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Chatham-Kent

Description of the Area

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Download Chatham-Kent Maps 13-16

Download Chatham-Kent Maps 24-25

 

Chatham Kent 4GWTA2013 DAY03 WEB-17With the expansion of the Waterfront Trail to Lake Huron in 2016, Chatham will add 63 km of Trail in the northern part of the Municipality along the Thames and St. Clair Rivers [Maps 25-26]. The other part of Chatham-Kent's Waterfront Trail has been open since 2013 and runs along Lake Erie [Maps 13-16] between Leamington and Elgin.

Chatham-Kent along Lake Erie [Maps 13-16]

Heading east from Essex County (Leamington) along Lake Erie, the Chatham-Kent Waterfront Trail follows a 16 km stretch of gravel road from Wheatley to Erieau. The condition of the gravel is variable depending on the time of year, recent weather conditions, and the whether the road has been recently graded. The road is generally passable for all bikes, though a hybrid type tire is generally preferable.

Though not on the Waterfront Trail, a 16 km detour will take you to Buxton Museum where you can learn about the Underground Railroad and Canada's early Black settlements.

As you head into Erieau be sure to take in the path that runs along a dike located on the southern side of McGeachy Pond, a Provincially significant wetland. The Trail was constructed by volunteers of South Kent Trails and a has an observation platform where you'll get a fantastic view of the Lake and Pond. (There are not many trails in Chatham-Kent that have not had the help of South Kent Trails--dedicated and busy group!)

Erieau makes a great stop along the Waterfront Trail, offering beaches, a marina, accommodations, restaurants and even a brewery. Relax on the patio overlooking the beach with great views of Rondeau Provincial Park just across the bay. The trail is not marked into Erieau – it is a technically a side trip and a must-see stop. Look out for Ross Lane as your travel through Erieau Marsh to head south to the town of Erieau.

Blenheim is another small hamlet that offers food and lodging just off the Trail. Rondeau Provincial Park just east of Erieau offers campsites and fantastic natural scenery.

Heading east from Morpeth, the Waterfront Trail follows a stretch of Highway 3 with 90km speed limits and gravel shoulders. Extra caution should be used while travelling on this stretch.

Chatham-Kent along the Thames and St. Clair Rivers (northern part of Chatham-Kent) [Maps 25-26]

The northwest section of Chatham-Kent Waterfront Trail meanders alongside the Thames River on Tecumseh Line. Check out the interpretive plaques on the Tecumseh Parkway that commemorate the 1813 Battle of Thames and First Nations heritage. This part of the Waterfront Trail is designated as Trans Canada Trail as well. 

Going northwest after crossing the Thames River you may be tempted to take a detour to see the St Clair National Wildlife Area. Portable washrooms and parking are available here. The roads leading to the Wildlife Area are gravel--hybrid bikes may fare better than road. On the Trail you'll pass Pain Court (french for short bread) and Grand Pointe. Both hamlets have places where you can grab a bite to eat. Heading into Mitchell's Bay the route becomes an off-road trail, known as the South Lakeshore Trail. Mitchell's Bay is renowned for its great fishing. Its waterfront features a look-out pier over Lake St. Clair, a beach, a splash pad, parking, marina, boat rentals, range of accommodations including camping. Washrooms are available seasonally.

North of Mitchell's Bay you will hit two stretches of gravel road conditions on which vary depending on weather. It is passable but probably best suited for hybrid bikes if cycling.

A short detour north of Base Line Rd. will take you to Wallaceburg, home to a historic museum and lovely restaurants along the Sydenham River. As you continue north on the scenic but gravel Bluewater Line, consider taking Tecumseh Rd through Walpole Island First Nation to the Walpole-Algonac Ferry that departs from Walpole Island for Algonac, Michigan, USA.

MacDonald Park and the Roberta Stewart Wetland are located at the intersection of St Clair Parkway and Langstaff Line. Together they create a beautiful natural park with tall grass prairie and a restored wetland. Amenities include: parking, a covered picnic shelter, washrooms and a walking trail around the wetland. Great birding spot!

  • Predominently farmland
  • 104 km Elgin to Leamington (Lake Erie or south section)
  • 63 km from Town of Lakeshore to St. Clair Township (north section)
  • Great swimming and vistas at provincial parks and nature areas
  • For hikers and walkers--Erie Beach/Rondeau Provincial Park is highly recommended
  • Museums and heritage plaques featuring the Underground Railway and the 1813 Battle for the Thames 
  • International ferry crossing at Walpole (Map 26)
  • Uses some stretches of Hwy 3 (in the south section), posted at 90 kph
  • Four stretches of gravel roadway where suitable alternatives are not available :
    • 36 km on 17th Ln, 16th Ln and 3rd Concession Ln from Craford Rd (Map 12) to Zion Rd (Map 13). Some experienced cyclists prefer Talbot Trail though conditions here are 90kph, no shoulders and frequent truck travel.
    • 5.7 km from Winter Line and Wiliam Lewis Ln (Map 25) to Bear Line Rd and Robin Ln (Map 26); and 
    • 7.6 km from Baldoon Rd and Robin Ln (Map 26) to Border and Beattie
    • 2 km on Bluewater Ln (Map 26)--though it is a very scenic ride/walk.
  • Camping at Wheatly Provincial Park, Rondeau Provincial Park or Mitchell's Bay
  • Accommodations in Leamington (Essex County), Erieau, Blenheim, Ridgetown, Chatham (about 20 km north of Lake Erie)

Local Map

Main Access Points (with parking) 

Lake Erie (south section)

Thames and St. Clair River (north section)

  • Mitchell's Bay
  • Wallaceburg
  • MacDonald's Park and Roberta Stewart Wetland

 

Resources, Local Maps and Connecting Trails

The Chatham-Kent has several trails crossing the region. For more information, visit their website at:

  • www.chatham-kent.ca
  • You can find more information on the Tecumseh Parkeway by visiting the Chatham Kent Museum website.
  • McGeachy Pond Trail--the volunteers of South Kent Trails built a lovely multi-use trail on a dike that travels the southern length of McGeachy Pond. There is an observation platform and picnic area and two fishing docks along the Trail. McGeachy Pond is a provincially significant Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientic Interest owned and managed by the Lower Thames Conservation Authority.
  • Erieau Marsh Trail--In 2012 the community celebrated the installation of a pedestrian/cycling bridge that connected the Erieau Marsh Trail to Lagoon Rd letting people enjoy a walk/cycle along Rondeau Bay. Many thanks to South Kent Trails, Roy Pickering, Ralph Dick and Chet Liu worked with Municipality to realize the connection.
  • Erie Shore Trail--major upgrades are planned for 2015. The boulevard trail will be widened to 10 feet (8 feet asphalt and 2 feet granular) to accommodate the growing popularity of this multi-use path. The Trail will be designed with openings every 100 ft so that small animals, for example, turtles, will be able to cross over the path.

 

Tourism Information

How to Get there and Public Transit Information

via-rail logo
VIA Rail - National Passenger Rail service-Chatham Stop. Chatham is about 20 km north of Lake Erie (Map 12) on Charing Cross Rd; and about a 7 km drive from northern section of Trail at Winter Ln Rd and Grand River Ln (Map 25).

Bike racks are available on all trains equipped with baggage cars.

www.viarail.ca

 

Contact Information

(416) 943-8080
info@wrtrust.com
https://www.facebook.com/gwtadventure
https://twitter.com/WaterfrontRT
http://www.youtube.com/waterfronttrail
https://www.instagram.com/waterfront_rt/
4195 Dundas St. West - Suite 227,
Toronto, Ontario M8X 1Y4

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