Great Lakes Seaway Trail Cycling

Great Lakes Seaway Trail Cycling Guide

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The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a roughly 3,000-mile-long system of connected waterways and trails that wind through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, and Quebec. The trail is open to both hikers and cyclists and provides stunning views of the Great Lakes region. If you’re looking for a challenge, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is definitely worth checking out. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about cycling the trail, including where to start, what to expect, and how to prepare.


What is the Great Lakes Seaway Trail?

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) network of waterways and trails connecting the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes. The Water Trail stretches from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to Prescott, Ontario, following the route of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The land trail runs along the south shore of Lake Erie from Buffalo, New York, to Port Burwell, Ontario.

The trail is a designated National Recreation Trail in the United States and Canada. It is also recognized as an International Appalachian Trail. In 2012, it was named one of National Geographic’s “Best Adventure Destinations.” 

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is open for year-round recreation, including cycling, camping, fishing, bird watching, and sightseeing.


The Route

The 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail runs along the shores of the Great Lakes from Erie, Pennsylvania, to the Thousand Islands region of New York. The route passes through the heart of the Niagara wine country and along the world-famous Niagara Falls. From there, it follows the Welland Canal and Lake Ontario to Toronto. The route then turns east and follows Lake Erie to Buffalo, New York. 

The trail is a designated National Scenic Byway and is part of the more extensive National Highway System. The route is well-marked and open to cyclists of all skill levels. There are numerous places to stop along the way to enjoy the scenery, take a break, or grab a bite to eat.


Planning Your Trip

When planning your trip, there are a few things to remember. First, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a linear trail that goes from Point A to Point B with no loops or branches. That means you’ll need to decide where you want to start and finish your ride. The trail is 524 miles long, so unless you’re an experienced cyclist, you’ll probably want to break your trip up into smaller chunks.

There are a few different ways to do this. One option is to start at one of the major cities along the route, such as Buffalo or Erie, and ride until you reach the other city. This would allow you to explore each city along the way and see some of the other attractions in the area.

Another option is to choose a specific section of the trail that interests you and plan your trip around that. For example, if you’re interested in seeing the Niagara Falls area, you could start in Niagara Falls and ride west until you reach Buffalo. Or, if you want to see Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands region, you could begin at Brockville and ride east until you reach Kingston.

Whichever option you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip. First, make sure you have a good map of the route. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail website has maps available for download, or you can pick up a printed map at one of the visitor centers along the route.

Second, consider the time of year you’ll be riding. The trail is open year-round, but some sections may be impassable in winter due to snow and ice. If you’re planning a winter trip, make sure to check the weather conditions in advance and plan your route accordingly.

Third, think about where you’ll stay each night. There are numerous hotels, motels, and campgrounds along the route, so finding a place to stay shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re planning a more extended trip, consider renting a vacation home or cottage for part of your trip. This will give you a place to store your belongings and relax after a long day of riding.

Finally, make sure you have all the necessary gear for your trip. This includes a bike in good working condition, a helmet, plenty of water and snacks, and a first-aid kit. You should also bring along a map of the route and some cash in case you need to buy food or supplies along the way.


Great Lakes Seaway Trail for Beginners

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 3,000-mile network of dedicated bicycle trails stretching from Minnesota to New York. The trail connects the Great Lakes with the world’s largest inland waterway system, making it an ideal destination for beginner cyclists exploring the region.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers something for everyone, with accessible riding options along quiet country roads and more challenging routes along the lake shore. No matter what your skill level, you’ll find plenty of breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife to enjoy along the way.

If you’re new to long-distance cycling, we recommend starting with one of the shorter loops in the trail system. These provide a great introduction to the terrain and climate of the region and will help you get a feel for what it’s like to ride on a multi-day tour.

Once you’ve got some miles under your belt, there are plenty of longer routes to explore. The entire Great Lakes Seaway Trail can be ridden in one trip, but most cyclists break it up into smaller sections over weeks or months.

No matter how you ride it, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. So strap on your helmet and get ready for adventure!


Best time of the year to go cycling on the great lakes seaway trail

The Seaway Trail is a 3,000-mile (4,828 km) long coastal route that follows the Great Lakes shoreline from Minnesota to New York. The trail offers breathtaking views of the world’s largest freshwater system and passes through some of America’s most beautiful and historic small towns. 

The best time of year to cycle the Seaway Trail is during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny. However, fall is also a great time to go, as the leaves start to change color and create beautiful scenery. Spring can also be an excellent time to go but beware of possible thunderstorms. 

No matter what time of year you choose to go, you’re sure to have a fantastic experience cycling the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.


What type of bike is best suited for this trail?

If you’re looking to tackle the Great Lakes Seaway Trail on two wheels, you’ll want to ensure you have the right bike for the job. The trail is flat with some gently rolling hills, so a road bike or hybrid bike should be fine. However, if you’re planning on riding off-road, you’ll want a mountain bike.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a great place to ride for all levels of cyclists. If you’re just getting started, we recommend sticking to the paved sections of the trail. Once you get more comfortable on your bike, feel free to explore some of the unpaved trails and paths. Just remember to watch out for roots and rocks!



We hope you enjoyed our Great Lakes Seaway Trail Cycling Guide and that it inspired you to get out and explore this beautiful waterway by bike. The route is well worth the effort, offering stunning scenery, fascinating history, and a sense of achievement that comes with completing such a long journey. 

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