Here is an enjoyable 20 km Park Trail loop in Brantford that follows the Grand River up one side and back down the other. Part city parkland, part repurposed old rail lines, it makes for a pleasant path to cycle.
With no single long intercity park path in Brantford, here is a combined loop. Though the path’s names change a few times, there are plenty of maps and sign posts to guide you around and back.
With only a few climbs, it is fairly flat riding and easy to do. The scenery is a mix of parks, woodlots, old rail beds and floodplains with glimpses of the river over your shoulder. You will be riding on top of dikes that keep the city dry when there are spring floods.
Part of this ride crosses over the Grand River on two old bridges; the north one is very long with great views of canoes and fishing boats in the river.
I noted that some of the path’s asphalt surface needed repair and was a rough ride. Though most of it is paved, there are sections with smooth dirt and crushed gravel in between.
To do the loop I counted three road detours that were straightforward connections.
If you look on a map, your start points are numerous. I found the parking at Mt. Pleasant St. and Gilkison St. by the baseball diamonds a good choice. Starting from there, floods had closed Gilkison’s Flats for repairs, so we took the upper park path along the sports fields.
As you follow the river it connects to the Fordview Trail where you cross the river at the first old train bridge. (the second is closed)
Continue up on the east bank on what is now called the SC Johnson Trail towards Paris on top of the dike embankments. When you get to Wilkes Dam a short detour takes you up to the route on an old rail bed.
Just before Hardy Rd., branch off left to get to that long bridge that takes you back to the other side of the Grand. This part feels like you’re in the country before it ends at a suburb.
Here one detours on the road for a few blocks on Kerr Shaver Tr., then Oakhill Dr. gets you back in D’Aubigny Park on a wooded path. Back out on Ballantyne Dr. a one way street, and your last detour, which has a bike lane.
Pass an odd one way intersection (walk your bike) to connect back to Lorne Park and you are soon back to the first bridge you crossed. The rest is a return to your car on the same path.
If you are into more riding out here, the city maps promote other Rail Trails that lead you out of town, the LE & B, the Hamilton to Brantford, and the Rail Trail to Paris – Cambridge.