by Jordan Smith
The Almonte Riverside Trail (ART), which runs 7.5 km from Strathburn St. in Almonte to the Mill of Kintail, is open for biking and hiking. Some short sections are still muddy but they are drying out fast and overall conditions are excellent.
While most of the trail is obvious to follow, we are planning to put up more signage this season to improve navigation. Meanwhile, some tips:
At the Strathburn St. end, when you reach the parking lot between the stone house and the silos, proceed straight across the pavement to reach the trail continuation on the other side.
From the James Naismith Way turnaround, the trail continues to Mill of Kintail where the road crosses the culvert at the ravine.
At the James Naismith House on Hwy 29, the trail comes out at the south end of the guard rail just in front of the split rail fence by the barns. To continue to the Kill of Kintail, proceed 200 metres north on the highway and cross the road to the west side. The trail starts at the end of the guard rail, crosses the ditch into the edge of the farmer’s field, then runs up the ravine to the woods at the back of the field. From there it passes along the back of the fields to the Mill of Kintail, ending at the stream study area.
There is a new section of trail at the Strathburn end to bypass the area beside the river that floods in the spring. This new section is still under construction and makes a challenging mountain bike ride, but is fine to walk.
For mountain bikers, beware the prickly ash which is starting to come up. Spare tubes or Stan’s sealant are recommended. A fast out-and-back ride from Almonte to the Mill of Kintail is about 15 km and takes about 90 minutes. Do not ride around the muddy sections as that widens the trail. Do not ride in the Mill of Kintail as it is not an allowed activity there except on the designated roads.
Please be advised that this is a recreational trail on private land. Users assume all risks. Do not pick any plants except buckthorn or prickly ash that may be on the trail bed.