Fort Erie offers several walking trails, some of them suitable for jogging and cycling, including the Friendship Trail and Niagara River Recreational Trail. There are nature areas, where you can get out to enjoy nature, and look for birds and butterflys. Neighbourhood parks offer the opportunity for a pleasant stroll, or a family outing.
The Friendship Trail extends from Lakeshore Road in Fort Erie all the way to Port Colborne. This is a straight flat asphalt trail made from the old railway line, suitable for walking, jogging, and cycling. The section in Fort Erie out to Bertie Bay Road is very close to the lake and side trips down the road accesses can easily be made for a view of the water. The trail is bordered by scrub and riparian woods. It provides a lovely walk anytime of the year, with various wildflowers in spring, lush growth in summer and fall colour in the autumn. It is also accessible for walking in winter, when it provides an attractive scene of fresh white snow. The section out to Port Colborne passes through downtown Ridgeway. To see a Gallery of Friendship Trail photos through the Seasons Click Here.
Niagara River Recreational Trail
This trail is a network of sidewalks, paths and roadways extending 38 miles along the Niagara River Parkway. This path connects with the Friendship Trail, then passes by Old Fort Erie, through the south end of Fort Erie's business district and extends north all the way to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This is an excellent route for a scenic bike ride, and recently a series of bike repair stations have been installed along the way. The Fort Erie to Niagara Falls section provides beautiful views of the river the entire distance.
A short 1/2 kilometre circle walk through a pretty woodlot provides a chance to experience the quiet of the woods. The trail meanders by fallen logs and vernal pools and is a good place to enjoy spring wildflowers. Located on the right side of the field behind the Crystal Ridge Library.
Shagbark Nature Park Burleigh Rd. at Dominion Rd., between Fort Erie and Ridgeway
This 64 acre natural area is comprised of a deciduous wood and a meadow. Signed trails run through the wood and there are bluebird boxes and a chimney swift tower in the meadow. An ideal place to view birds, plants and butterflies. Large parking area. Not maintained in winter although is often accessible. The entrance is difficult to find. From the corner of Dominion Rd. and Burleigh Rd. turn north on Burleigh, the entrance is after the first house on left.
Entrance to Shagbark
Meadow backed by Wood
Trail in Winter
Stevensville Conservation Area West Main St. at Ott Rd. in Stevensville, north west corner of Greater For Erie
This is a 121 acre natural site containing a mixed coniferous and deciduous forest, the Black Creek, a small pond and a picnic area. Ideal for hiking and bird watching. The trail around the pond is a pleasant short walk. The Fort Erie Conservation Club clubhouse is located here and is used for meetings of the FECC and the Bert Miller Nature Club. This site is also ideal for cross country skiing or snowshoeing in winter. Parking available.
Viewing Platform in Fall
Crystal Beach Waterfront Park Foot of Ridgeway Road, Crystal Beach
There are lovely views of the lake from this open grassy park. On site is a gazebo, boat launch, children's playground and washrooms. Large parking lot. Concerts are held here at the bandstand in summer.
Ice Caves 2014
Boat Launch Ramp
Waverly Beach Park Foot of Helena Street, south end Fort Erie
This is a lovely place to come to view the lake and stroll along the boardwalk and promenade. Benches and picnic tables overlook the beach. The promenade follows the rocky shoreline and inland trails lead through a little wood. Washrooms available. In this location an amusement park once existed and some of the remains are visible (see Historic page).
View of Lake
Waverly Beach Park Lakefront Promenade
Waverly Beach Park & Beach
Sugarbowl Park & Leash Free Dog Park Corner Gilmore Rd. & Central Avenue, central Fort Erie
As the name suggests the Lions Sugar Bowl Park is shaped like a large bowl. In the centre is a small manicured pond and a smaller natural pond. On one side is a childrens' playground. The Kinsmen Outdoor Swimming Pool that used to be available here is now closed. On the other side is a leash free zone for dogs.
Waterfront Road Accesses
Many of the roadways that lead to the lake in Fort Erie are accessible to the public. This is unique on the eastern north shore of Lake Erie as there is very little access to the lake along this shore in other municipalities. Although only about 66 feet wide, these road accesses are an excellent way to enjoy the lake's beauty and perhaps do some birdwatching. Each access point is marked with a sign "Welcome to Our Public Waterfront" and the boundaries are marked with white or red/white steel posts. Here are some of these accesses, going from east to west.
Edgemere Road - There are 3 accesses along here, at Pierce, Beachview and Rose Avenues. They lead to a sandy beach. There is no parking here at all. Park at Waverly Beach at the foot of Helena Street and walk west along the road. Kraft Road - Kraft Rd. has tall grasses and a rocky beach. You may spot some bird life here. Boat launching is also allowed here. Buffalo Road - This marshy site is a favourite spot for water birds such as plovers and sandpipers, and sometimes great blue heron and great egret.. In late summer it is awash with the colour of swamp wild flowers. Bertie Bay Road - This has a sand/pebbly beach.
Stonemill Road - A sandy/weedy shore. Windmill Point - This windswept point of land, where once a windmill stood, features a limestone shelf and presents a picturesque view of the lake with its sandy shoreline and rocky outcroppings.
Buffalo Road Marsh
Welcome Sign Stonemill
Centralia - The Centralia Waterfront Access offers a lovely short walk through a Carolinian forest down to the beach. A small parking lot is located just east of a bridge on Thunder Bay Road. The woodchip trail meanders through the wood, crosses a portion of Colony Road and continues on through the wood to the beach. Lovely spring wildflowers - trilliums, marsh marigolds and Dutchmans' Breeches - bloom profusely on the woodland floor and in the marshy areas. Not maintained in winter.
Centralia Wood Trail
Trilliums in the Wood
Burleigh Road - The path leads down a slope from the road to a pebbly beach and limestone flats with a good view of the lake. Maple Leaf Park - This has a rocky/sandy shoreline.
Prospect Point Road - Prospect Point Rd. is at the eastern fringe of Crystal Beach. This spot presents a view of a sand and pebble shoreline with limestone flats.
Burleigh Rd. Waterfront
Burleigh Road Shoreline
Prospect Point Shoreline
Old Rail Trail
The embankment of the old Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway, built in the 1850's, later to become the Grand Trunk Railway and then Canadian National Railways, makes a pleasant walking trail. This path, although not maintained, is based on 3-4 feet of course cut gravel, and so continues to provide a firm dirt walking trail. Although located in the centre of town, it is surrounded by brush and wood, and once there you get the impression of being miles from anywhere.
Part 1 - Dominion Rd. to Garrison Rd.
Park in the open space at the north east corner of Albany Rd. and Helena St. For the small portion of the trail from here to Dominion St. take the trail on the left side of the road. For the walk to Garrison Rd., about 1 3/4 km, take the trail on the right side of the road just north of the parking lot. The trail comes out a few yards west of the Victory Church Parking Lot at Alfred St. and Garrison Rd. This section of the rail goes through marshy brush and woodlands.
Part 2 - Garrsion Rd. to Race Track
Park in the back parking lot at the Race Track, accessed off Concession Rd. and Catherine St. Find the railway track at the road. Go south along a manicured grass walkway to Bertie Rd. Cross Bertie Rd., look for the bridge under the QEW. Follow the trail under the bridge and walk to the end at Garrison Rd. near the parking lot of the Italo Canadian Club. This section goes through a wooded area. The Part 2 walk is about 1 1/2 km or 1 mile long.
Nearby Places of Interest
Heartland Forest Kalar Road just west of Montrose Road and north of Chippewa Creek Road, Niagara Falls
The Heartland Forest Oudoor Learning Centre is a 93 acrea site with a Carolinian wood, frog pond and turtle pond. Trails wend through the wood, where a cabin offers shelter from a sudden shower. Special emphasis is directed at children on the signed trails, and the site is also barrier free. Various events take place during the year. Open year round 8:30 a.m. to dusk. Free admission, donation requested. 20 minute drive from Fort Erie.
Wainfleet Quarry (Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area) Quarry Road off Lakeshore Road just west of Port Colborne
This is an old open pit quarry that has been restored. It is now an attractive lake rimmed by the quarry walls. A trail winds around the top, which can be walked in less than an hour. This is an open easy trail over the limestone where sumac, juniper, and wild roses grow. Half hour drive from Fort Erie.
Rock Point Provincial Park Niece Road, Extension of Highway 3 before it turns north to Dunnville
Stunning view of Lake Erie from the cliff, a sand beach and limestone headland embedded with fascinating fossils. About an hour's drive from Fort Erie.
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