Whether you’re looking for hiking, walking, or biking trails - Peterborough has an abundance of trails for any skill level.
One of our favourite things to do as a family and as a couple is to hike the local trails. There are a variety of options and locations available, and you can choose your difficulty depending on how you're feeling that day or what end of town you're in.
We know that if you're an avid hiker or biker, you might want to be located close to one of these trails if you're planning on moving in and around the Peterborough area. It's really convenient to be a walk or even a short drive away from your favourite outdoor space.
So let's get to it - here are some of my favourites places to get immersed in nature in Peterborough and the surrounding area.
The local hiking and mountain biking trails vary with difficulty, have stunning views, and are well maintained. In our specific area of town (Otonabee South Monaghan), Harold Town Conservation Area is a huge hit amongst avid mountain bikers and equally amongst leisurely hikers. Its previous use was as a ski hill, so as you can imagine, the terrain is ever-changing and the scenery is unique to each individual trail.
Don’t be discouraged if the parking lot is full - Harold Town is quite large, and even if you think it’s busy, it’s likely that you will only see a couple of faces along the way. If you’re hiking, be sure to keep an ear out for mountain bikers passing by.
This trail is in our neck of the woods, so we hike it quite often with our dog and three young kids!
The Trent Wildlife Sanctuary is a great option for walking and hiking and is located near Trent University off University Road. The sanctuary has a great trail system that is well-marked, so won’t find yourself getting lost in the woods. The trails boast large trees, and vast ecosystems, and even include some boardwalks.
The Robert Johnston Trails were created to help protect, preserve and enhance the natural landscape and ecosystems of this beautiful forested area. Along these well-labelled trails, you will find mature trees, marshes, and a boardwalk, and you’ll be serenaded by all of the local songbirds along the way.
The Millbrook Valley Trails are situated just south of Millbrook and are comprised of over 13km of trails. Most of these trails are limited to walking. Bicycles are only permitted on two of these trails - so be sure to check out the map before you head out with your wheels.
These trails connect to the Ganaraska Forest and Baxter Creek, and consist of a mix of gorgeous scenery and follow along the water, forested areas, farmland, and meadows.
This trail is not maintained in the winter, so be sure to get your kilometres in during those warmer months!
The Ennismore Heritage Trail is a trail located along the shores of Chemong Lake - one of Peterborough’s most popular lakes! This trail has plenty of picnic areas, benches and even an osprey lookout. Make sure you bring a bathing suit because once you’ve completed the 4km you can jump in for a swim.
This trail is maintained from May 15th to October 15th and is closed for the winter.
Eels creek is another one of our favourites to hike. We typically stay in Burleigh Falls overnight and head out on two hikes to Eels Creek during our stay.
This hike hits differently, as the terrain runs right along Eels Creek and the Canadian shield is present along most of the trail. There’s something about seeing that magnificent rock face that makes you feel like you’re in another world, not just a few minutes north of Peterborough!
The trail has a medium-difficulty terrain. It starts out easy and friendly for any skill level, and then some of the landscape changes to a marshy territory where you need to walk across logs. There are some amazing spots along the way to sit and watch the sun hit the water, and you’ll find lots of wildlife, mushrooms, and bids along the way to the falls!
The trail is situated among crown land, so camping here is permitted.
Burnham Park is home to some of the oldest trees that Ontario has grown. This trail is pure forest and is located among the Peterborough Drumlin Field - which is one of the largest drumlin fields in North America!
Burnham Park is open in May, and has shelters, washroom facilities, and hiking trails available before the gates close mid to end of October.
If you’re looking for more of a lengthy run, bike, or walk, The Trans Canada Trail is the one for you. The trail actually runs from Squamish British Columbia all the way to St John’s Newfoundland and is accessible through many locations in Peterborough and the surrounding County. The trail offers both paved and gravel stretches and is accessible for strollers, wagons and wheelchairs.
The TCT has views of rivers, forests, agricultural areas, and bridges. You can find yourself in both rural and urban areas, with rest stops, washrooms, and pit stops for food available along the way - depending on the route you choose! The trail can also be used in the winter months for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Be sure to check out the map for more information on the trail, the access points, and the features.
These trails are just my favourites. There are way more to explore, and we can't wait to try out some new trails in the near future.
We really recommend using the app and site AllTrails, as it will give you coordinates, difficulty, trail length, reviews, and photos from previous visitors.
What better way to spend your days than being immersed in all the natural beauty and fresh air that Peterborough has to offer?