Things To Do: Cycling & Hiking the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Rail Trail

Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Rail Trail in Ontario

Located in southern Ontario, the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge trail is a scenic relic that weaves through the economic heartland of Canada. Over 80 kilometers (50 miles) of paved and gravel pathways take you through an urban and rural adventure on this rail trail.

To the east, the wide rail trail runs through the scenic Dundas Valley Conservation Area, a sanctuary along the Niagara Escarpment.

To the west, the Cambridge-Paris rail trail follows the Grand River through a thick forest. Scenic lookouts along the way remind hikers and cyclists what most of southern Ontario used to look like.


View Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Rail Trail in a larger map

The trail is open to biking, hiking and, in the rural areas, even horse-back riding and has plenty of access points along the way. In winter, this becomes a popular ski trail for cross-country skiers. The Grand River Conservation Authority has more details about the HBC trail.

No matter where you start along its length, the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Trail, is a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Golden Horseshoe.

Rail Trail Etiquette

  • Like all rail trails in Canada, these pathways are for everyone to enjoy and it takes everyone's effort to protect it for future generations.

  • When passing, verbally alert the slower party or ring a bicycle bell. Slow traffic should keep to the right and cyclists should yield to pedestrians and horse riders.

  • Respect the surrounding properties. Adjacent landowners are usually good trail stewards.

  • Keep dogs under control at all times and pick up after them, even if the equestrians don't (that's mainly grass anyways).

History of the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Trails

This 80 kilometer (50 mile) rail trail is actually the creation of two abandoned rail lines and the extensive city-wide municipal trails through Brantford. Together, they make up a part of the much larger Trans Canada Trail.

Hamilton to Brampton

This rail trail is the abandoned remains of the old Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway that ran in southern Ontario from 1890s to 1987.

Only the branch line from Hamilton west to Brantford was converted into the rail trail. The other line, from Hamilton to Welland, was integrated into the CPR and is still in use today by locomotives.

Brantford to Paris

Known as the SC Johnson Trail, after the corporate sponsor, this 10 kilometer connector follows the old rail line of the Lake Erie & Northern Railway.

Paris to Cambridge

This portion of the trail was also created from the abandoned rail lines of the Lake Erie & Northern Railway. It follows the Grand River and offer excellent bird watching opportunities.

 

The Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Trail (also known as the Cambridge-Paris-Brantford-Hamilton Trail) is one of the best ways to discover the backcountry of Canada's Golden Horseshoe.

Check out other adventures and things to discover in Ontario.