Guelph has MANY great, groomed hiking trails. One of my favourite things about living in Guelph, Ontario is the abundance of trails all over the city. My family and I love to spend time outdoors walking trails. Below is a list of my favourite local spots to go hiking.
1. Eramosa River Trail is a wonderful 4.1 km long trail along the river. It goes from the covered bridge to Stone Road via Victoria Road South. This trail is flat, gravel and in nice weather always full of people walking, jogging, and bike riding. Near the river – roughly between the streets Hayes Ave and Audrey Ave – there are fairy doors; these tiny colourful doors are adorable and little ones will especially enjoy trying to locate them.
2. Guelph Lake Trail is a nice path through the forest in the north end of Guelph. This 2.8 km trail is maintained by the Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association (GORBA). This path can be quite busy with bike riders, dog walkers and other walkers. You can access this trail at the gravel shoulder of Victoria Road North and the Speed River. There is a main track and smaller side tracks with some purposefully built ramps.
3. The University of Guelph Arboretum Trails is a city gem. There are 11.5 km of trails, tree collections, gardens and wooded areas here. My personal favourite is the small Japanese garden area. There is a disc (frisbee) golf course here as well. The entrance to the Arboretum is off of College Road close to Victoria Road.
4. Starkey Hill Conservation Area is another family favourite. This 4 km hike is located just outside of Guelph in Arkell. This trail is full of hills and goes through forests and wetlands. To get to this track head east out of Guelph on Arkell Road. After you pass the small village of Arkell, the head of the trail and parking lot are located a minute down the road on the left.
5. Rockwood Conservation Area is beautiful. You can walk through the forest, and see the towering limestone cliffs, caves and glacial potholes. Canoe and kayak rentals are also a fun way to explore this spot in nice weather. Rockwood is only a fifteen minute drive from Guelph’s east side.
6. The Hanlon Creek Conservation Area has 12.5 km of trails. The main trail head is in Preservation Park on the south side of Kortright Road between Scottsdale Drive and Edinburgh Road. There are several other smaller access points to this wooded area. It is very easy to get lost in this forest; make sure you pay close attention to the signs.
7. The Trail/Trans Canada Trail is a 4.3 km walk. This path goes from the covered bridge to Speedvale Avenue West via an active railway corridor (extra caution needed if going with young children or dogs!) and parkland along the Speed River. My train loving toddler enjoyed walking near the train tracks and was disappointed that we didn’t see any trains. (Unrelated to hiking, but if you or your children like trains check out our trains blog).
8. Elora Conservation Area is a short drive from Guelph in Elora, Ontario. The trails here are gorgeous and at times the path goes quite close to the cliffs looking down at the river; for this reason I personally wouldn’t bring a toddler or young child on a hike here. In some parts there are steps leading down to the river and small caves.
9. The 2 km Hanlon Creek Trail goes from University Village Park to Hanlon Park Creek (Stone Road to Kortright Road). Another name for this trail is the Royal City Recreation Trail. In hot weather it ends close to the Kortright Road splash pad.
10. Silvercreek Trail is a 4.9 km trail. It goes from Royal City Park to Janefield Ave via Silvercreek Park, Centennial Park and W. E. Hamilton Park.
11. The Guelph Human Society Trailhead is a trail I just learned about and haven’t had a chance to hike yet. It is a 13 km trail that goes from the Speed River Trail to just outside of Cambridge. The path is informal and maintained by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club. This trail head is located adjacent to the parking lot of the Guelph Humane Society off Wellington Road. Since parking is limited to only five vehicles, they encourage carpooling, cycling or taking public transit to get to this trail.
12. The CNR Spurline Trail is another excellent spot to go for a walk in Guelph. The trail is 1.6 km long and goes from Dufferin Street to London Road via Exhibition Park downtown.
13. The Radial Line Trail is a 2.3 km path. To access the trail head from Stone Road East, turn south onto the roadway at the sign to the Barber Scout Camp and drive to the parking lot. If you follow the orange blazes you will end up at Victoria Road. This is another path maintained by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club.
14. The Laura Bailey Memorial Trail is a 1.5 km trail located in the newer area in the east end of Guelph. This short path goes from Grange Road Park through Hadati Creek Wetlands to Buckthorn Crescent via Grange Road, Eastview Road, Trimble Court, Ireland Place and Starwood Drive.