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 remember that the trails are created and maintained for pedestrian use only. It is essential that trail users respect the privacy and rights of landowners and adhere to 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). As hikes are added they will be marked as New.

 

Iron Horse Trail, Waterloo and Kitchener (new)

Hike Ranking: < 15km out and back for the entire route, choose your distance. Fully paved, wide, level trail almost entirely perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. 

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YrYLPu1pCmQDPzXq9   

Description:
Paved urban trail linking Waterloo Park in Waterloo, Victoria Park in Kitchener and Rockway Gardens in Kitchener. Any of these locations have lots to see and are good for people of all ages to spend some pleasant time strolling around.
Keep right and watch out for bikes! See below for details on the different entry points: 

 

Starting at Waterloo Park: The parking lot is above the Lions Lagoon splash pad. 
https://goo.gl/maps/XbJGYZ8MACSGHZJc6

Enter the park from Young St., off Albert St., north of the Waterloo Public Library. Tour the park and see the gardens, gazebos, the first school house in the region, lakes with geese and ducks, domestic animal enclosures, splash pad  and some play features, then head downtown to Carolyne St. past the old railway station and the Clay and Glass Gallery. The trail passes the back of the shopping mall going along Carolyne St., then turns right between buildings in a pretty walkway just past Vincenzos. From there you will be able to follow the trail without any navigation problems. Note the old industrial machinery adorning the trail, reminding us of the flourishing manufacturing industry we used to have locally.

 

Starting at Victoria Park: Parking lots are off Jubilee Drive that cuts through the park and at the end of various streets running off David St.
Take time to do a circuit of this beautiful park with its large playgrounds, free splash pad, lakes, geese, ducks, bridges, gazebos, gardens and shade trees. At the back of the park furthest from downtown you will find the Iron Horse Trail, which you can follow to Waterloo Park or to Rockway Gardens. In both directions there are installations of historic, local industrial machinery.

 

Starting at Rockway Gardens: Park on Floral Cr. that goes through the park.
https://goo.gl/maps/FpaLKhCKkts49WAx5

Take time to tour the beautiful and extensive gardens, pools, bridges, fountains, rockery, shady walkway above the rockery and the gazebos. Most can be seen from the quiet roadway through the park for wheelchair users, while some sections involve walking on grass. Go down the hill towards downtown, first left along Delta St. First right on Nyberg and you will see the trail continuing just across Ottawa and a little to your right. At the big intersection of Stirling and Courtland the trail continues on the right of the plaza across the road. It is then easy to follow the trail to Victoria Park on your right where the trail jogs left across live railway tracks. 

 

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, King St. E., Kitchener (new)

Hike Ranking: < 12km out and back. Level 2 flat terrain, unpaved and with rough surfaces in places. Not suitable for strollers or bikes. 
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/uNbBBLYhaSSUPHQR7 
Description: Pretty, varied trail beside the Grand River, mostly wooded and with good views. 

 

Parking: at the ‘Schneider Park Parking Lot’  beside the King St. E. bridge over the Grand River, close to Freeport Hospital and on the opposite side of the road. It’s easy to miss the parking lot entrance, which is a steep, unpaved road going straight down to the river.  

 

Walking directions: It is important to start on the short trail under the bridge as this curves up to the footpath across the bridge avoiding any traffic. At the other end of the bridge the trail goes left / upstream, and immediately under the bridge and downstream towards the Pioneer Tower. The first section may have a rough surface and some small ups and downs, but then the trail levels out to go through an open area. This becomes wooded, then with a ribbon of shady trees for much of the route. At the Pioneer Tower there is a small historic cemetery area above the river, and across the next section of the trail, at the remains of a barn, there is an interpretive display about the settlers. 
There is an option to continue to walk the trail downstream to Fountain Street and on to Galt.

 

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower (Fountain Street), Kitchener (new)

Hike Rating: 8km out and back. Level 2. Unpaved, even trails with several hills. 
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/a28A86x1gV3dAXPaA 
Description: A varied walk with river views, bridges, open areas, interpretive displays, fields, and a playground at the starting point. 

 

Parking: From King St. E. Kitchener, across from the Mandarin Restaurant, follow Deer Ridge Drive for about 1/2 km where it splits left and straight ahead. Take the left turn and follow it around the corner to Lookout Lane on your left. The tower is at the end of the lane.  If you miss the left turn just follow the other way, as Deer Ridge Drive is a loop, and Lookout Lane will be on your right after going around the loop.

 

Walking Directions: Before going on the trail take a look at the small pioneer cemetery with a view over the river behind the tower. Take the trail down the steep hill directly ahead of Lookout Drive. On your left there are the remains of a barn with interpretive displays about the early settlers at this location. Continue along the trail keeping left after the pond, At this isolated and unlikely spot you will find a little library stand. Continue past the old fields and overgrown apple orchards, past the fields, and just before the bridge you will find interpretive displays about the indigenous peoples of this area. Over the bridge with its views of the river the trail skirts the golf course and pond. At the steep hill your trail turns left between the trees while the golf course road continues upwards. The wooded trail is level until a steep little hill which takes you to the golf course car park and good views over the river.

 

It is important to respect the land owners by following the trail markings to keep out of the way of golfers and carts. The trail takes you across an attractive bridge over the highway, then turns right to go through the Conestoga College campus and down the hill to the small parking lot on Fountain St. 
There is now an option to follow the trail further to the rare Charitable Research Reserve, and on to Galt.

 

Stanley Park, Chicopee, Kitchener (New)

Hike Ranking: < 8km out and back. Level 2: mostly paved, some steep hills.  
Map:  https://goo.gl/maps/TmN2NNmxwmSg6crJ8

Description: Parkland, tree-bordered power line and wooded hills. Great views across the city. 

 

Parking: At the Stanley Park shopping mall south end furthest from Ottawa St. and near Walmart. The Dom Cardillo Trail runs along the edge of the parking lot.

 

Walking Directions: Cross River Rd. E. and follow the trail through parkland and on through the wooded power line section. You will cross three quiet streets, and then Fairway Rd. The trail continues across the road, where you keep to the right to avoid private lanes. Cross two small streets and keep to the wooded trail to reach Chicopee Tube Park and its parking lot.

One option is circle the park and continue on a complex of quiet roads and trails to follow the Grand River to Woolner Trail and beyond.  Another option is to follow the trails from the mall in the opposite direction, cross Ottawa St., pick up the trail 200m on your left, and walk the Stanley Park trails for a further 4km out and back.

 

Forest Heights Loop Trails, Kitchener (New)

Hike Rating: 8km loop Level 2. Mostly unpaved, some steep hills. 
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/uCc3n6FWBvzMzaxL8
Description: Open parkland, playgrounds, ponds, and some woodland. Hilly in places. 

 

Parking:  at Highland Hills Mall at the corner of Highland Rd. and Fischer-Hallman.

 

Walking directions: Behind the mall follow the trail up the stream past Meadow Lane School and Meadow Lane Park where the trail splits left and right. This is the beginning of a loop, so you can go either way. If you go right you will follow the power line through wide parkland. Where the power line is joined by another one to the left, follow that other power line going sharp left through parks, past ponds, and over two quiet streets. The second street is at the base of a steep hill which gives good views of the city. Continue along this trail between housing and the Conestoga Parkway, mostly hidden by trees. Continue to the end of the woods where the trail swings left, bringing you back to the end of the loop. Go right along the trail back to the Highland Hills Mall.  

 

Otterbein to Woolner Trail in Kitchener

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

Map: Start at the Walter Bean Trail (M.R. Good Family Trailway).  

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

 

Parking: parking lot just off Otterbein Rd, Kitchener (43.460167, -80.420015). 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. Start at the small parking lot near the end of Woolner Trail. 

 

Parking: 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.

 

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

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

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

 

Parking: 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 Bingeman's in Kitchener

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

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

Description: A very pretty and varied route along the Grand River.

 

Parking: 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, 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, Waterloo

Hike Rating: <4.8 km return.Level 1: Easy, level unpaved trails but for one hill at the outset. 

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

 

Parking: 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: Start at the parking lot at Kiwanis Park. 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, Cambridge

Hike Rating:< 14km return. Level 2 Level trails, mostly unpaved, rough surface in places

Map: Map of the route

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

 

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

Hike Rating:  < 11km out and back. Level 2: A few steep hills, partly paved

Map: Start at the rare Eco Centre / Slit Barn parking lot. 768 Blair Rd. Cambridge. Map of the outbound route .   Map of the return route

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

 

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, Cambridge

Hike Rating: < 7km out and back. Level 2 Mostly level walk partly on unpaved, rough surface. 

Map: Map of the route

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

 

Parking: 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, Kitchener 

HIke Rating: < 8km out and back. Level 2: Mostly easy, level trails but for Monarch Woods which has small hills.

Map: Map of the route

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

 

Parking: 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, Kitchener

Hike Rating: Level 2. Choose from flat, wide paved trails suitable for strollers or wheelchairs, to wooded, hilly nature tracks for hikes of several km.

Map:  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.

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

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Parking: 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.

 

Walking directions: Choose your route at the entrance. 

 

Bechtel Park,  Waterloo

Hike Rating: Leve l1.  Easy walking, slight inclines. Unpaved natural surfaces. Not suitable for strollers.

Map: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

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

 

Parking: 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

 

Monarch Woods, Kitchener

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

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

 

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

Trails enter the woods on both sides of the bridge.

 

Walking directions: 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.