It’s better late than never. Spring has finally sprung which means the hard snow that has shielded the green in Kingston is now disappearing and the nature beneath is now visible! It’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery! Spring is about becoming active and really enjoying the outdoors, so below we’ve put together a list of trails in Kingston to enjoy. Please comment below if you have experiences to share or more suggestions of outdoor trails to enjoy in Kingston!
1. Lemoine Point Conservation Area
This is likely a local fave, and I must say it is one of my favourite trails in Kingston simply due to the view of the water. I grew up not far from the airport, and I always looked forward to entering the patch of land tucked away down the road that was nothing but paths through wildlife and beautiful scenic lookouts over the shoreline. As I lived so close, it was easy for me to go in the late afternoons after school or work, and the trail was often quiet without too many travelers at one time. If you decide to check it out over the weekend, you may notice there are many dog walkers and runners heading for their own regular route, however, there is 11 km of trails available – with a low level of difficulty (think flat) – so there is a lot of land to explore! It’s an easy to escape from the busyness of everyday chaos. The land also comes with cool history – during the War of 1812, cannons were placed on the point. In 1836, the point was sold to retired British Army officer Captain William Lemoine. As of 1975, Lemoine Point is now owned by the Cataraqui Region Conversation Authority (CRCA).
Lemoine Point can be accessed from either the North end off Highway 33 at Collins Bay or South end by the airport, by taking a quick Right at the end of Front Road, each with full parking lots. It also has a stone beach at the north end of the conservation area! It can be great for kids if you want to bring them along. The trail is dotted with benches and picnic tables. Best part – it’s free!
2. Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area
Also owned by the CRCA, a few minutes away from downtown is Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation area. It has total of five trails totally 14 km with low to moderate ranges of difficulty and has beautiful views of nature. The trails includes wetlands, marshes and forest. It’s beautiful! The conservation area is north of Highway 401 and Division St. It’s a good place for family outings as it is the headquarters for the CRCA – The Outdoor Centre. The Outdoor Center includes a snack bar, an observation tower, meeting rooms and washrooms. Throughout the spring and summer, day camps and education programs are run. The Outdoor Centre is also available for rent.
The cool thing about the trails here is that the conservation area has a lot of extra activities to offer within. Canoe and Kayak rentals are available in the summer at a cost. There are also events and workshops. You can see the events coming up in April here.
To access these trails, there is a small fee. $5.50 for children over 12, $3.00 for persons 12 and under or maximum $14.00 per car.
3. The K&P Trail
This is a beautiful place to be! I didn’t actually know the trail was an old rail line, but recently learned the K&P stands for Kingston to Pembroke which was indeed an old railway line incorporated by a group of Kingston businessmen in 1871. They intended to build a railway that would allow access to logging and mining to the north. However, by 1876, the need to build the railway all the way to Pembroke was no longer a necessity. For locals, the K&P stands for “Kick and Push”.
The abandoned rail bed now offers 15 km of non-motorized trail that extends from the Little Cataraqui Creek described above all the way to Verona. It’s mostly gravel. The trail is surrounded by wetlands and nature. It can be accessed from six different entry points in Kingston, each offering unique scenic sites. You can view the different access points here.
The K&P Trail is free and offers low-difficulty hiking.
Update (April, 2021): The rail-trail starts in downtown Kingston (Douglas Fluhrer Park) and is a fully developed multi use trail that extends to 75 km to Sharbot Lake and continues an additional 15 km north after that to Clarendon Station. ATVs are permitted on the Trail once it crosses Bellrock Road to the north. There is now is a Community Facebook Group at https://facebook.com/groups/frontenackptrailgroup with around 1500 members who discuss the Trail.
4. The Rideau Trail
This trail opened in 1971 and runs from Confederation Park in Kingston to the Rideau Canal Ottawa locks in Ottawa – roughly 387 km of cleared trails. The side trails are marked with different colours which makes it safe. It is owned and maintained by the Rideau Trail Association (RTA). The neat thing about this trail is that both private and public landowners permit this trail to be open – it’s great to see people and communities coming together for something like this. . Donations to the Rideau Trail Preservation Fund also allow for the continuity of the trial.
I’ll admit – even after living in Ottawa as well, I have yet to go on a long hike throughout the Rideau Trail but have heard really positive remarks from friends I’ve talked too. The trail is both for beginners and advanced hikers – it is not meant for cyclists. Like most trails, motor vehicles are not allowed. On the Rideau Trail Association website , Kingston outings are posted where groups can come together on go on hikes. Levels of difficulty are included. If you’re looking for some spring activity, this is a great place to start!
There is no fee to access the Rideau Trail.
Did we miss any of your favourite local trails? What are your experiences of the trails in Kingston?