Discovering the Red Hill Creek Trail – Hardest Cycling Trail yet!

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this trail but that’s mainly because I spent most of my time attempting to *not* let it kick my ass! 🙂  Instead, I’ve linked to a few shots I found online.  Next time I bike this route, however, I will definitely take the time to get a few shots.

The Red Hill Creek Recreational Trail was becoming legendary in my world and I was starting to think that perhaps it was the ultimate, invisible trail, the final challenge for a cyclist before moving on to Cyclist Nirvana.  Turns out it was simply a level up, way up.

A couple of weeks ago, I biked up the escarpment via the Hamilton Rail Trail.  It ended at Albion Falls and according to everything I had read online and the maps I had considered before leaving the house, the Red Hill trail was supposed to begin pretty much where the Rail Trail ended.  I spent almost an hour pedaling around up there, asking people for directions and consulting my handy-dandy Google maps satellite view, which was a big tease, showing me how close the trail actually was, but not showing me how to get there!

Eventually, I backtracked and headed home the way I’d headed out.

Last Sunday however, a friend suggested we take a different route which would allow us to jump onto the Red Hill trail at the mid-point.  Not invisible after all.  We found it and initially went north towards the beach and Beach Blvd where we discovered an incredibly wavy Lake Ontario. Just prior to the arriving at the beach, there is a new bridge that crosses over the QEW highway.  It’s quite lovely and has areas to stop and enjoy the scenery.  I couldn’t find an actual picture anywhere, but this artist’s rendering is very similar to what has been constructed.

After enjoying the beach for a bit, I suggested we follow the Red Hill south to its end near Albion Falls. That way, I’d know where to find it next time I made my way up there.

Click here for a map of the path we took.

First off, I have to say…if you’re cycling, follow the path south to Albion (up the escarpment) rather than north down the escarpment.  Some of the hills were so steep that, walking up on the balls of my feet, my calves screaming at me, I could barely push my bike to their crest. Cycling up was a challenge that I would definitely do again!  Cycling down…not so much, thanks. 😉

The other challenge was the gravel.  From where we joined the trail at Lawrence to the beach, the path was mainly gravel.  There was a *lot* of it in spots, to the point that my mountain bike had trouble getting through.  I think the gravel may have been recent, which would explain why it was so loose but regardless, going down hills and around sharp turns required much braking on my part.  At one point, we actually came upon a woman who had skidded out going around a turn.  She was okay but commented on the crappy gravel surface.

When we started on the path, I admit I was quite nervous.  I had never biked on such terrain, usually sticking to paved surfaces or hard packed earth.  We cycled for three hours and by the end, I was loving it!  Tackling such trail surfaces allowed me to get to know my bicycle that much better and I’m looking forward to cycling the same route again!  With pictures next time! 🙂


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