Come experience Port Hope trails for the wonders of plants and animals in their natural habitat. Walk through the trees and breathe deep.

Riverside trails that follow the calming water

This is where you get your best nature fix! Breath deep and take in the beauty of the Ganaraska River. Our riverside trails guide you around town and along the river so you can get a taste of the local lifestyle and wildlife. Here's a snapshot of our riverside trails:

Ganaraska Hiking Trail: CLOSED Sept. 2 - Oct. 15, 2020

Please note that Municipality of Port Hope has closed this trail for the salmon migration from September 2 - October 15, 2020.

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail is perfect for recharging by the water. This beautiful trail runs alongside the Ganaraska River where you can marvel at the salmon and see local wildlife. 

Download the Riverside Trail maps

Trail Info

  • Length: Ganaraska Hiking Trail (9.3 km), Patricia Lawson/Jack Goering Section (1.5 km)
  • Rating: 4 (Unmaintained trails. Inspected biannually to every three years.)
  • Access Points: Barrett Street and Jocelyn Street.
  • Surface: natural, grass, top soil, gravel
  • Elevations: low to medium to high
  • Width: 2 -3 feet
  • Impediments: roots, trees, branches
  • Features: river access
  • Accessible: no

Trail Details

The work of dedicated naturalists, the trail began as an inspired centennial project in 1967 to give nature enthusiasts access to the countryside. It transformed the former railway line from Port Hope to Lindsay and Beaverton into a hiker's adventure. The hardworking Ganaraska Trail Association opened the trail to the public on April 21, 1968. Today it connects all the way to the Bruce Trail near Glen Huron. The Port Hope portion of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is proudly maintained by the Pine Ridge Hiking Club and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: The Ganaraska River is one of most ecologically healthy rivers in Ontario populated by wild salmon and trout.
  • Plant: The Canada Anemone blooms in late spring through summer and is found along rivers where there is a lot of sun.
  • Bird: In spring and summer, listen for the flute-like song of the Hermit Thrush. You'll find them along the trail scavenging for insects.
  • Landmark: The 1853 file factory was a leading manufacturer of files and rasps using the power of steam and water.

Molson's Mill Trail: CLOSED Sept. 2 - Oct. 15, 2020

Please note that Municipality of Port Hope has closed this trail for the salmon migration from September 2 - October 15, 2020.

Take a walk back in time on the Molson's Mill Trail. See the Ganaraska River's limestone rapids that gave early settlers the water power for mills and a famous brewery. 

Download the Riverside Trail maps

Trail Info

  • Length: 0.4 km
  • Rating: 2 (Crushed stone and/or hard packed trail. Inspected spring and fall)
  • Access Points: Fish Ladder Park
  • Parking lot
  • Surface: natural, wood chips
  • Elevations: low
  • Width: 4 feet
  • Impediments: roots
  • Features: River access, view of historical Mill
  • Accessible: no

Trail Details

The spring-fed waters of the Ganaraska River that this trail follows were said to produce a superior quality beer! The trail's focal point, Molson's Mill, was named for the Molson family who founded Molson Breweries in 1780 in Montreal. Thomas Molson wanted to expand the business in Upper Canada and purchased one of the original community mills on the Ganaraska to establish a brewery. Port Hope became famous for both beer and whiskey, part of the growing industry boosted by the developed harbour and railway for shipping.

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: Anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 chinook and silvery coho salmon migrate north along the Ganaraska River to their spawning grounds.
  • Plant: Jack-in-the-pulpits are herbaceous perennials with purple and greenhooded
  • Bird: Black-and-White Warblers are very local birds with a distinct squeaky song, similar to that of a dog toy, which can be heard from afar.
  • Landmark: The 1851 grist mill, known for its architectural significance, also housed the Ontario College of Art in 1913. Today it's a school for the arts.

Riverside Railway Trail: CLOSED Sept. 2 - Oct. 15, 2020

Please note that Municipality of Port Hope has closed this trail for the salmon migration from September 2 - October 15, 2020.

Come experience Port Hope's railway history with fantastic views of the water on the Riverside Railway Trail. 

Download the Riverside Trail maps

Trail Info

  • Length: 0.8 km
  • Rating: 1-2 Hard surface finish. Inspected spring and fall, crushed stone and/or hard packed trail. Inspected spring and fall
  • Access Points: Cavan Street, Barrett Street
  • Surface: limestone screening/paved
  • Elevations: low
  • Width: 4-5 feet
  • Impediments: minimal
  • Features: River access, Bird Island Park, Optimist Park Playground
  • Accessible: yes

Trail Details

Railways cemented Port Hope's reputation as a growing economic hub in the mid-19th century. Now you can follow the former track routes along Cavan Street by the Ganaraska River on this popular trail. First the east-west line of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada was built here. Then the Midland Railway that connected Port Hope to Peterborough and beyond. Later the Canadian Pacific Railway crossed the Ganaraska River on a series of poured concrete piers and steel bridge spans, opening for traffic in 1914. A station once stood on the south side of the track west of Hope Street South.

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: Watch for the magnificent salmon here. They can weigh as much as 43 lbs.
  • Plant: The light blue, purple or pink flowers of Wild Geraniums are a common woodland plant and an important nectar and pollen source for bees and butterflies.
  • Bird: Baltimore Orioles are often seen perched high up in the tree tops or scrummaging through foliage looking for insects. If you see a male, a female is likely nearby weaving her hanging nest.
  • Landmark: The Canadian Canning Company on Cavan Street was so efficient that peas within an 8km-radius of town could be canned within an hour of harvesting. The building became a candy factory in 1970.

Cochingomink Trail: CLOSED Sept. 2 - Oct. 15, 2020

Please note that Municipality of Port Hope has closed this trail for the salmon migration from September 2 - October 15, 2020.

Stroll in the heart of town on the Cochingomink Trail. Come walk this riverside trail that takes you past the historic Capitol Theatre, the Port Hope Public Library and into the woods. 

Download the Riverside Trail maps

Trail Info

  • Length: 1.1 km
  • Rating: 1 (Hard surface finish. Inspected spring and fall)
  • Access Points: Barrett Street, Walton Street, Rotary Park
  • Surface: paved
  • Elevations: low
  • Width: 4-5 feet
  • Impediments: minimal
  • Features: public washrooms, Memorial Park playground
  • Accessible: yes

Trail Details

The name Cochingomink was the name of the Mississauga village established near the mouth of the Ganaraska River in the 17th century, meaning “where the lake meets the land” as an inlet or “the start of the carrying place.” The start was the beginning of the portage route across the land between the Ganaraska River to Rice Lake – a trail first used by travelers, hunters and traders. Walk part of the trail first blazed by the First Nations people who lived here for more than 1,000 years, confirmed by many archeological findings in the area.

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: Rainbow Trout introduced to Lake Ontario in the 1800s and were stocked specifically in the Ganaraska River in the 1970s for anglers. Look for them during their early spring and fall migration.
  • Plant: Orange and yellow Jewelweed along the trail provides cover for the cicadas that sing their buzzing trill.
  • Bird: You'll find majestic Great Blue Herons along the riverbanks, edges of marshes and ponds, typically wading in the water to strike their prey day or night.
  • Landmark: The Rotary Park Bridge marks the historic spot of the Canadian Northern Railway viaduct over the Ganaraska River at Cavan Street.

Ganaraska Millennium Trail: CLOSED Aug. 28 - Oct. 1, 2020

Please note that Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority has closed this conservation area for the salmon migration from August 28 - October 1, 2020.

Experience the wonders of the seasons on the Ganaraska Millennium Trail. You'll see native grasses and flowers.

Download the Riverside Trail maps

Trail Info

  • Length: 2.1 km
  • Rating: 1 (Hard surface finish. Inspected spring and fall)
  • Access Points: GRCA parking lot off of County Rd 28.
  • Surface: Dirt and gravel
  • Elevations: Low
  • Width: 2-5 feet
  • Impediments: Roots, and branches
  • Features: View of a wetland, and alongside Ganaraska River
  • Accessible: no

Trail Details

Head to the Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area where you can hike the trails around the old Molson Pond area and along the Ganaraska River north of County Rd. 28 and Hwy 401, not far from downtown Port Hope. See the environmental protection demonstration sites, native grasses and flowers. Each season offers new species, sounds and colours, like the marsh marigolds that cast a golden glow on the forest floor each spring and fall's various warblers and the glint of red from the spawning coho and chinook salmon in the river. Nature's wonderland! This trail is maintained by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority.

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: Brown trout are plentiful, especially in the cooler water periods. They can rapidly change colour, getting darker when being aggressive, lighter when being submissive.
  • Plant: Mayapples stand out because of their massive leaves. They don't flower every year, but you can tell if it will flower based on the number of leaves. If the plant has two leaves it will bloom that year.
  • Bird: You might just see a Barred Owl nesting in a tree cavity of an old-growth forest. They have a large grey-brown rounded head with no eartufts and are highly vocal.
  • Landmark: Picnic and get some shade at the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority gazebo on the grounds. What better place to relax and rest your feet!

Lakeshore discoveries with landmarks and lookouts

The Waterfront Trail has stunning views, beaches and protected habitats for creatures like the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly and the Bank Swallow. There's a great lookout at the Alice King Sculthorpe Memorial Woodland Marsh that is dedicated to the Port Hope native for her environmental advocacy.

Waterfront Trail

Take in the four-season beauty of walking by the water on the Waterfront Trail. Feel the breeze, watch the waves, feed the chickadees.

Download the Waterfront Trail map

Or visit the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail website to see the entire route. 

Trail Info

  • Length: Waterfront Trail 19.8 km, Peter Huffman Section 2.5 km
  • Rating: 2 (Crushed stone and/or hard packed trail. Inspected spring and fall)
  • Access Points: Caldwell Street, Lake
  • Street, Gages Creek
  • Surface: natural, limestone screening
  • Elevations: low to medium to high
  • Width: 2-4 feet
  • Impediments: roots, trees, stones/rocks
  • Features: Lake vistas, sand beaches
  • Accessible: some portions

Trail Details

The trail has amazing views, beaches and protected habitats. It features the dedicated work of volunteers that made this trail possible, including benches, bird feeders, a gazebo and tributes to the community leaders who played key roles in the trail's development: the Keith Richan Walkway and the A.K. Sculthorpe Memorial Woodland Marsh. There's so much to see and experience on foot, and it's all so close to the charming heritage downtown. Come visit!

Trail Highlights

  • Fish: Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass and Lake Trout are commonly found (and fished!) in Lake Ontario.
  • Plant: Turtleheads are wildflowers along the banks of waterways and damp grounds. They are also the host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.
  • Bird: The Bank Swallow digs its nest in banks and sandy cliffs, creating a burrow. You may not be able to see the burrows, but if you look to the sky, you may find a small brown swallow fluttering above you.
  • Landmark: The lookout at the Alice King Sculthorpe Memorial Woodland Marsh is dedicated to the Port Hope native for her environmental advocacy.

Even more trails 

You can also explore the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority’s maintained trails in the beautiful mixed forest of the Ganaraska Forest or climb through the treetops with Treetop Trekking. Take a leisurely stroll along the path by Ganaraska River at the Sylvan Glen Conservation Area. This hidden gem is just off Sylvan Glen Road north of downtown. We've got nature all around us with fantastic views of the rolling hills, the Ganaraska River and Lake Ontario.