This is a three season trail for use during the spring, summer and fall. It extends from Owen Sound to Meaford, where if you choose you can connect with the Georgian Trail (the other end of the harbor) and continue on to Collingwood. The condition of the trail ranges from easy to very challenging, but there are options along the route to leave the trail and take a different route if it looks more difficult than you would like. When it is open it can be used for hiking, cycling or horseback riding.
The initial development and marking of both the on and off road sections of the trail was completed in 2008 and a kiosk erected at each end. There was no rail bed to follow so it is a completely new route that has the best scenery and fewer obstacles as it travels through the beautiful countryside. More off road sections will be completed as property and money becomes available and they will continue to upgrade the present condition off road trail bed.
The first portion to be completed was 4.7 kilometers starting in Owen Sound. The main point of entry is at the north end of the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community centre parking lot on 2nd Ave. E. This portion of the trail takes you to Leith, on past Hibou Beach and on to Tom Thomson’s gravesite at Leith Church. After stopping in Leith or the Beach you can return the way you came, take Tom Thomson Lane and county roads back to Owen Sound or continue along the marked trail to Meaford.
Later, the opening of the Meaford end of the trail was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Rapier Park at the west end of Meaford Harbour and Sykes St. Following the ceremony hikers tried out this new portion of the trail along Side road #22 road allowance between County Road #112 (Range Road) and the 11th Line. So far this part of the trail is used mainly by experienced hikers and mountain bikers but as more money becomes available it will be improved to make the trip a little easier. There are switch back trails and a temporary footbridge over Orchard Creek as well as 2 mini-kiosks and benches at the east and west ends of the trail. Grey County also installed a culvert at the eastern entrance to create an off-road parking area. It has been described as one of the prettiest sections of the trail and when completed will be a very popular section for local hikers.
If you enjoy the outdoors and would like to help with the improvement of this trail you can make your cheque payable to either the City of Owen Sound or the Municipality of Meaford and you will receive a charitable receipt. You could purchase a metre of the trail for $100 and your name or that of a loved one will be placed on a plaque on the trailhead kiosk. For a more memorable donation you could buy a birdhouse for $75 or a bath house for $100. These will be placed along the trail and will bear your name or that of a relative or friend. To remember your pet $50 will buy a brick with their name on it to be placed under the kiosk in Owen Sound. A Memorial Bench for the trail would cost $1,000.