If you’re looking to find the best Brantford hiking trails, your search is over. These are the top hiking trails in Brantford to go for a walk and get into nature. Brantford is known as the Hub of Ontario Trails because three major trails intersect at Brant’s Crossing. Three off-road sections of the Trans Canada Trail come together along the Grand River (leading east to Hamilton, north to Cambridge, and south to Simcoe).
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All in all, Brantford has a trail network of over 70km of recreational paths. There are 26km of the Trans Canada Trail within the city of Brantford. If you are looking for trail maps for many of the trails listed below, you’ll find them on this Google map, created by the Brant Waterways Foundation.
It’s also possible to visit many of Brantford’s historic sites along these paths: Glenhyrst Art Gallery, the Bell Homestead, Mohawk Chapel, Woodland Cultural Centre, the Canadian Military Heritage Museum, the Brantford Armory and the War Memorial. Here’s my attractions and activities guide of the best things to do in Brantford, Ontario.
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Hiking in Brantford: SC Johnson Trail
The SC Johnson Trail (also called the SC Johnson Rail Trail) is a 14km trail that connects Brantford to Paris, Ontario. Portions of the SC Johnson Trail are paved, and some are covered in a stone gravel. These paths are perfect for walking and cycling.
A portion of the trail follows the old LE & N Railway (Lake Erie & Northern Railway) tracks before it follows the banks of the Grand River. From the LE & N Trail, parts of the SC Johnson Trail follow the Gordon Glaves Pathway. Then, the SC Johnson Trail continues south beneath the CN railway underpass.
The northern end of the trail starts at Willow Street in Paris. You’ll find the southernmost point of the trail at River Road in Brantford. In Brantford, I suggest walking the portion of the trail that’s also considered to be the Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway. Start at Glenhyrst Art Gallery and walk along the banks of the Grand River.
Brantford Hiking Trails: Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway
The Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway, also known as the Gordon Glaves Grand River Loop, follows the banks of the Grand River in one big loop. There are 19km of scenic trails, as you can see in the image above. Follow the path marked in red on the above trail map to walk the Gordon Glaves Grand River Loop.
A portion of this trail follows the SC Johnson Trail. I loved witnessing the beauty surrounding Wilkes Dam, starting at Glenhyrst Art Gallery and walking south. There are multiple viewpoints of the Grand River along the way, but this scenic lookout point is truly spectacular.
You can walk to Brant’s Crossing where you’ll see the point where three sections of the Trans Canada Trail connect. Then, cross to the opposite side of the Grand River. You’ll eventually walk along the edge of Brant Park Conservation Area and beyond. Gordon Glaves was a prominent volunteer in the community, and this trail system was named after him in 1993.
Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail
The Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail is 32km long, connecting Hamilton and Brantford. It’s a relatively flat trail that’s great for walking or cycling. The surface of the trail is covered in stone dust. Some sections of the trail are quite scenic and pretty, while others can be a little bit plain without much to see.
The Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail connects with the Bruce Trail, the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, the SC Johnson Trail, and the City of Hamilton trail and bikeway network. It is also part of the Trans Canada Trail network. It ends at Brant’s Crossing in Brantford where it connects with two other sections of the Trans Canada Trail.
Lake Erie & Northern Rail Trail
The LE & N Rail Trail runs from Brantford to Port Dover, and it’s great for walking or cycling. This trail is 46km long, it’s a relatively flat path, and it’s well maintained. You’ll start in Brantford and end up at the shores of Lake Erie in Port Dover.
This was originally an electric railway line for the Lake Erie & Northern Railway from 1916 to 1960. LE & N abandoned train travel for bus travel when it became more affordable to do so. The train tracks were used until the 1980s until it became repurposed as a recreational path.
It meanders through woodlots and past rural areas of farmers’ fields. In Brantford, the LE & N Rail Trail is simply called the LE & N Trail and it’s 14km long. Then, it’s called the Waterford Heritage Trail for 18km, the Norfolk Sunrise Trail for 4km, and the Lynn Valley Trail for 10km.
Brantford Hiking Trails: Grand Valley Trail
The Grand Valley Trail is an extensive 250km marked footpath that runs through Brantford, making it one of the top Brantford hiking trails. It also made our list of the best long distance hikes in Ontario. To view maps of the Grand Valley Trail, download the Ondago app and search for “Grand Valley Trail”. There are five maps in total, and you can map your progress along the trail as you hike.
This is the lengthiest trail in southwestern Ontario that follows the Grand River watershed. It starts in the town of Alton (near Orangeville) and ends in Port Maitland (near Dunnville). There are four sections of trail. It’s possible to earn badges when you complete each one (or the entire end to end of the trail).
Franklin Grobb Memorial Forest
Franklin Grobb Memorial Forest is a local park in Brantford, and one of the best short hiking trails in Brantford. There’s a small pond and some shady forest paths where you might be able to spot some wildlife. While the trail through Franklin Grobb Memorial Forest is pretty short, it leads right to the LE & N Trail where you can continue your journey.
Brant Park Conservation Area
Brant Conservation Area, also known as Brant Park, is an expansive green space on the Grand River. We went tubing down the Grand River when visiting Brantford, and this was our meeting point (and end point).
In addition to walking the grassy trails along the Grand River, Brant Park Conservation Area is also a place to go camping, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, swimming in their large swimming pool, or simply relaxing in the sunshine. From Brant Park, you can easily start walking or cycling on the SC Johnson Trail that runs right beside the conservation area.
Best Brantford Hikes: TH & B Rail Trail
The TH & B Rail Trail (Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo) is part of the Trans Canada Trail. It runs between Brantford and Waterford. As it is part of the Trans Canada Trail, it meets at the Ontario Hub of Trails at Brant’s Crossing where you can continue on two other paths.
The TH & B Trail is 14km long and it was completed in 2010. It connects to the LE & N Trail near Mount Pleasant Park, and it begins near Donegal Park and the D’Aubigny Creek Wetlands.
Hikes Near Brantford: Apps Mill Nature Centre
This one is technically in Brant, just on the outskirts of Brantford. Apps Mill is a conservation area that’s one of the best places to go hiking in Brantford. On this 266 acre property, you’ll discover mature forests and peaceful meadows with serene views of Whitemans Creek. It’s a wonderful place to wander through the forest, walk across small bridges, and explore along the edge of the creek.
There’s also a bit of history at Apps Mill – the mill itself, of course! While the building remains in a state of disrepair (and you can’t go inside the building), it’s a rather iconic sight and great for some photo opportunities.
The Apps Mill hiking trail is 3.4km in length when it forms the full loop (more on the partial trail closure in a bit). There are also lots of small offshoots from the trails down to the river in many places. These are smaller paths that are well worn. You can hike on these for a little bit if you choose and then link back up with the main trail.
Map of Brantford Hiking Trails
Want to see all of these Brantford hiking trails in one place? Check out our map of the best hiking trails in Brantford. Use this map to help plan your hiking trip to Brantford.
Where to Stay in Brantford
If you’d like to make a multi-day hiking trip of it, why not spend the night in Brantford? There are lots of things to do in Brantford if you love outdoor adventures. Browse the map below to view all accommodations, including hotels and vacation rentals.
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