The Cataraqui from Camden East to Harrowsmith Trail Review

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The Cataraqui from Camden East to Harrowsmith Trail Review

Early this Spring we walked the section of the Cataraqui between Camden East and Harrowsmith. There are 16.5 kms (one-way) of trail between the two towns, and we added another 3 kms (one-way) up the K&P trail at it’s junction with the Cataraqui rather than continuing right into Harrowsmith on the Cataraqui. Any further up the K&P brought us too close to Road #38 for our likings.

I’ll lay out this review from Camden East, through Yarker to Harrowsmith, in sections between roads with parking available.

Between Cty Rd #4 at Camden East and Curl Rd. (3.3 kms one-way)

There’s parking for about seven cars at the designated lot just off Cty Rd #4 on Heritage Dr. in Camden East. This link will open Google Maps at the lot:

From the parking lot, this stretch of trail walks alongside Heritage Rd. for about 1/2 a km before becoming forested on the south side. The North side has some views of cultivated land through the trees. Despite it’s proximity to residences, it was quite silent, and there are quite a few bird houses bordering the trail. A pretty view of the Napanee River can be gained by just walking 75 meters South on Curl Rd.

Between Yarker and Curl Rd (3.1 kms one-way)

We chose to walk from Yarker to Curl Rd. due to the dedicated ample parking lot just off Cutler Rd. or Sidings St. in Yarker where a little privy is available. This link will open Google Maps at the location:

Heading West from the parking lot will go through a sparsely treed (white cedar and juniper) forested section open to the sky. The trailside turns to deciduous trees for the last 1/3 of the way. You’ll cross numerous culverts with plenty of water from snow melt (in March when we walked it anyway). There’s limited parking (maybe for 2 cars) at Curl Rd. Some sections are quite high above the surrounding landscape affording views that might not be as visible in the Summer months. Even in March there weren’t many residences visible from the trail, but audibility is a matter of luck (good or bad).

Between Yarker and Camden Portland Boundary Rd (3.8 kms one-way)

From the same parking lot in Yarker, this section of trail walks through (or more accurately, over) Yarker by a bridge spanning both Cty Rd #6, and the Napanee River. Old white stone columns from another bridge over the river can be seen to the North, and the river itself is quite pretty.

From the bridge you’ll walk past some of the outlying residences and a schoolyard, until you cross Colebrook Rd. Just before you cross a little wooden bridge over open water, a wetland of some 750 meters will begin. When we walked it in mid March, the bright red of the dogwood shrubs lent a welcome splash of color, and the honking, quacking, and squawking of the waterfowl was just as welcome.

Once past the wetland, you’ll be plunged into a deciduous forest for the remainder of the walk to Camden Portland Boundary Rd. This section comes very close to Cty Rd #1 East, but we found very little distraction due to the wooded areas, a few rockcuts, and an intermittent berm on the South side which deadened most sound and, for the most part, blocked the view of the road.

Between Camden Portland Boundary Rd & Colebrook Rd (5.2 kms one-way)

There’s parking room for about four cars on the Camden Portland Boundary Rd. This link will open Google Maps at the location:

You’ll walk behind a few residences for the first kilometer, but there’s a rock-cut berm clothed in mosses to the South so you can’t see most of them. Then, a short jaunt through a forested section will open up to a large wetland on both sides of the trail. From there, across both Wallace and McLean Roads, the trail is lightly lined with trees and some cultivated land to view to the sides on the way to Colebrook Rd. There’s parking room for a coupla cars on the sides of both Wallace and McLean Roads if you wish to break up the distances.

Between Colebrook Rd & the junction with the K&P Trail (1.4 kms one-way)

There’s roadside parking on Colebrook Rd. which isn’t a terribly busy road. This link will open Google Maps at the location:

From there, you’ll walk past a single residence as the trail arcs Northward away from the road. It becomes very quiet save the sound of birdsong. The cultivated lands to the sides drops down to allow a view from a fair height as a sizeable stream runs through a wetland and under the trail. At the junction with the K&P trail, there’s a large outcropping of glacially exposed bare rock just off to the North, which is interesting to see. On Google Maps it’s labelled “The Big Rock”.

The Cataraqui just heads into Harrowsmith from here, so we turned North onto the K&P and continued up to Petworth Rd.

North on the K&P to Petworth Rd (3.0 kms one-way)

From the junction, you’ll head North on the K&P trail. At Graham Rd., the trail bridges over a pretty little stream. Then it continues alongside more cultivated land to Petworth Rd. There are a couple of intimidating looking gates with STOP signs and such along the trail, but these are just to prevent motorized vehicles. The trail around them is well worn and easy to take. We started to hear too much traffic noise from Rd #38 (only 250 meters away) to be enjoyable, and so turned back at Petworth. The trail just continues to get closer to Rd #38 if you continue on to Verona.

The Final Take

This stretch of Cataraqui trail between East Camden and Harrowsmith is typical of a railtrail in that it’s wide and clear walking all the way. It’s well used by locals due to it’s proximity to populated areas, but it still provides a pleasant, fairly quiet walk. The trail traverses high above the surrounding territory for awhile, and has an interesting exposed bedrock outcropping at the junction with the K&P trail. It’s not as secluded as we normally prefer, but an enjoyable walk will be had, all the same.

Have a nice walk,



  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    Wow. Just the kind of detailed, close-up trail report I’ve been hoping to find, right down to how many cars can park at the access points. Thank you.

    Typo Alert: “A pretty view of the Salmon River can be gained by just walking 75 meters South on Curl Rd.” As you know, because you say it elsewhere on the page, this is the Napanee River.


    1. Thanks for correcting my error … and of course, for the kind words. Parking is always the issue on rail trails, so I always make it a point to mention it.


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