GRAND VALLEY TRAILS ASSOCIATION

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Self-guided hikes

Since GVTA cannot offer guided hikes because of Covid-19, the following walks have been prepared for you to enjoy close to home, without a leader or car shuttles. Choose your distance and speed. Please respect the hikers’ code. These wide-trail walks are suitable for maintaining safe personal distancing while walking side-by-side. (Some have parallel, narrow, wooded trails where social distancing is more difficult).


OTTERBEIN to WOOLNER TRAIL in Kitchener

A pretty route following the Grand River, varied scenery includes woods, open areas, some housing. Mostly on or next to the Grand Valley Trail. Map of the route

Level 2: Moderate terrain - a few hilly sections, otherwise level. Wide, unpaved trails. 7.6km out and back.

Start at the Walter Bean Trail (M.R. Good Family Trailway) parking lot just off Otterbein Rd, Kitchener (43.460167, -80.420015). 

Parking directions: Go east on Ottawa St until it dead-ends, left on Keetwatin Ave, first right on Misty St., right on Otterbein Rd for about 0.5 km to the parking lot beside the river.

Walking directions: From the car park the wide trail follows the Grand River past Woolner Trail and on to Chicopee. (Much of the walk could be done on the adjacent narrow trail through the woods, where you need to go single file. This is the Grand Valley Trail, shown by white blazed on the trees. It is shaded and pretty with good views of the river). Options to continue the walk to Chicopee from Woolner Trail, or do this walk in reverse from Woolner trail. See the descriptions below.


WOOLNER TRAIL to OTTERBEIN

Return route along the Grand River. Map of the route

Start at the small parking lot near the end of Woolner Trail. 

Parking directions (to the parking lot on Woolner Trail): Coming from Kitchener, at the last roundabout just before the Fairway Rd. bridge, turn right towards the river on Woolner Trail. The small parking area is on the left just before the road ends at the river.

Walking directions: From the inner end of the parking lot follow the wide, unpaved trail to the river and follow it upstream towards the Otterbein car park and back. See details above.


WOOLNER TRAIL - CHICOPEE

From the end of Woolner Trail turn right (downstream), following the pretty, paved, hilly trail to Chicopee, with lookouts over the Grand River. The Grand Valley Trail parallels the paved trail in places, going through the woods and indicated by the white blazes on the trees. There are several options for the Chicopee end of the route, including various community trails and some very quiet suburban roads.


RIM PARK in Waterloo

This is a pretty, level walk through woodland and open areas close to the river, along the Walter Bean Trail.

Level 2: Easy but for one short hill at the start, partly paved. < 9.2 km out and back.  Map of the route 

Parking directions: From University Avenue, turn into Park Road and follow it to the far end, parking in the right hand side parking lot.

Walking directions: From the parking lot go behind the Elam Martin Farmstead to join the trail, do not follow the road as this leads to the private golf course trail. The hiking trail takes you through woods and open areas with pretty views of the Grand River. Avoid the private golf course trails. Near the end, when you reach housing, you can follow the road for about 300m then take the trail starting on your right. This parallels the road for about 500m to the end of your walk.


KOLB PARK TO RIVERBEND VIA BINGEMANS in Kitchener

A very pretty and varied route along the Grand River.

Level 2: Moderate terrain, hilly towards the Riverbend end. Smooth, unpaved surface. < 12.8km out and back. Map of the route 

Start at the Peter Hallman Family Trailway at the end of Centennial Cr., Kitchener.

Parking directions: From Victoria St. N. turn south onto Centennial Rd. This is the last turning before the bridge that goes over Victoria St. and you’ll see a huge commercial “STOP” sign where you turn. Go a short way down Centennial Rd. and first left into Centennial Crescent which has a small parking area at the end. You may need to park on the road.

Walking directions: Follow any one of the trails from the parking lot to go upstream / left along the side of the Grand River. You will go around some ponds, under the Victoria St. bridge, past more ponds, then through woods and open areas along the Grand River to Bingemans. Go to the far end of Bingemans to the continuation of the trail. This continues up and down wooded hills with good views of the river below, ending at the small bridge at Riverbend. There are alternative narrow trails through the woods. This walk can be done in reverse, as below:


RIVERBEND - KOLB PARK in Kitchener

The car park is at the bottom of the hill half way along Riverbend Drive, Kitchener.

Before walking, take a look at the information board which explains some of the local geology and the adjacent interesting collection of varied rocks deposited around Ontario by glaciers.

Walk to the bridge and follow the trail up the steeper hills and the prettiest views along this route.


KIWANIS PARK in Waterloo

Pretty, varied walk along the Grand River through woodland, open areas, fields.

Level 1: Easy, level unpaved trails but for one hill at the outset. < 4.8 km out and back.  Map of the routeStart at the parking lot at Kiwanis Park. Map link: 

Parking directions: Follow Kiwanis Drive and the parking lot is just inside the park entrance, on your right. (Trail users have not been asked to pay for parking so far.)

Walking directions: Follow the trails from the parking lot left down the hill and around the park, then along the Grand River, through partial woodland and open fields. On reaching the housing turn back for a total 5km. When you return you can take the first trail left after the dog park and return directly to the parking lot through some woodland instead of going through Kiwanis Park.

 

PRESTON - HESPELER in Cambridge

Pretty, varied walk through parkland, over bridges and through woodland alongside the Speed River.

Level 2 Level trails, mostly unpaved, rough surface in places. < 14km out and back. Map of the route

Walking directions: Start from the car park park at the entrance to Riverside Park in Preston, 101 King St. W., Cambridge. Head through the park beside the river to the trail through the woods, and follow the pretty, mostly wooded riverside trail. About 1km after going under the 401 you will come to a road which appears to be the end of the trail, but go left over the road bridge, and the trail continues on your right beside the bridge. Go on to Hespeler, ending with a short industrial area leading to Guelph Avenue. Go right, and at the river there is a small park with a view of the mill pond above the dam.

 

RARE - GALT in Cambridge

Follow paths with views of the Grand River, through parks and into central Galt, returning along mostly wooded riverside trails.

Level 2: A few steep hills, partly paved. < 11km out and back. Start at the rare Eco Centre / Slit Barn parking lot. 768 Blair Rd. Cambridge. Map of the outbound route   

Map of the return route

Walking directions: From the parking lot follow a short narrow trail and turn right at the wide Walter Bean Trail heading towards Galt. After the wooded area the trail is paved and hilly, coming to a low spot where a large stream comes through a tunnel and under the trail. This is Devil’s Creek. Go up through the tunnel following the park and stream to Blair Rd. where you will see the trail continuation across the road on the right. This goes through interesting Environmentally Sensitive Policy Area and Provincially Significant Wetland and up to Blenheim Rd. Turn left and walk to the next woodland where there is a trail which you take. Follow it into Victoria Park. Turn left at the end of the park and go into historic downtown Galt where you may choose to explore. From there you can head left to find Riverside Park, stopping to check out the pollinator preserve next to the boat ramp before continuing back on the partly wooded riverside trail.

 

PRESTON LINEAR TRAIL in Cambridge

Pretty trail with views along the Speed and Grand Rivers and their confluence. Great for birdwatching.

Level 2 Mostly level walk partly on unpaved, rough surface. < 7km out and back. Map of the route

Start at the small parking lot at the Linear Trail Entryway on Chopin Drive at Hamilton St., Preston. Chopin is the closest road to the river leading off King St., near the Beer Store. The parking lot is half hidden by trees.

Walking directions: follow the wide, wooded trail which leads to the Speed River and follows it to the confluence where it joins the Grand River, with a wonderful view from the overlook at Settlers’ Fork. Continue about 100m to the narrow trail which goes down to the Grand River, which opens up to a wide trail near the river with good views. After crossing a bridge near the end of the trail you will be in sight of housing up above, and this is a good place to turn back, as the last part is a very steep hill going up to the Preston Memorial Auditorium. The return route can follow the same trail, or near the end you can stay on the lower, narrow, riverside trail beside the Speed River for about half a kilometre.


MONARCH WOODS to DOWNTOWN KITCHENER

Pretty woodland and park trails follow a stream to popular Victoria Park and downtown Kitchener.

Level 2: Mostly easy, level trails but for Monarch Woods which has small hills. < 8km out and back. Map of the route

Parking directions: From Fischer-Hallman turn onto Stoke Drive. Park on Stoke Drive near the bridge which is between Lennox Cr. and Trelawny Dr.

Walking directions: From here trails enter the woods on both sides of the bridge. Follow any trail for good views overlooking the stream. At the Fischer-Hallman bridge the woods end and you follow the stream (Henry Sturm Creek) through pretty parkland, crossing Victoria St., going through a large culvert under Westmount. After the culvert go left over the footbridge and continue following the stream across various smaller roads until you reach the Iron Horse Trail. Go right and follow that trail to the railway line where you enter the park. Explore the gardens, lakes, bridges and leave the park at the far left (upstream)

end where the trail will return you to the Iron Horse Trail and your trail along the Henry Sturm Creek back to Monarch Woods.

 

Family walks

Easy wide trails, some stroller or wheelchair friendly. Lots of interesting things to enjoy on a short walk


HURON NATURAL AREA in Kitchener

A gem of a destination for all ages and abilities. Ideal for nature lovers. A network of varied trails to suit all interests.

Level 2. Choose from flat, wide paved trails suitable for strollers or wheelchairs, to wooded, hilly nature tracks for hikes of several km. Maps inside the entrance and at trail intersections help you choose the best route. See woodlands, open areas, lookouts, ponds, boardwalks, level areas, hills, interpretive displays, and QR codes linking to nature topics on a web site.

Parking directions: Around 790 Trillium Dr., Kitchener, off Bleams Rd.

From Fisher-Hallman: turn left onto Bleams Rd. At the lights turn right onto Trillium Dr. Go round the bend through the industrial area. When approaching woodland you'll see the Natural Area parking lot on your right, with a low sign on it.

From Homer Watson: turn right onto Trillium and follow it through the industrial area into the woodland on both sides of the road. When the woodland clears you'll immediately see the parking lot on your left, with a low sign on it.


BECHTEL PARK in Waterloo

A pretty, varied nature park with a network of short trails.

Level1: Easy walking, slight inclines. Unpaved natural surfaces. Not suitable for strollers.

Follow any of the wide, unpaved woodland trails for various views, a stream and some open areas. A bridge leads to private lands outside the park. Some trails become very muddy and are best avoided after very wet weather. The Park entrance is on Bridgeport St. West about 100m from the intersection of University Avenue and across from the end of the shopping plaza. Map

Parking directions : Enter the park from Bridgeport St. West. Follow the divided park road until you reach the woods where you will find a large unpaved carpark and a playground just outside the trail entrance. Follow current covid-19 restrictions regarding use of the playground.

 

MONARCH WOODS in Kitchener

Pretty, varied little woodland with a network of trails all following and overlooking a stream, with wide views of the little valley.

Level 2: Easy to moderate, undulating terrain with mix of wide and narrow unpaved trails. Not suitable for strollers.

Parking directions:  on Stoke Drive near the bridge which is between Lennox Cr. and Trelawny Dr.

Trails enter the woods on both sides of the bridge. Follow any trail for good views overlooking the stream, little bridges to change sides of the valley, and lower trails closer to the stream. There are also unofficial tracks beside the water for the sure-footed. When the steam goes under the bridge at Fischer-Hallman cross the footbridge and loop back along the other side of the stream to return to Stoke Drive. For a longer walk you can exit the woods at the lowest end by going under the Fischer-Hallman road bridge and following the Henry Sturm Creek along pretty parkland for 4km to downtown Kitchener. An extra little loop from Stoke Drive follows the stream up through Lynn Valley Park and back.