Quiet Spaces

where to find nature in Waterloo Region


"Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher."
from The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth

Once in a while we all feel the need to escape from our asphalt and concrete surroundings and shuffle our feet through leaves on a springy forest floor. You could be strolling through a wildflower-filled meadow; penetrating the mysterious depths of a marsh on a boardwalk; contemplating life from a bluff with a commanding view of the river below; or just lazing on the bank of a stream watching the sun glint on its rippling surface, all possible within the Regional Municipality of Waterloo due to its variety of easily accessible natural areas. This guide was developed to help residents of the Region and visitors satisfy their need to experience nature.

Little remains of southern Ontario's pristine wilderness. Even the earliest humans here, who were very close to nature, left their mark on the land. Today, the Region's strong conservation values and enlightened planning policies have ensured that the best of what remains of Waterloo's natural heritage has been preserved for the enjoyment of all.

In its 1,600 square kilometres Waterloo Region contains hundreds of natural areas which will ensure the protection of its varied habitats and associated wildlife. These areas vary in size from a fraction of a hectare to hundreds of hectares. A good number of these areas are publicly owned and of these, 20 of the more interesting and accessible are featured in this guide for you to explore.

The Region's Natural History

The Region's river valleys, scattered lakes, gently undulating to steep hills and intermittent plains are the legacy of the glaciers that retreated about 12,000 years ago. The dominant landscape feature is the Grand River and its tributaries: the Conestoga, Nith and Speed Rivers. Visitors to areas featured in this guide will experience many of the Region's more interesting landscape features.

Prior to conversion to agriculture and urban development by early Pennsylvania German and British settlers, the area was mainly forested in sugar maple and beech except for the southern quarter of the Region which, lying within the "Carolinian" forest zone, was covered with oak, hickory and pine. In addition to the two principal forest types significant areas of "prairie" more typical of the west and sphagnum bog from the north can be found. It is the combination of these habitats that makes Waterloo one of the more ecologically diverse regions in Ontario.


Before setting out to explore the areas in this guide a few precautions should be taken. In some instances these are stated on signs, but for the most part the visitor has to rely on common sense.

Remember that these areas are set aside for the enjoyment of all, and we should make our presence in them felt as little as possible. It is best to follow the conservationist's adage: "Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures."

The authors cannot assume any responsibility for any misfortune the users of this guide may experience. Nor can we guarantee that species or conditions cited in this guide will be encountered, due to the vagaries of Mother Nature. We sincerely hope that your stay in the Region is a pleasant one and that you do visit some of the following areas.

Some Notes On The Use Of This Guide

The Natural Areas featured in this guide are ordered and numbered by their location in the Region, in a north to south configuration. The map with key to these areas appears on page 12. Accompanying each natural area description are abbreviations which symbolize amenities at the site. A table with key to the amenities is located on page 14.

As you know, Canada has adopted the metric system of measurement and all measurements in this guide are in this form. In order to help visitors unfamiliar with this system the following conversion factors are given.

Selected Natural Area Descriptions

1. St. Jacobs Millrace

Built in the 1850's, the Snyder Flour Mill was the first mill in St. Jacobs. Water, diverted from the Conestogo River via a long millrace, supplied energy to operate the mill. Today the millrace still exists and is the focal point of a pleasant riverside trail. The trail, which commences at the mill, is literally on the edge of the millrace and is level for its entire two kilometre length. Anyone wishing a peaceful, non-strenuous walk will find such an opportunity here.

After enjoying the natural experience of the trail do not fail to take in the cultural experience of exploring the village of St. Jacobs. This small, rural town is rich in its offering of craft and antique shops, museums, restaurants and galleries. "The Meeting Place", a Mennonite cultural centre, provides the visitor with an excellent opportunity to learn about a culture which is so obvious a part of our Regional heritage.

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2. Laurel Creek Conservation Area

The Grand River Conservation Authority established a dam and reservoir at this gently rolling site to control the water flow of Laurel Creek. It has grown into a conservation area providing many recreational opportunities. In summer the reservoir is used for swimming, sailing, windsurfing, fishing and other activities.

The area is a mecca for birdwatchers observing shore birds and waterfowl during the spring and fall migrations. A boardwalk system allows you to penetrate the marsh and encounter some of its inhabitants, which might include muskrat, great blue heron and red-winged blackbird.

A nature centre which offers weekend programmes for visitors is located southwest of the reservoir, across Beaver Creek Road. Trails originating from here provide the visitor with the opportunity to see some of the wildlife displayed within the interpretive centre and outside shelter in their natural habitats.

The conservation area is open from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M., May 1 to October 15. There is an admission fee for the conservation area. The Nature Centre is open on weekends from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., year-round, with no charge for admission or interpretive programmes. For programme details contact the Centre at (519)885-1368.

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3. Hillside and Marsland Parks

Within the City of Waterloo, these two adjacent parks afford a wide range of both active and passive recreational opportunities. Marsland Park is mainly playing fields whereas Hillside Park is primarily manicured floodplain and a forested ridge paralleling Laurel Creek. Water is a key feature here since the junction of Forwell Creek with Laurel Creek occurs within the park. The area is a pleasant place to have a picnic: tables and a shelter are provided. Before or after your picnic, stroll along one of the creeks. Your walk will be enjoyable as the area abounds in wildlife, particularly wildflowers, birds and small mammals. Access to either side of the creeks is made easy by bridge crossings at key points.

Hillside Park is accessible from the parking area at Marsland Park or via a walkway off MacGregor Crescent.

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4. Bechtel Park

To escape the pressures of the city you can easily bicycle or drive to Bechtel Park in just a few minutes from Uptown Waterloo. This park offers a wide range of outdoor activities from planting your own garden to admiring the "natural garden" in the woods. A family picnic or hike in the woods is a popular pastime.

Half of the site is developed as soccer fields, a stadium, tennis courts, an adventure playground and garden plots. The rest of the area is natural, composed mainly of upland maple-beech forest and wetland vegetation on the Laurel Creek floodplain.

You can enjoy hiking in the summer or cross-country skiing in winter along the branching trail network within the 75-year-old woods. One of the more interesting sections of the trail parallels Laurel Creek where you can conveniently view waterfowl and other aquatic life. A bridge provides access to similar habitat on the other side. The floodplain is particularly colourful in autumn with an abundance of butterflies visiting the asters and goldenrods.

The entrance to the park and its facilities can be found on Bridge Street.


5. University of Waterloo North Campus Woodlot

Sixteen years ago the University of Waterloo fenced this woodlot to keep grazing cows out and to allow the wildflower heritage within to regenerate. The forest has recovered well and now presents visitors with a good example of a typical Southwestern Ontario farmer's woodlot. Pamphlets are provided at the start of the self-guiding trail to assist the visitor with wildflower identification. Many of the trees are also labelled to confirm your attempts at identification. As most of the wildflowers here bloom from the middle of April to the end of May, before the deciduous trees come into full leaf for the summer, it is best to enjoy this trail then.

A service road off Columbia Road leads to the woodlot which is adjacent to the University greenhouses at the northwest edge of Columbia Lake. The gates to the preserve are opened by the greenhouse staff at 7:30 A.M. and are closed at 4:00 P.M. each day in the summer. Access can be arranged for visits at other times or in other seasons by contacting the University Greenhouse at (519) 885-1211, extension 3881.

You are also encouraged to browse through the aromatic herb garden which has been set out alongside the fence to the right of the entry gate to the woods. Mints and numerous other herbs that have strong fragrances are included in the colourful grouping of plants. Bring your nose with you!

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6. Natchez Hills

Natchez Hills is set on a forested slope which affords an attractive view of the Grand River. The forest is comprised of sugar maple, beech, white ash and basswood trees. Some silver maple and cedar wetland sections along two stream systems add to the area's diversity.

The Hills are at their best in spring when they are carpeted with wildflowers. Many of the Region's representative woodland wildflower species bloom in abundance, often earlier here than at most other woodlots.

The Grand Valley Trail passes through this natural area and you can continue on it along the Grand River floodplain.

To gain access to this site, proceed on Ottawa Street north in Kitchener, to Heritage Drive, turn right and then turn left onto Ebydale Road. The natural area is at the end of this road.

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7. Stanley Park Conservation Area

Stanley Park Conservation Area in Kitchener is a long, narrow tract of forest, not far from the city's core. Hiking, biking, jogging and cross-country skiing can be enjoyed here on a bike path which extends from Graber Place to Carson Drive, crossing Ottawa Street and River Road along the way. Upon visiting this site you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of natural habitats present in such a small area, so totally surrounded by urban development.

Kolb and Montgomery Creeks flow northwards and southwards, respectively, from their sources in the silver maple swamp portion of the area. Three forest sections; red and silver maple, sugar maple-beech, and white cedar-yellow birch, each with their own companion species, can be identified by the careful observer. Do not be surprised if you flush a Great Horned owl from its roost in a tall pine. It is usually seen only momentarily as a dark shadow silently coursing through the dense forest growth.

Well off the path in the mysterious depths of the swamp are some of the more elusive species of native orchids. However, due to the wet and dense nature of the area, it is best to appreciate what can be seen from the path.

A more conventional hiking experience, on drier ground, can be found in the maple-beech portion of the area northeast of River Road. Here more familiar woodland wildflowers can be found.

The better access points, with limited parking, are at Graber Place, off Carson Drive and along Manchester Road at Shantz Park.

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8. Idlewood Park

Anyone interested in visiting a good example of wetland forest will find it at Idlewood Park within Kitchener city limits. Here, a bog forest contains many plants which are usually not found this far south in Ontario, for example, blueberries, labrador tea, leatherleaf and sundews. The forest is bisected by River Road. South of the road, a silver maple swamp and a sugar maple-beech forest can be explored. North of the road is a more complex wetland section containing a significant stand of grey birch (Betula populifolia) which surrounds a small sphagnum bog remnant. The grey birch stand is the only known natural population occurring west of Kingston. Other more typical, wetland forest species such as black ash, hemlock, silver maple, tamarack and yellow birch can also be found in the park.

Although usually wet, much of the park is accessible by a network of trails on slightly higher ground throughout the swamp. A key recreational attraction is the hydro corridor bike path which extends through the park between Fairway Road and Kenora Drive.

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9. Riverside Park

This park along the Speed River in the city of Cambridge (Preston) hosts a variety of recreational and natural features. A ring road system provides access to the park's amenities which include picnic tables, ball diamonds, tennis courts, swimming pools, playing fields and a special playground designed for handicapped children.

One of the main natural history facilities in the park is the Charles J. Whitney Nature Interpretation Trail which allows handicapped persons the opportunity to explore nature. The river, a small creek and pond, a yellow birch swamp and drier woods can be observed from this well developed boardwalk trail. Signs are posted which aid in interpreting the wildlife visible during your walk.

From within the park the more ambitious hiker can pick up on the Guelph Radial Trail and walk upstream along the Speed River to the city of Guelph.

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10. Steckle's Woods

Steckle's Woods, in Kitchener, is a park maintained as a natural area. This gently undulating site is named in honour of the pioneer family who once owned the woods.

With careful observation you should be able to identify the four forest types present within the park: black cherry, pine-walnut plantation, red oak, and sugar maple-beech. A good variety of impressively large trees can be seen here, most memorable of which are the towering white pines. Pines of the size found here have long since disappeared in the rest of the province due to extensive logging. You can experience a sense of seclusion and quiet in these woods, despite the park being within Kitchener's major industrial basin.

During early May the unsurpassable trillium display in the oak section is well worth seeing. Among the white expanse of trilliums and throughout the rest of the woods you can also find many of the Region's other spring wildflower species.

The entrance to the woods and parking lot is off Bleams Road just north of Homer Watson Blvd.


11. Homer Watson Memorial Park

This park is named in honour of Homer Watson, the famous 19th century landscape painter, who was born nearby. Throughout the artist's career he frequented the woods and was instrumental in its preservation as a natural area.

The Park, within Kitchener city limits, is just 8 kilometres from City Hall. An unforgettable scenic view of the Grand River Valley from high bluffs along the river will reward any visitor. In autumn the approach to the bluffs at the end of Wilson Avenue is a tunnel of gold and red formed by the overhanging branches of the massive roadside trees. Among the great variety of large trees within the woods are the Region's finest hemlocks. These evergreen trees cast a deep shade and create an aura of primeval majesty.

Centrally located within the park are picnic tables, a shelter and parking facilities from which numerous trails entice you to explore the depths of the woods.

Nearby is "Oromocto Spring", also called "Lover's Spring". Its water is said to have originated from the blood-soaked sand where two Indians, Oromocto and Nashwaaksis, his young bride, were murdered by members of a hostile tribe.

Schneider Creek flows partially within the forest and, if you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of some muskrats or a kingfisher along its banks.

If you have time you may also wish to visit "Doon Heritage Crossroads" situated adjacent to the park. This pioneer village provides visitors with a view of life as it was in Waterloo Region in 1914. Also worth a visit is the nearby home and artist's village, now an historic site, where Homer Watson spent his last years.

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12. Dumphries Conservation Area

In 1967 Cambridge industrialist, Percival Hilborn, donated lands to serve as a park for the City of Cambridge. His prime intent was that the park area remain natural. The Grand River Conservation Authority has since assumed management responsibility and the site now remains as the last major open space between the Preston and Galt sections of Cambridge.

This "oasis" is predominantly open fields, parts of which have been reforested in pine. A key feature of interest to naturalists is a section of mixed swamp forest paralleling a concrete spillway which passes through the park. From paths alongside the spillway you will be able to observe both aquatic and woodland birds and other wildlife.

Other trails lead to isolated ponds, interesting for the number of frogs and turtles present, and to sections of mature maple-beech forest containing large specimen trees and showy displays of spring wildflowers.

During your visit take advantage of the tables and shelter and enjoy a pleasant picnic. A playground is provided for children.

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13. Shade's Mills Conservation Area

This Grand River Conservation Authority area is home to many outdoor activities including swimming, canoeing, hiking and family picnicking. The sandy beach is a popular family attraction in summer.

In this extensive conservation area you can expect to see a good number of the different habitats found within Waterloo Region, including some "Carolinian" forest. A nature trail with several loop options allows you to decide on the duration and the degree of difficulty of your hike. The first major loop leads you through beech, maple and oak forest; the second through moist cedar forest and a third further beyond, through open fields and pine plantation.

A popular activity in winter is cross-country skiing, on the 10 kilometres of groomed trails. Ski rentals are available at the gate-house.

The buildings which can be seen across the reservoir from the beach comprise the Grand River Conservation Authority's Head Office.

To get to the site take Avenue Road, in Cambridge, east from Franklin Boulevard until just beyond the city limits.

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14. River Bluffs Park

As its name implies, River Bluffs Park is a series of steep bluffs and cliffs along the Grand River in the City of Cambridge. The western boundary of this linear park is the George Street extension.

The key feature within the park is the Regionally unique presence of limestone outcroppings which form 20 metre cliffs along the river. With careful observation you might discover some of the Region's rarer animals and plants that are associated with this unusual habitat, particularly limestone-loving ferns. In addition to the cliffs, other habitats present are: floodplain, wildflower-filled meadow, a small section of oak-hickory forest and some shrubby field.

You can easily spend half a day hiking and picnicking along the bluffs, which provide vantage points from which you can also enjoy viewing waterfowl and the historic City of Cambridge. For your convenience the City has developed walkways, fenced vantage points, benches and a launch where canoes and paddleboats can be rented in the summer. Limited parking is available along the George Street extension or you can access the park through Morva Rouse Parkette on Blair Road, where more parking is available.

Although most areas along the bluffs are fenced, children should be supervised during your visit.

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15. Dryden Tract (Alps Woods)

An area more hilly than "Alps" Woods cannot be found in the Region. The hills, mainly eskers and moraines, are covered in an impressive maple and beech forest. Several "Carolinian" or more southern species, occur here at their northern limits, such as pignut hickory and witch hazel. In addition you may see some of a great variety of interesting animals.

The hilliness and extensive trail network which includes a portion of the Grand Valley Trail, make this one of the more popular areas in the Region for hiking and cross-country skiing. The Hills are a favourite site of those who appreciate fall colour.

Parking is available in the parking lot off Alps Road (township road 2) which is one of the more scenic country roads in Waterloo Region.

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16. F.H. Montgomery Sanctuary

The Sanctuary lies in the southwestern corner of the Region within the Nith River valley just downstream from Haysville. The area is home to a rich assortment of "Carolinian" and mid-western plant species. Examples are black maple, bladdernut, false gromwell, twinleaf and wild garlic. The richness of its vegetation and the significant number of rare species present make it fitting that this property honours the late F.H. Montgomery, one of Canada's foremost botanists and a founding member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists club.

Since the land here is flooded each spring, the area has very rich silty soil which supports a lush growth of wildflowers. A well defined trail along the east side of the river provides good access to this relatively wild natural area. The location of this property and its special "riparian" or riverside nature result in a unique habitat where many plants grow that would normally be found much farther south.

The Sanctuary is owned and maintained by the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists.


17. Drynan Tract (Hungry Hills)

This area, managed by the Grand River Conservation Authority as an Agreement Forest, is part of a larger privately owned environmentally sensitive area called Hungry Hills.

Entering by a gate off Regional Road Number 47, you take a path through red pine and walnut plantations to a small lake. The dense plantation stands are ideal cover for many animals, so do not be surprised if you flush out some interesting wildlife simply by walking quietly along the path.

Continuing on through more plantation you enter a typical Carolinian oak-hickory forest. This area is hilly and contains several small kettle lakes and swamp depressions. Many wetland species normally inaccessible can be observed comfortably from the paths on higher ground which surround these wet areas.

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18. The Sudden Tract

If you enjoy hiking or cross-country skiing, this area of rugged moraine hills, well developed trails and abundant wildlife, is for you.

The Sudden Tract, one of the larger natural areas in the Region, contains, in addition to representative habitats and species, many Carolinian forest species, as well as some unusual northern plants and animals. The well marked and developed trail system, part of which is the Grand Valley Trail, conducts the visitor to most parts of this natural area and beyond. Within an afternoon you can see oak-hickory forest, some plantation, silver maple swamp, and sugar maple-beech forest. Frogs and snakes are abundant and easily seen on many of the swamp-side paths and along scenic Township Road 4 which bisects the area.

Ample parking is available in lots at the entrance off Highway 24a or off Township Road 4.

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19. Bannister and Wrigley Lakes

These two marsh-fringed lakes, especially Bannister, are excellent for waterfowl observation. One of the area's highlights is the much anticipated annual stopover of migrating Tundra Swans in mid-March. Convenient vantage points for viewing wildlife in and around the lakes can be found along the Vascan trail or from Regional Road No. 47.

The Vascan trail connects two other areas featured in this guide, the F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness Area, just to the south of Wrigley Lake, with the Sudden Tract, just to the northeast of Bannister Lake. Shortly after leaving the wilderness area the trail passes through a fine oak-hickory forest before continuing on along the east edge of the lakes. At the northeast border of Bannister Lake you can explore the mysterious depths of a normally inaccessible silver maple swamp by means of an extensive boardwalk system. Beneath the towering maples grow an abundance of ferns and wildflowers.

Further to the east, just before you enter the Sudden Tract, is a meadow where an impressive wildflower display can be found in midsummer.

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20. F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness Area

For a family seeking a pleasant site for a picnic, the F.W.R. Dickson wilderness area is ideal. This Grand River Conservation Authority property established in collaboration with the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists club is exceptionally rich in habitats. Carolinian hardwood forest, a tall-grass prairie remnant, old fields, ponds, pine plantations and a mixed swamp-marsh, are all present.

After your picnic, visit the nearby interpretive shelter where information pertinent to the area is displayed. From this point take the easily walked trail which conducts you through all of the area's principal habitats. Highlights along the way are two sections of boardwalk within the swamp. For a real treat stop there in winter, when chickadees and nuthatches readily take sunflower seeds from your hand! Also, from along the boardwalks, the first wildflower of the year, skunk cabbage, can often be seen blooming through the snow in late January.

Further along the trail, at the large pond, you have the option of staying on the trail and returning to the parking lot, or the more ardent hiker may wish to walk the "Vascan Trail". This trail which originates within the F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness connects to other natural areas featured in this guide: Bannister and Wrigley Lakes, and the Sudden Tract.

After your visit we are sure you will agree that this area is a fitting choice to have been named in honour of the founding member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists club.

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Other "Natural" Areas of Interest Within the Region

Listed below are several city parks and tracts of land in the Region that have been set aside primarily for recreational, historical and forestry purposes. These areas have not been presented in detail because they lack the outstanding variety of vegetation and animal life found in the areas featured above. If, however, you find that one of these is more easily accessible to you, it is still worthy of a visit.

Many of the areas contain sections of pine plantation which provide opportunity for sheltered hiking, cross-country skiing and wildlife observation. Networks of logging roads and trails can be relied upon to provide easy access when you explore these areas. Of particular interest is the New Hamburg Arboretum which contains a display of native and ornamental trees which can be grown in Waterloo Region. Woodside National Park also contains the boyhood home of William Lyon MacKenzie, former Prime Minister of Canada. The finely furnished Victorian home is open to the public. There is no admission charge.

Hiking Trails in the Region

There are a number of public hiking trails totally or partially within the Region that provide ample opportunity for short leisurely walks or full day treks. These trails cross a variety of terrain and allow the user to experience a representative cross section of the Region's natural identity. Many of the routes pass through areas featured in this guide. Those further interested in these hiking trails are encouraged to obtain a trail guide and additional information from the trail agencies listed in the "Sources for Additional Information" section at the end of this guide.

The Grand Valley Hiking Trail

Paralleling the Grand River, this trail keeps mainly to the floodplain, passing through farmland, natural and urban areas. Periodically the trail diverges from the floodplain to steep, wooded bluffs from which fine vistas of the river valley can be enjoyed. The 120 kilometre trail runs from Brantford to Elora. Doon Heritage Crossroads, Homer Watson Park, the Sudden Tract, Alps Woods and Natchez Hills are five regional attractions that you can visit along the trail. There are many convenient access points from which one can walk sections of the trail. Further information about this trail can be acquired by contacting the Grand Valley Trail Association.

The Avon Hiking Trail

This trail begins at St. Mary's in neighbouring Perth County and ends at the small village of Conestogo just to the northeast of the city of Waterloo. In planning your hike why not consider enjoying one of Shakepeare's plays at the Festival Theatre in Stratford. The theatre is alongside a side trail which leaves the main Avon trail just before crossing Highway 7/8. Much of the rural and natural character of southern Ontario can be experienced from along this trail. Several sections paralleling creeks in wooded valleys are particularly memorable. For further information please write the Avon Hiking Association.

The Vascan Trail

Starting at the F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness Area, this trail passes through several of the more interesting natural areas in the Region before it ends in the Sudden Tract. For fourther information write the Grand River Conservation Authority.

The Speed River Trail

Riverside Park in Cambridge is the terminus for this scenic trail that originates upstream at Guelph, in adjacent Wellington County. The trail parallels the Speed River almost to its confluence with the Grand River at Blair. Upstream of Guelph, this trail continues as the Guelph Radial Line Trail to Limehouse for a total of 51 kilometres. The 12 kilometre Arkell trail also connects with the Guelph Radial Line. For further information contact the Guelph Trail Club.

The Elmira Lions Club Trail

This 12 kilometre walking trail, established by the Elmira Lions Club, provides a fine opportunity to explore the natural history of the Woolwich Reservoir and surrounding area. A sign at the head of the trail on Homer Schwindt's farm, at the north end of Snyder Avenue, portrays the trail route and other pertinent information. The trail crosses private farm lands before continuing on to form a loop around the Woolwich reservoir. The reservoir has a good reputation for attracting waterfowl, especially shorebirds, which can be viewed during migration in spring and fall. Another highlight along the trail is a maple sugar bush characteristic of much of the forest in the northern half of the Region. The Floradale Community Park is at the northernmost extreme of your hike. Here picnic tables are available for a refreshing halfway point meal.

Table of Amenities

Area Name
1. St. Jacobs Millrace
2. Laurel Creek Cons. Area
3. Hillside Park
4. Bechtel Park
5. U. of W. North Campus Woods
6. Natchez Hills
7. Stanley Park Cons. Area
8. Idlewood Park
9. Riverside Park
10. Steckle's Woods
11. Homer Watson Park
12. Dumphries Cons. Area (Hilborn)
13. Shade's Mills Cons. Area
14. River Bluffs Park
15. Alps Woods (Dryden Tract)
16. F.H. Montgomery Sanctuary
17. Drynan Tract (Hungry Hills)
18. Sudden Tract
19. Bannister & Wrigley Lakes
20. FWR Dickson Wilderness Area
Key to Symbols
Pk Parking
p Picnicking
DW Drinking Water
W Washroom Facilities
T Trail(s)
XC Cross Country Skiing
S Swimming
PG Playground
C Camping
NC Nature Centre
NI Nature Interpretation
F Interesting Flora
f Interesting Fauna
G Interesting Geography
H Historical Landmark
c Concession Stand
$ Fee Charged

Sources for Additional Information

Included in this guide are the Region's more easily accessible, natural areas open to the public. A number of other areas of interest exist, some having attributes as or more interesting than those featured here. The more ardent naturalist wishing to see other areas or wanting knowledge of a more specific nature is encouraged to contact one of the organizations below for further information on the Region.

 The Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists
 Betty Cooper, c/o Highland Road United Church
 214 Highland Road East, Kitchener, Ontario, N2M 3W6.
 The Grand Valley Trails Association
 P.O. Box 1233, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 4G8.
 The Avon Hiking Association
 Box 384, Stratford, Ontario, N5A 6T3.
 The Guelph Trail Club 
 Box 1, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 6J6.
 The Grand River Conservation Authority
 400 Clyde Road, Galt, Ontario, N1R 5W6.
 (519) 653-4300 (Preston and Kitchener-Waterloo)
 (519) 621-2761 (Galt)
 The Laurel Creek Nature Centre
 RR3 Waterloo, Ontario (Near Erbsville), N2J 3Z4.
 (519) 885-1368

You could also visit the following local public information sources or contact them by telephone to get up-to-date phone numbers for contact persons of the above Organizations.

Community Information Centre
10 Water Street North, Kitchener, N2H 5A5.
(519) 579-3800 (Kitchener-Waterloo)
(519) 653-5705 (Cambridge)

The Kitchener Public Library
The Information Centre
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, N2H 2H1.
(519) 743-0271

The Waterloo Public Library
35 Albert Street, Waterloo, N2L 5E2.
(519) 886-1310

Chamber of Commerce Information Centres

  1. 5 Bridgeport Street West, Waterloo, N2L 2X9. (519) 886-2440
  2. 20 Benton Street, Kitchener, P.O. Box 2367, Station B, N2H 6L4. (519) 576-5000
  3. Highway 8 (just north of Highway 401). (519) 653-0661 (Cambridge Area)
  4. 531 King Street East, Cambridge, N3H 3N4. (519) 653-1424
  5. 5 First Street East, Elmira, N3B 2E3. (519) 669-2605

Also available are a number of publications which feature natural areas, including many of the sites described in this guide. Following is a list of these publications and the sources from which they may be obtained.

Local Chambers of Commerce

Grand River Conservation Authority