The Grand Valley Trail – Paris, Ontario

The title of this post is somewhat misleading because the Grand Valley Trail (GVT) – which was initially conceptualized in January 1972 at a public meeting in Kitchener, Ontario – stretches an impressive 275 kilometers from Port Maitland to Alton. The main trail generally follows the Grand River watershed and is divided into four sections: the Towpath (Haldimand County), the Carolinian Crest (Brant County), the Black Walnut (Waterloo Region), and the Pinnacle (Wellington and Dufferin counties plus Peel Region).

I focus here on the section of trail in Paris, Ontario, because this portion of the route affords some great river views – and when I try to characterize the Grand Valley Trail, I think ‘river’. Over the past two days, I have touched on two sister trails to the GVT – first, the Thames Valley Trail (distinguished by its unique mix of urban and natural features), and second, the Avon Trail (a purely rural trail with more intensive terrain). As with the other two trail organizations, the Grand Valley Trails Association (GVTA) is a group of volunteers who regularly offer organized hikes that are open to the general public.

On the Paris section of trail (Map 8 for those with a GVTA guidebook – again, a tool I would recommend that you purchase), a portion of the trail crosses over the S.C. Johnson trail and connects to the Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway (a part of the Trans Canada Trail). The avid hiker can thus enjoy hours of diverse hiking experiences along the GVT – and all in view of the beautiful Grand, a Canadian Heritage River.

Understory along the trail.
Understory along the trail.
Signs and posts mark the other trails connected to the GVT.
Signs and posts mark the other trails connected to the GVT.
Signs also mark the path of the GVT in some spots.
Signs also mark the path of the GVT in some spots.
The Grand River.
The Grand River.
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