Speed River and Downtown Trail Guelph 6 km

Speed River and Downtown Trail

100 KM Loop

Guelph has many trails that have different purposes and destinations. My largest piece of advice walking through Guelph is to have a map of where you want to go. The entire trail system is called the Royal Recreational Trail (RRT). This should not be confused with a single trail that has a beginning, middle and end. It is a combination of many, many trails that meet and diverge and head in various directions. It is possible to have more than one branch of the RRT beginning at any one location.

My first encounter with this, on this particular trek,Woodlawn Memorial Parkwas the Woodlawn Cemetery. Travelling east along Woodlawn, it was clear that there should be a way to enter the cemetery. I noticed that there was a small, unmarked trail veering off to the right of the sidewalk, (marked in a teal broken line on the map) just before you reach the cemetery. This turned out to be a path that led to the back of the cemetery and an opening in the fence.

It was as if someone wanted access to the grounds, but to make it not very obvious so people did not make a habit of crossing through the property.

IMG_5225The site is recognized as part of the Trans Canada Trail and there are markers visible. Markers, that are often at intersections and do not clearly indicate which direction you should travel. As I said, you need a map. I prematurely exited from the cemetery and needed to walk south on Woolwich. If I had had the map above, I would have emerged at Marilyn Drive.

IMG_5227This cemetery is quite old and I’m still looking into just how old. I saw stones as old as 1820, but some of the older stones were not readable. There is a huge amount of history here and there are plaques and monuments in addition to the headstones.

Between the cemetery and the trail that runs along the Speed River, there is a short walk along Marilyn Drive. This is a quiet side street with a little traffic. The trail travels along the river surrounded by park next to a IMG_5230quiet subdivision. This is another point where I’ll caution you about a map. A map will clearly show which side of the river you need to be on. There are trails on both sides, but only one will get you to a bridge that you need to cross over to the other side. Of course, being on the wrong side would not be a serious tragedy but you would have to either back track or walk along a busy roadway to get back onto the trail.

With the exception of the jog along Woodlawn Road, IMG_5232a busy, four lane road, this entire walk has multiple benches and picnic tables along its length.

As I happened by Goldie Mill Park, which the trail passes by, they were filming a scene from Murdoch Mysteries. Before I was told it was not allowed, I did manage to get IMG_5234one photograph.

In addition to that, there are over 70 restaurants all within short walk of this part of the trail. If you plan to go by this area during meal time I recommend looking into the type of restaurant you would like to visit. You will have to leave the trail, but most are metres away. Guelph is known for its restaurants so this is not the time to go to a chain restaurant because it is familiar and easy.

This segment of the trail connects Marden Tract on one end and Silvercreek Trail at the other. So depending on which direction you are travelling you would either begin at the intersection Woodlawn Road and Edinburgh Road or Gordon Street at the Speed River, where it meets the Eramosa River.

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