Elora Cataract – Rail Trail

Elora to Cataract
Updated July 20, 2018
Elora Cataract – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Western Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 47
Double track % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : smooth soil, paved, crushed gravel, bridges, gentle hills, open field
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, good trail signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 47 km (one way)

90% rail trail path
5% road crossings, detours

Elevation – gradual slope, as with most rail trails

Terrain – crushed stone, some gravel, some grass, detours on asphalt road

Skill – easy

Maps – signs at gates, milestone markers

Traffic – bicycles, hikers, horses, X-country skiers, snowmobiles in the middle area

Facilities – parking on street, amenities and lodging in Elora, Fergus, Belwood, Erin

Highlights – dam at Belwood Lake, historic Elora and Fergus, Elora Gorge, Forks of the Credit River, Elora Quarry

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – none

Website – Elora Cataract Trailway, Grand River C. A.

Similar Trails – Kissing Bridge, Caledon, Uxbridge

Local Clubs – GORBAWaterloo Cycling Club

Access – Try parking at Elora – Gerrie Rd, Fergus – Beatty Line, Fergus – Gartshore St, Belwood, Orton, Erin and most side road crossings with ample space

History – Built in 1879 for the Credit Valley Railway this branch line meets up with the main route from Toronto to Orangeville.

By 1884 Canadian Pacific Railways leased the line and ran trains on it till 1988. This abandoned rail corridor was developed into a recreational trailway five years later.

The Elora Cataract Rail Trail is close to Toronto for an easy bicycle ride on a well-maintained crushed stone path. North of Guelph, it runs from the historic town of Elora east to the tiny village of Cataract.

At 47 km in length, my favourite section is the west end of the route, which is more scenic and has more amenities.

From Elora the rail trail starts on the way out of town, but truly gets going at the parking lot where it crosses Gerrie St. Both Elora and the next town Fergus have built streets over what was once the rail line. So the route is not consistent.

Just a short 3 km bicycle ride and you are entering Fergus. Here we need to take side streets for 2 km through town, to meet up with the trail again near Gzowski St. & Forfar St. E.

Onward this stretch of trail curves around and crosses over the Grand River at the large dam for Belwood Lake.

A majestic site to see is riding over the dam where trains would have crossed and look out over the lake and river below on the other side.

One follows the path up the river by cottages to eventually head inland over through rural Ontario farmland to the town of Erin.

Ride 7 more kilometers and you reach the end at Cataract next to the Forks of the Credit River Provincial Park. This park makes for a great fall hike and has some parking, but in village at the trailhead it has none. (that’s a problem)

Make an effort to visit the old historic centers of Elora and Fergus while you are there.

You can also find great hiking and camping at the very popular (busy)  Elora Gorge Conservation Area. Take a dip in the old Elora Quarry C. A. watering hole after a hot day of riding. It’s an unusual place.

BTW if you are in Fergus where the path ends coming into town at Beatty Line, you can opt to take another trail to loop back to Elora. Just 100m south down the road starts the Elora Guelph Rail Trail. It crosses a large bridge over the Grand R. as you get to Elora.

So you see there are options to making these towns and trails into a good day outing or stayover. With  plenty of shops and patios to check out it’s sure to be a good time.

Open Street map

Elora Rail Trail map

Total Score 1 REVIEW
Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
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Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout: