition & its revisions are much
Map, 1st Ed., © Harvey Botzman, 1994.
'Round Lake Ontario: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 2nd Ed., 2011-12 Rev. us$25.95.
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