Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail – Cambridge, Ontario

For anyone who enjoys long, flat, relaxing hikes, this is the trail for you! The Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail is a total of 18 kilometers in length and offers excellent birding opportunities right along the Grand River. The trail is well-maintained for its length – thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) – and provides an easy path for hikers, joggers, and cyclists (GRCA, 2014).

Originally, the trail followed the old roadbed of the Lake Erie and Northern Railway from the City of Cambridge to the Town of Paris (GRCA, 2014). It was one of the last electric railways to be built in Ontario; these railways were similar to streetcars and moved both freight and passengers between urban hubs (GRCA, 2014). This particular trail was opened in 1994, and was also one of the first abandoned rail lines to be put to recreational use in Ontario (GRCA, 2014).

I would recommend cycling along this trail, as my hike was about 5 or 6 kilometers and I felt there was still much to be seen. There are several parking spots along the trail (see Trail Access options here), and quite a few locations in which the route hooks up with other trail systems (particularly, the SC Johnson Trail and the Cambridge Living Levee Trail) (GRCA, 2014). Sections of the rail trail are also included in the Grand Valley Trail and the Trans Canada Trail.

Overall, quite a relaxing and well-maintained trail to enjoy along the Grand River. Highly recommended!

Google Map (parking spot in Cambridge):

Interesting views greet the wanderer along this trail.
Interesting views greet the wanderer along this trail.
The trail is flat and well-maintained.
The trail is flat and well-maintained.
'Twas a gloomy day for a hike, but still enjoyable.
‘Twas a gloomy day for a hike, but still enjoyable.
The Grand River is quite close to the trail in some sections.
The Grand River is quite close to the trail in some sections.
There are a few signs and benches along the trail.
There are a few signs and benches along the trail.
This year, the Grand River was flowing quite high and fast from a significant snowfall season.
This year, the Grand River was flowing quite high and fast after a significant snowfall season.
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