People who are new to Brantford or visiting for the first time are often shocked when they discover the abundance of trails surrounding our beautiful city. I’ve lived in Brantford the majority of my life and, to be honest, I still sometimes forget about the natural beauty that sits behind the scenes of our bustling downtown core.
With nearly 100,000 residents, over 3,100 students at Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as Conestoga College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and Westervelt College, it’s no doubt that Brantford has the look of a much larger urban city. However, one of Brantford’s biggest tourism assets—our 70km of natural trails—is also what gives our city its charming ‘small town feel.’
One of the most unique things about Brantford is that you have all the amenities of a big city—shopping, dining, entertainment, educational institutions and world-class hotel chains—with a scenic natural backdrop. This gives our residents and visitors the pleasure of ‘escaping’ to nature, without having to leave our backyards. The serene Grand River, a designated Canadian heritage river, weaves its way through our City along some of the largest stands of Carolinian forests in Canadian. Take in the view of Mohawk Lake, visit one of our many area outfitters to go paddling, and be on the lookout for frequent deer and the occasional bald-eagle sightings. A visit to the river blocks out the noise of traffic and even a short visit to the river can make you feel like you’ve taken a mini-holiday. It’s truly incredible what we have in our own backyard.
If you are an avid cyclist, Brantford has many trails which are suitable for novice and expert riders alike. The Brantford Rotary Bike Park provides an added challenge for cyclists. Built with expertise, craftsmanship and attention to detail, the bike park is a full day of fun for riders of all abilities with beginning, intermediate and advanced jumps, trails, pump tracks and a skills area. The 2019 Cycling in Ontario Guide referred to the Brantford Rotary Bike Park, located at 400 Grand River Ave., as “one of the best outdoor bike parks in Ontario.”
Here are a few recommended starting points for your next adventure on the trails:
- Oak Park Rd.
- Hardy Rd.
- Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant
- Wilkes Dam
- Waterworks Park
Some of these must-see attractions in Brantford also have trail access:
- Bell Homestead National Historic Site
- Mohawk Park
- Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant
- Serenity Country Candles
- Earl Haig Family Fun Park
Experienced bikers can enjoy a 50km route from Brantford to Dundurn that starts downtown and rides south along the Grand River. For a more leisurely walk, park at Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant and walk to Wilkes Dam. The sound of rushing water is relaxing to anyone, and your kids will love to skip rocks into the water at this peaceful spot. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful grounds at Glenhyrst Gardens.
There are so many great spots to hike, run or bike along The Grand River in Brantford. Choose the one that’s best suited for you and your family and remember to pack a snack, drink and sunscreen.
All trails within Brantford’s city limits currently remain open. The public is reminded that ATV's, e-bikes and motorized bikes are not permitted on trails. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters used for accessibility are allowed. Bicycles and leashed dogs are also permitted. All trail users must keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others and are asked not to congregate while using trails. All washrooms, amenities along the trail and parking lots at trail access points are temporarily closed due to precautions related to COVID-19.