Hiking, cycling, snowmobiling, horseback riding and cross country skiing.
Formerly 14.5 km (9 miles), this railtrail has doubled in length and it now stretches 30 km, from near County Road 90 to just north of Elmvale.
The North Simcoe Railtrail follows a railway line built in 1879. The North Simcoe Railway, after which the trail was named, transported goods and people between Penetanguishene harbour and Colwell, near Barrie. There the railway connected to the CN Barrie-to-Meaford line. The North Simcoe Railway was abandoned in 1991. By September of 1992, the former Township of Vespra asked for proposals to utilize the right-of-way.
In November of 1992, a coalition of user groups offered to operate and maintain a shared use recreational trail at no extra cost to the Township. A lease agreement with a management board, North Simcoe Railtrail Inc., was put in place to make this happen. The Township of Springwater is the current land owner.
The entire North Simcoe Railtrail is now designated as part of the Trans Canada Trail, a nationwide trail that extends over 8000 km across Canada between the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
At its south end, approximately 12 km has been resurfaced with stonedust screenings. What used to be a rutted, overgrown trail with sand patches is now wide, smooth and level. Moreover, 11 interpretive signs of historical and environmental interest have been erected and trailhead signs have been placed at main access points.
North of Horseshoe Valley Road (County Road 22), the railtrail is unimproved rail bed. The surface is quite level, and makes for a fairly easy ride for cycling. This northern section will be upgraded to the same standards as the south section, when funding permits.
The northern half also includes a few detours along municipal roads where sections of the right-of-way were sold off and alternate routes have yet to be determined.
The snowmobile route skirts Elmvale, and rejoins the trail north of Elmvale. An alternate route for equestrians around Elmvale still has to be determined.
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Design by GXCENTRIK DESIGN