Bruce has been a long time resident of Orleans. When asked for his opinion on places he thought a visitor might find interesting in his neck of the woods, he generously offered a few suggestions which I have linked together into the following bike route!
We begin at the western end of Hiawatha Park and follow a path that weaves it’s way though the residential neighbourhood. This is also the park where A Company of Fools will be performing Twelfth Night this Thursday night! UPDATE: The show in Hiawatha Park has happened, but you can follow this link to see where performances will be held throughout the rest of the summer in parks across the region!
Halfway along the path through Hiawatha Park I turned north towards the Ottawa River via Hiawatha Park Road. Near the northern end of the road there are two interpretive panels that describes the history of Orleans. One panel details the origins of Bruyere Village which the panels are facing, and the Grey Nuns who were it’s initial residents. The second panel details the history of Louis-Théodore Besserer and the influence he had on the formation of Orleans, including the origin of it’s name.
There is a pleasant little park at the end of the street with a fine view across the river.
Next I retraced my treads a short distance up Hiawatha Park Road to where there is access to a bike path that heads east. Bruce mentioned the numerous branches off of this path that lead through the woods down to the rivers edge, in particular the one across from Bilberry Drive.
As one approaches the river along this trail the ground surface transitions from stone dust to packed dirt.
The path follows along the river a short distance, affording some pretty great views across the water and into the woods. Bring bug spray.
Now back on the main path, the next area Bruce mentioned was the stretch between Champlain St and 10th Line Road. The beauty of this section of path is hard to capture in a photo. There is a wonderful cacophony of wildlife in the surrounding canopy of trees and sloped forest floor rising up on the right.
To get to our final destination requires heading inland across a few major traffic arteries. Fortunately there are multi-use paths and bike lanes along Trim Road with a couple of round-abouts to keep things calm.
I then turned right onto St Joseph Boulevard which has bike lanes as far as our final destination, the Princess Louise Falls. The falls are on the south side of the road which requires waiting until there is a long break in traffic to cross, or riding up to the lights at the 174 on ramp, then coming back on the south side. I don’t reccomend trying to get to the falls via 10th Line Road unless you are comfortable riding with lots of speeding heavy traffic. I tried. It sucked. The vantage point of the falls is pretty far from the road, although after a heavy rain fall or in the Spring they would appear quite dramatic even from this vantage point. There is a hiking trail that brings you closer however this would require a mountain bike to negotiate, if they are permitted.
Et voila! Thanks Bruce for all the great suggestions.