All you need is a map (free from the PEC Chamber of Commerce), a bike and a sense of adventure to explore the backroads of Prince Edward County. Super accessible from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, the county is perfect for cyclists with its pastoral landscape crisscrossed by a network of quiet roads. Hills are minimal and the few in the area aren’t big so it’s a great trip for beginner cyclists. Allow at least two days to do the region justice – especially if you’re into wine tasting, coffee drinking and poking about galleries.
There are three main towns in the county – Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington. If you don’t have your own bike, you’ll probably want to start in Bloomfield as it’s the only place that offers bike rentals. Then it’s a question of what do you want to see and do. Options abound. It’s probably best to pull out the map and put a little thought into how you’d like your day to unfold.
With short distances between towns and attractions, it’s easy to cover a lot of the county in a day. Strong cyclists could easily bike 100 kilometres and include all the highlights. But this part of the world deserves to be explored at a slower pace – especially with all the diversions possible. Food and wine lovers will want to include as many stops as possible on The Taste Trail. Featuring some of the 35 plus wineries in the area as well as lots of the region’s best restaurants and food stands, you can rest assured you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. Don’t miss a visit to the Closson Chase winery for a taste of its delicious world-class wines.
A stop at one of the 29 galleries or studios on The Arts Trail is another way to break up your ride. You’ll find everything from pottery to blown glass; photography to hand made furniture and lots of paintings. It’s a great way to meet the artist and throw your support behind the local community.
If it’s a hot summer day you’ll want to include a visit to Sandbanks Provincial Park, home to the world’s largest freshwater sand dunes. Have a swim, walk the white sand beach and find some shade for a picnic. If you’ve got a tent you can camp here as well.
There are only a few roads you need to avoid in the county. Highway 33 and Highway 62 can get busy with traffic so they aren’t a lot of fun to ride. Every other road is fair game. There may be a few others with no shoulder but chances are they’re quiet and won’t present a problem.
Don’t Miss These Stops/Rides
- The Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates Winery has as much interesting art work outside as it does inside. The winery is excellent too and the grounds are beautiful. The Mad Dog Gallery just eight kilometres from Picton in a beautifully refurbished old barn is a fun place to visit for it traditional and contemporary art by local artists from around the county.
- Do a loop ride from Picton past Lake of the Mountain Provincial Park. The views across Adolphus Reach, a part of Lake Ontario, are extremely pretty. Carry on via very quiet side roads to Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. for cheese and picnic supplies. Before returning to Picton stop at Waupoos Winery and be wowed by their maple infused icewine.
- Join locals who have embraced the County Canteen in Picton for the “bounty of the county”.
- Check out Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area. Lock your bike up and explore some of the hiking trails or go for a swim on a hot day. During peak migration the area might be closed so check beforehand.
Not only is Prince Edward County a delight to cycle, it’s one of the few places of its size that doesn’t have any chain hotels. Instead you’ll find loads of B&B’s and historic inns. Combine that with its reputation for delicious local food and world-class wine, beautiful backroads and a host of interesting things to see and you can understand why two days only scratches the surface of what the area offers.
Click here to learn more about Prince Edward County and plan your trip!