Upcoming Hikes 2018

You are welcome to join any of the following hikes but you do so at your own risk.
Please consider joining and supporting an hiking organization such as the Grand Valley Trails Association, the Avon Trail, the Guelph Hiking Club, the Bruce Trail Conservancy, the Thames Valley Hiking Association, and the Elgin Hiking Trail Club. See Hike Ontario and the Ontario Trails Council for other suggestions.
Smoking is not permitted on hikes.
Dogs are not allowed on most hikes unless otherwise stated.
Hikes usually proceed "rain or shine". Exceptions would be if there is severe weather with road closures or imminent lightning storms.
Note that it states "Depart at ..." in each description. That means you must be at the designated meeting place well ahead of time.
Some hikes are loops while others are linear. Linear hikes require a car shuttle at the start of the hike and at the end of the hike. If it is a car shuttle hike, we usually meet at the end point. Come prepared to participate in the car shuttle and ensure there are at least two to three empty seats in your car. Also, you need room in the car trunk for back packs, etc.
Some of these hikes may be offered through a hiking organization in which case you must be prepared to sign a "Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk" form before the hike starts.

 

Hike Rating

To help you decide if a hike is suitable for you, I tend to use a hike rating system similar to that used by organizations such as the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Hike Ontario and the Grand Valley Trails Association. There are three aspects that describe or rate the hike.

Pace (or Speed)

Leisurely = less than 2 km/h      Slow = 2 to 3 km/h
Moderate = 3 to 4 km/h              Fast = 5 km/h or greater

Level of Difficulty (LOD)/Terrain

Easy or Level 1 – Well–defined trails, gentle inclines. Hiking boots not required, but trails may be wet. Is suitable for beginners. This level is recommended for newcomers if the distance is suitable.
Normal or Level 2 – Generally on trail. May be hilly, light bush whacking, some rough spots or obstacles. Sturdy hiking boots are necessary.
Strenuous or Level 3 – Rough terrain with one or more of the following: extensive bushwhacking, steep sections, long climbs and descents, beaver dams, rock scrambling or other obstacles. Boots, Level 2 experience, and a high level of fitness essential. Long pants and sleeves recommended.

Distance

Distance is stated in kilometres (km). [1 kilometre = 0.621371192 mile].

 

Hiker

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - Natchez Hills/Grand Valley Trail. Level 2. Pace: 3-4 km/h. ~10 km
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 10:00 a.m. from the Walter Bean Trail (M.R. Good Family Trailway) parking lot just off Otterbein Rd, Kitchener (43.460167, -80.420015). This linear walk takes us along the Grand River & through the Natchez Hills ESPA woodlot using the Grand Valley & Walter Bean Trails. The hike requires a car shuttle. About half the cars will be left at the meeting place & we all proceed to the start of the hike in the other half of the cars. Be sure to have room in your vehicle for at least two hikers. Sturdy hiking boots are recommended & trekking pole(s) suggested. Bring water, snack(s), sunscreen, insect repellent (or equivalent) & camera. Driving directions [Google Directions]: From the intersection of Lackner Blvd & Ottawa St. North (43.457284, -80.431566), drive east on Ottawa St until it dead-ends, left on Keetwatin Ave > almost immediately right on Misty St. > right on Otterbein Rd for about 0.5 km to the parking lot. Check here for any last-minute changes.

Hiker

Saturday, April 14, 2018 – Waterloo Loop & Soup. Level 2. Pace: 3-4 km/h. 13 km
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 9:30 a.m. from the parking lot at Tollgate Plaza, 255 Toll Gate Blvd, Waterloo (43.487003, -80.556999) near the intersection of Toll Gate & Glen Forrest Blvds. The walk today will be a loop along Waterloo community trails (e.g. Laurel Trail, Forwell Trail) & through a couple of urban woodlots. At times, we will inspect the LRT workmanship. There is a brief [and potentially dangerous] "pit stop" at Waterloo Square [the danger is the closeness of the Nougat Bakery]. Once we have returned to Tollgate Plaza, between 12:30 & 1:00, you have the option of soup at the Bread & Bretzel Basket, a German-Canadian Bakery & Café. A commitment for soup before we start the walk would be appreciated so we can inform the soup-maker.  Check here for any last-minute changes.

Hiker

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - Crawford Lake/Nassagaweya Canyon/Milton Outlier. Level 2-3. Pace 2-4 km/h. ~7 km
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 10:0 a.m. from the parking lot at the Crawford Lake Conservation Area (43.470022, -79.951041). Using local trails & the Bruce Trail we walk past several, spectacular wood carvings, around meromictic Crawford Lake, out to the Nassagaweya Canyon & along the Niagara Escarpment edge. There is a stop at a lookout to view the Milton Outlier before heading back to the cars. This may be a walk for those who are relatively new to hiking. The pace will vary, sometimes slow. We will not descend into & ascend from the canyon & over to Rattlesnake Point. Sturdy hiking boots are a must & trekking poles are recommended. Bring water, snack(s)/lunch, sunscreen, insect repellent (or equivalent) & camera. Driving directions [Google Directions]: From Hwy 401 take exit 312 (south). Almost immediately turn left on Reid Side Rd, proceed to Guelph Line (Halton Rd. 1) & turn right (south), follow Guelph Line (Main St) through Campbellville to Conservation Road & turn left (east) into the conservation area. The turn is about 3.25 km from the railroad tracks in Campbellville. Entrance fee in 2017 was $7.75/person ($6.75 Seniors).  Check here for any last-minute changes.

Painted trillium

Sunday, May 13, 2018 - Mother’s Day Huron Natural Area Loop Walk. Level 2. Pace: 2-3 km/h. ~ 5 km

Mother's Day Walk
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 10:00 a.m. from the parking lot at 801 Trillium Dr., Kitchener (43.398943,-80.481975). If you have never been to the HNA, you have missed a gem. Almost all the walk is in a variety of trees & is made up of land from three former farms. It is part of the Strasburg Creek watershed. We should see some spring wild flowers & other wildlife. We pay a brief visit to the Neutral Nation Archaeological Protected Area. Not far from where we walk is the historic Huron Road & in 1856 George Davidson planned to build the village of New Aberdeen in this location. You will see some present-day remnants of mill activity in the form of Battler’s Pond (mill pond). We complete the loop following a different path to the cars. This walk will be at a medium pace (not fast).  Check here for any last-minute changes.

Hiker

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Jesuit Centre-Guelph Lake Loop. Level 2. Pace: 3-4 km/h. ~12 km
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 10:30 a.m. from the workshop/farm parking lot (or near it) at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph. This walk follows footpaths along Marden Creek & the Speed River to Guelph Lake & Dam where we have lunch (weather permitting). We return on the Royal Recreation Trail, pass through part of Riverside Park (bring some cash in case the concession stand is open & you like ice cream) & then return to the Jesuit Centre via the tranquil and picturesque Marymount Cemetery. Sturdy hiking boots recommended. Bring water and lunch. Driving directions [Google Directions]: At the intersection of Woodlawn Rd & Woolwich St, Guelph (cemetery on right) turn left & follow Hwy 6 for about 0.7 km in the left lane. Immediately past the entrance to Marymount Cemetery turn left into the Jesuit Centre (43.571052, -80.280388). Follow the Jesuit Centre road past the first building (on left) & watch for signs for the Workshop (Ignatius Farm 43.570647, -80.285652) to the left or more parking straight ahead at 43.571708, -80.285656. Check here for any last-minute changes.

GO High Park & Lake Front Walk

Hiker

Thursday, June 07, 2018 - Hwy 7 to Ebycrest Rd & Back, Grand Valley Trail. Level 2. Pace: 3-4 km/h. ~10 km
Leaders: Jamie & Jan. Depart at 9:00 a.m. from the Walter Bean, Peter Hallman Family Trail parking lot at Kolb Park located at the east end of Centennial Court, Kitchener (43.476276, -80.426746). We will walk the GVT to Ebycrest Road (near Rosendale) & back. South of Bridge Street the GVT meets Rosendale Creek (43.480700, -80.442330). This is the area where the new Hwy 7 will bisect & pass over the GVT. Sturdy hiking boots are a must & trekking pole(s) suggested. Bring water, snack(s), sunscreen, insect repellent (or equivalent) & camera. Directions (Google Maps): From the traffic light at the intersection of Ebycrest Rd & Victoria St North (Hwy 7) follow Hwy 7 into Kitchener,  keep in the left lane, about 0.7 km after crossing the Grand River turn left on Centennial Road & left on Centennial Court. Check here for any last-minute changes.

Hiker

Saturday, June 09, 2018 - Pinnacle Hill-Upper Doon Loop, Kitchener. Level 2/3. Pace: 2-3 km/h. 10 km
Leader: Jamie. Depart at 10:00 a.m. from the Walter Bean Grand River Trail parking lot at the intersection of Homer Watson Blvd & Doon South Dr (43.389818, -80.421629). This walk takes us to great heights in the Pinnacle Hill Natural Area, through Topper Woods, along community trails & boardwalks in Doon Creek N.A. before circling back along old Tilt Dr (closed & now a trail) on the eastern portion of the Strasburg Creek drainage system and then into Upper Doon. There will be hilly spots, so the pace will be slow to moderate to accommodate the group. Wear sturdy hiking boots, bring water and a snack.  Check here for any last-minute changes.

Summer Solstice

Thursday, June 21, 2018 - Summer Solstice on the Grand Valley Trail. Level 2-3. Pace: 3-4 km/h. ~11 km
Leaders: Jamie & Jan. Depart at 9:00 a.m. from the parking lot at the Elora & District Community Centre & Arena, 21 David St, Elora (43.683083, -80.435662). The hike requires a car shuttle. About half the cars will be left at the arena & we all proceed to the start of the hike in the other half of the cars. Be sure to have room in your vehicle for at least two hikers. We hike from Woolwich-Pilkington Townline northward on the west side of the Grand River, near Wilson Flats & pass through Elora Gorge before reaching Elora. Sturdy hiking boots are a must & trekking pole(s) suggested. Bring water, snack(s)/lunch, sunscreen, insect repellent (or equivalent) & camera. Driving directions [Google Directions]: From West Montrose take Middlebrook Rd north for about 11.5 km, straight across Wellington Rd 7 onto David Street & the community centre is on the right. Check here for any last-minute changes.