Looking for a way to safely explore a new area while on two wheels? Whether it be within the city or out in the county green spaces, Windsor Essex has plenty of ways for you to plan your next cycle-friendly adventure. Cyclists of all sorts can explore this region at the southern peninsula of Ontario via six established cycling trails, mapped out by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island and their partners.
The trails vary by way of experience – with everything from an 8km scenic ride along the Windsor Riverfront to a three-day, 130km cycling adventure through Windsor, Kingsville and Essex – so no matter your skill level or preference, there is certainly a trail to get your wheels turning! You can check out all the trails now at visitwindsoressex.com/bike or learn more about the unique experiences below.
Windsor Riverfront & Ganatchio Trail
Spend the day along Windsor’s stunning riverfront and easily traverse from one end of the city to the other! The 34km trail is relatively easy by way of effort however, it is also full of beautiful sights and borders unique neighbourhoods so take your time and enjoy a few stops along the way.
Start at the base of the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international boarder crossing in North America, and travel the paved, winding trail east along the riverfront parkland to the Hiram Walker distillery in historic Walkerville. This section of the Riverfront Trail is home to the Windsor Sculpture Park and the Great Canadian Flag, as well as beautiful gardens like the Dieppe Gardens, which honours veterans of foreign wars with distinctive monuments. Consider a stop at the Bert Weeks Memorial Garden home to an elaborate fountain and reflecting pool, or the Clifford and Joan Hatch Wildflower Garden featuring local flowers, all of which make for great places to stop and snap a photo because if it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen? With the Detroit skyline in the background, the larger than life Canadian flag, the stunning Ambassador Bridge or the Odette Sculpture Park home to 31 large-scale, internationally recognized works of contemporary sculpture by world-renowned artists, to say this ride is visually appealing would certainly be an understatement.
Pick up a takeout lunch from one of the numerous bike-friendly restaurants in Downtown Windsor and enjoy a few minutes repose in the Rotary Centennial Garden adjacent to Festival Plaza mid way through this section of the trail. Stop for a ‘selfie’ in front of the fountains at Caesars Windsor Casino Resort. Canada’s largest internationally branded casino offers non-stop gaming, world-class entertainment, and a variety of dining options.
As the trail reaches the 5km mark, you will find yourself just down the road from Old Walkerville, Windsor’s Distillery District and home to J.P. Wisers’, Hiram Walker, and many stops on the Barrels, Bottles and Brews Trail, including Walkerville Brewery! With a rich history steeped in the rollicking days of smugglers and Prohibition, Walkerville retains its heritage while offering vibrant boutique shopping, theatres and seasonal festivals, and trendy dining experiences.
As you head further east through Windsor, make a stop in Ford City. This ‘Company Town’, named after the Ford Motor Company, is the birthplace of labour unions. Here, thirty-six outdoor murals have been erected on twenty sites along Drouillard Road, the hub of the District. These works serve to honour and preserve the area’s place in Windsor’s history, and that of the global auto industry.
Continuing along Riverside Drive, you will make your way to the Ganatchio Trail where, whether walking, cycling or jogging, you can explore 8 km of scenic trails stretching from the City of Windsor to the Town of Tecumseh. Named after the First Nations word for Lake St.Clair, the Ganatchio Trail features three distinct sections: urban, suburban and naturalized parkland. Along the way, why not stop for a refreshing swim at Sandpoint Beach with picnic areas and kayak rentals on the Detroit River.
If you are looking to extend your stay, Windsor Essex is proud to host cyclists at one of our bike-friendly accommodations and enjoy Windsor’s lively downtown scene, with great restaurants, theatres, music venues, shops, and artistic landmarks.
Cypher Systems or Chrysler Greenway
If a rural ride is more your preference, head into the county of Essex to enjoy the scenic greenspaces via the Chrysler Canada Greenway, a 42 km-long gravel rail trail stretching from Oldcastle (near Windsor) all the way to Leamington. With five community entrances so that you can easily alter the length of your ride. Or perhaps briefly pop off the trail and venture in to Harrow, Kingsville or Ruthven to visit one of the many bike friendly businesses along the way such as our local wineries, breweries or food stands. A 1km paved, accessible trail connecting to Sadler’s Pond Park in the Town of Essex is the most northerly community entrance for this section of Greenway.
The 50 km Chrysler Canada Greenway was created from an abandoned rail line that stretches from Amherstburg and the travels through Essex County; this nature trail comprises the southernmost link of the Trans Canada Trail. This branch line has strong ties to the area’s prohibition roots, built by Hiram Walker in 1882 and extended all the way to Kingsville, and later Leamington in 1889.
EXPERIENCES THAT COMPLIMENT THE CYCLING ROUTE
For our nature lovers, why not enjoy some time on the water at one of our local canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board outfitters? It may just be the perfect way to relax after a day in the saddle and enjoy the bonus of an Essex County sunset.
Order from any of our EPIC Wineries or BBB Partners for curbside pick up or delivery so that you can take Windsor Essex home with you! Or if a caffeinated beverage is more your style, our Coffee Culture in Windsor Essex is like no other, so be sure to stop in to pick up a cup of our locally roasted java along your route and grab a bag or two to keep the experience brewing!
The Windsor Essex area makes for a smooth ride for recreational cyclists, families, or avid enthusiasts with its largely flat topography. Trails connect to the LaSalle Trail system, along the Herb Gray Parkway, Point Pelee National Park and are also part of the Trans Canada Trail and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.
Though there are routes a plenty, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island has made it easy to decipher with their cycling map that outlines not only trails/routes but also bike friendly establishments to drop in on along the way.
Choosing which route to take may just be the hardest part of your bike-friendly adventure. For a full list of routes and information on cycle-friendly businesses, go to visitwindsoressex.com/bike.
Additional Visitor Information