Routes - Zone 2
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Zone 1 Map Zone 2 is bordered by the shoreline of Lake Ontario to the north and the shoreline of Lake Erie to the south. The escarpment runs in an east west formation close to the shores of Lake Ontario. The eastern portion of this zone is followed by the Welland Canal while the western most edge basically follows Upper James/Hwy 6 to the Grand River and then drops straight south on Kohler Rd. to the shores of Lake Erie.

The first starting point is Balls Falls Conservation Area (the park charges a fee to park your car). The Balls Falls area is a mixture of rural country, villages, vineyards and some town riding on the edge of St. Catharines. There is something for everyone in this area. Balls Falls is up on the escarpment so a full climb up the ridge is not required, but there are still some good climbs in the area that will add a little bit of a challenge to your cycling day.

The second starting point is located in Stoney Creek. These routes use the escarpment as its focal point. It is here where you will follow the very beautiful Ridge Rd. This road follows the brow of the escarpment and will afford some fantastic views of Lake Ontario and the towns that dot the landscape below. Be sure to bring your camera, you will not be disappointed. The two longer routes follow Waterdown Rd. and Wilson Rd. If you like to climb these 3 - 4 km climbs will leave you feeling satisfied at the end of the day.


Town/CityDistance (km)Elevation Gain (m)Categorized Climbs
ViewBalls Falls85 km597 m1 - Cat.3
ViewBalls Falls100 km643 m1 - Cat.5   |   1 - Cat.3
ViewStoney Creek50 km269 m1 - Cat.4
ViewStoney Creek108 km646 m1 - Cat.5  |   1 - Cat.4
ViewStoney Creek140 km847 m2 - Cat.5   |   1 - Cat.4


Map of Balls Falls


StartLengthStart | End Elevation Elevation GainAvg. GradeMountain Name
cat12.3 km2.7 km 157 m | 242 m85 m3,2%Effingham
cat65.7 km11.9 km 82 m | 200 m118 m1.0%Niagara Escarpment


General Route Information:

  • Start Location: Balls Falls Conservation Area
  • Distance: 100 km
  • Elevation Gain: 643 m
  • Washrooms: Check site for hours of operation
  • Supplies: In the town of Vineland on Victoria Ave.
  • Food on Route: towns of Pelham and Jordan
  • Rating: 9/10

Emergency Services:


This route is much the same as Balls Falls 85 km with a few exceptions. The first exception is a category 5 climb just south of Effingham. The 85 km route navigates around this obstacle for good reason. This is a tough hill for a Category 5 climb. It tops out at 16% and is an "out of the saddle" climb for a good portion of the way. This is not a climb for the faint of heart. Feel free to walk this hill if you must. There's no shame about it. Most climbs of this rating are not that steep. The top of the hill has a kind of false summit as the hill rounds out at the top and cannot be seen from the bottom.

This route will meet back with the shorter route when you turn onto Canboro Rd. This small addition does not add on much distance to the overall route. This route is 15 km longer than it's little brother. The extra distance will start after you get to the top of the next category 5 climb. Instead of turning left onto Fly Rd. you will turn right and complete a kind of box which will meet back with the other route at Camden and Fly Rd.

Some of the highlights of this ride are the small towns and villages you will find along the way. One of my favourites is the town of Jordan. Here you will find top notch food and accommodations as well as quaint shops selling local artisan goods. This is one of the villages where you will need to take care not to miss the turns. While riding they tend to be quick and are easy to miss. Another of the highlights of this route are the small dips into the escarpment. You will have a good downhill run, navigate some great curving roads and then ascend back out the other side. This particular feature is unique to this area.

After your ride you can enjoy the wonderful surroundings of the Balls Falls Conservation Area. You have already paid your fee to park your car so you may as well bring along a post ride picnic and enjoy the natural surroundings of the park. The visitor centre is a wonderful piece of architecture and offers very clean washroom facilities. You can also wander through the visitor centre itself as it has displays and other exhibits for you to enjoy.

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