Kissing Bridge – Rail Trail

Guelph to Millbank
Posted on July 6, 2018 / 6713
Kissing Bridge – Rail Trail
Listing Types : Rail Trail
Location : Western Ontario
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 45
Park Path % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy, Intermediate
Terrain : sandy spots, crushed gravel, drains well, open field, rocky patches
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 45 km (one way), G2G trail continues to Goderich +79 km

95%  rail trail path
5%  road crossings, detours

Terrain – mainly flat as rail lines go, gradual hill down to covered bridge

Surface – crushed stone, gravel, rocks, grass, tall weeds, gopher holes!

Skill – easy, intermediate, on west side gets wild and rough

Maps – map boards, sign at gates, milestone markers on some of the route Google map

Traffic – bicycles, hikers,  x-country skiers, snowmobiles

Facilities – parking lots, a few outhouses, some food and lodging

Highlights – Montrose covered bridge, large farms, Mennonite community of Elmira and St. Jacobs

Trail Fee – free

Phone – none

Website – Kissing Bridge Trailway , G2G Rail Trail

Similar Trails – Millennium, Omemee

Local Clubs – GORBA

Access – Parking lots in Ariss, West Montrose, Elmira, Wallenstein, Linwood, Millbank and other sideroads.

History – This rail line was built in 1907 by  Guelph & Goderich Railway between those two towns for a length of 127 km. The railway served communities and farms along this length to get produce to markets and the port on Lake Huron.

Grain was being hauled from Manitoba and up to 4 passenger trains travelled a day in the 1920’s.

Decades later increased auto and truck traffic reduced demand for train travel. The last passenger train travelled in 1955 with freight moving only.  

By 1988 Canadian Pacific Railway had decommissioned the route removing the tracks and bridges.

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The 45 km Kissing Bridge Rail Trail is the eastern segment of the G2G Rail Trail route through the middle of prime Ontario farm country.

Starting just outside of Guelph it is the most used and redeveloped stretch of this 127 km old rail line to Goderich, on the coast of Lake Huron.

As with most rail trails, depending on how much manicuring and maintenance local volunteers do (give them a hand & donation), will dictate how the terrain goes.

I found the east side out of Guelph past Elmira in great shape. The path was wide, mostly crushed stone with some grass patches. As you progress to the west end close to Millbank things start to get rough. Stones get larger and weeds get taller. Watch out for gopher holes, they can be a nasty surprise.

A MTB would be a good choice any farther along as this rail trail does continue another 79 km to Goderich. (that’s for another review…)

The West Montrose covered bridge “Kissing Bridge” on the Grand River is the main attraction along this route. You will need to detour 2 km south to get to it and to cross the river as the railroad company took the bridge out likely to sell it for scrap.

Unfortunately, this happens again 45 minutes later trying to cross the Conestoga River. A quick road detour gets you back on the trail.

Elmira is nicely placed in the middle of this route and is a large enough town to find lunch or a stay over.  Just south of here you could play the tourist and visit the famous St. Jacobs Market.

Further on Linwood and Millbank may also have a few amenities open.

The trail has a some shady stretches but most of the ride is open, sunny and possibly windy.

This is Mennonite country and you will likely see these folks traveling by the side of the road in a horse and buggy.

By the size and condition of the farms one sees on the ride, farmers look to be prosperous in these parts.

This is Ontario big sky and wide open agricultural land. Perhaps an outing with some country air is what you need for a change.

Rail Trail Map

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Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
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