Guelph Royal – Park Trail

Posted on September 15, 2023 / 1222
Guelph Royal – Park Trail
Listing Types : Park Trail
Location : Western Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 20
Hiking trail % : 20
Park Path % : 70
Road % : 10
Rate Skill Levels : Easy, Intermediate, Advanced
Terrain : smooth soil, paved, crushed gravel, can be muddy, gentle hills, tree roots
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 20 km loop

70% park path
20% hiking trail
10% road riding, crossings

Elevation – Flat along river’s edge, short hills

Terrain – Paved and gravel paths, bridges, boardwalks, (optional singletrack trail has rocks, roots, and muddy parts)

Skill – Easy to Advanced

Maps – Map boards (some missing), old trail posts, needs more and better signage

Traffic – Cyclists, hikers, strollers, kids, dogs, (cars)

Facilities – Lots of free parking lots, toilets, benches, picnic tables, shopping mall

Highlights – Eramosa River, covered bridge, dam, university campus, arboretum, rail trail, many boardwalks

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – 519 822 1260

Website – City of Guelph, Visit Guelph

Similar Trails – Grand River Loop (Brantford), Thames Valley (London)

Local Clubs – Guelph Cycling Club

Access – Plenty of parking can be found in Guelph, here are a few choices:

Eramosa River Park
Lyon Park
Covered Bridge
Centennial Park
Hanlon Creek Park 

Vol 2 Bike Trail Book Ad

The Guelph Royal Recreational trail is part of a loop I designed to give you about 20 km of cycling time in the saddle. The route covers a mixture of treed riverside and open parkland settings and goes into forests, winds through the university campus and arboretum, and comes back using an old railway trail.

As such, the path alternates from paved to crushed stone and even soil on some of the optional side trails.

I leave it to you to customize my suggestions to your liking. You can stick to the easy off-road paths or do more energetic, tricky gravel and dirt trails suitable for a novice mountain biker. We did it all on gravel/hybrid bikes, and my wife loved it, and she is a timid cyclist.

I rated this loop Easy to Advanced because it not only varies in terrain competence, you also have to self-navigate more than on most trails on this site. Also, the only way to bridge paths together is with a few short road connections. (Most have bike lanesthis is a bike-friendly town.)

I was pleased to see that sections of this loop had been repaired and upgraded when we were out there to ride it, a few weeks prior to publishing my book. Unfortunately, the old signage has still not been replaced/improved; hopefully that’s next. You may need to use a map app.

A good start is in the centre of town, by the covered bridge where the Speed River meets the Eramosa River. I don’t know the history of it, but it is a novel way to get across and kids love it for pictures. I’ve listed a number of other free parking locations that are equally good as launch points.

Heading SW the trail on the north side of the river has manicured parkland while the south trail is more natural. Posts marked RRT (Royal Recreation Trail) show the way; there just are not enough of them.

Eventually you need to cross one of the four bridges to the south trail to carry on. Perhaps at the dam you will see fishermen. This side takes you farther, to the highway and the next section of adventure.

The path turns away from the river up a hill to Municipal St with its raised bike lane. This brief road connection takes you back onto parkland paths beside neighbourhood sports fields and school yards. Signage is missing here, so stick to the gravel path and go left at the parking lot, then SE behind the school.

All should be pleasant and easy going ’til Scottsdale Drive, a mall district (with restaurant options). Here, you can decide to take on an extra 6 km of forested side trail loops in Preservation Park. A wonderful ride in the woods, with the scents of evergreens. I have never seen so many long boardwalks!

If you chose this side trail, continue down Scottsdale and take a left on Cole Rd. You will find park access at the end leading to the gravel path along Hanlon Creek…

If you skip the forest trails, take this 1.5 km road connection to get to the university “cow path” bike trail. From the park, ride NE on Scottsdale behind the mall, turn on Wilsonview Ave to meet Edinburgh Rd S. Here, go one block SW onto Chancellors Way. Once past the student dorm brick buildings, on the left is the Cow Path, marked only by a yellow emergency pole (no sign)…

Read the rest of this review and 59 others in my NEW book, Volume 2 of Best Bicycle Park & Rail Trails in Ontario.

Guelph Royal bike trail loop

Guelph Royal bike trail loop

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