cataraqui trail

The Cataraqui Trail is a popular and well-used outdoor attraction within the Cataraqui watershed, as hundreds of residents and visitors alike take advantage of its 104 kilometres to get fresh air and exercise, as well as the opportunity to experience the varied landscape and dynamic flora and fauna that live in this exceptionally picturesque part of southeastern Ontario.

The Cataraqui Trail is owned and operated by Cataraqui Conservation, with support from the Municipalities of Stone Mills, South Frontenac, Rideau Lakes, Smiths Falls, The Friends of the Cataraqui Trail, Snowmobile Clubs, and volunteers to perform maintenance, communications/signage, enforcement, and infrastructure investments.

There are sections of the trail that are not owned by Cataraqui Conservation. Special right-of-way agreements have been established with landowners for these sections that maintain the continuity of the trail. These agreements permit specific activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding but exclude motorized vehicles with the exception of maintenance equipment and snowmobiles with a valid permit. The entire trail is non-motorized consistent with the agreements.

The number one concern for all stakeholders is the safety of the trail for all users. Therefore, Cataraqui Conservation, as the owner of the property along which the trail runs, requires trail users to respect a small number of significantly important rules.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Stay on the trail at all times. While it is tempting to want to go off trail at times to explore, camp, fish, swim or other activities, these off-trail excursions can damage sensitive habitat that we are trying to preserve and protect. As well, the risk of injuries or damage to property is possible if people go into areas not maintained and monitored by Cataraqui Conservation. There is also a much greater chance of attracting ticks, or encountering noxious plants, such as wild parsnip and poison ivy off the trail. The Cataraqui Conservation owned trail corridor is narrow and leaving the trail is trespassing on private property.
  • No fishing, swimming, mooring your boat, or jumping/diving off bridges along the Cataraqui Trail. The danger of injury is very much elevated, which is why Cataraqui Conservation does not allow these activities to take place. Signage reminding people of these dangers is in place, and these activities are strictly prohibited.
  • The Cataraqui Trail is not a conveyance for water access. Launching any kind of water vessel from the trail is prohibited, as this is not the stated and intended usage of the property. The trail is strictly designed and maintained as a recreational trail for the purposes of walking, hiking, running, cycling, dog walking, horseback riding and in the winter, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling with a valid OFSC permit.
  • Dogs must be on a leash. Many trail users have legitimate fear of animals or strong allergies, and their peace of mind is paramount. Also, if a dog is off leash, it may have an encounter with wildlife, other leashed dogs, pick up ticks, or brush up against noxious plants
  • Other than snowmobiles in winter, no motorized vehicles are allowed anywhere on the Cataraqui Trail, excluding authorized maintenance vehicles.
  • Keep the wild in wildlife. Do not feed wildlife, human food is not healthy for wild animals and they do not need food from humans to survive. Wild animals have specialized diets, and they can become malnourished or die if fed the wrong foods.

The best way to ensure the Cataraqui Trail continues to be safe, sustainable and an important part of the recreational landscape of the Cataraqui Region for generations to come is to simply use the trail in the way it was created and built – for recreation. We invite you to enjoy the beauty of the Cataraqui Trail, follow the proscribed uses, have consideration for your fellow trail users and the private landowners who allow the trail through their property.

Please email if you have any questions or concerns.