I hadn't been out to Guelph Lake in quite a while so I decided to take advantage of my day and head up there. I started in the park in town and rode the community pathway out to the GORBA trails. Guelph Lake is home to some nice rolling trails through mostly pine forest. Trails like South Park, Mad Hater, Devil's Backbone, and Child's Play are all classic pine forest riding. Jurassic Park, Firefly, Upper Jurassic, and Dragon's Tongue are some tougher trails rolling up and down from the lake shore area. I did notice that the signage was in poor shape. The trails use to have excellent signs and maps but in the few years its been since I've ridden here they have degraded badly. For an out-of-towner like me, it was frustrating as I've only ridden here about 5 times over the last decade and need a reminder as to what is what.
After coming out of Beach Cruiser, you are greeted with excellent views of the lake. Beyond this there are some unofficial trails along the shore line near Highway 24. These trails can get pretty rough and tricky near the shoreline. Stay on your toes.
Heading back to the main trails I usually link up Firefly, Devil's Backbone and Link. Head into the tougher stuff on the south edge of the river (north most trails) for some serious rock crawling. The forest is so dense in here that it stays damp and dark all the time. You can almost catch a chill, even on a day like today with 36 degree plus humidity. Make no mistake, these trails are rocky.
After playing in the GORBA trails for a few hours I headed back out the community pathway to the park where I started. There are some singletrack trails coming off this pathway, these trails have some super tech challenges with alot of gnar tossed in. Roots, rocks, and more roots abound here.
Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a bicycle. Guelph Lake has everything from beginner singletrack, to the gnarly stuff that you might feel safer wearing armour for. Thanks GORBA for making an awesome trail system!
The trails at Wildwood Conservation Area have been open for mountain biking for a number of years now but I have not had the chance to get up there and check them out until now. I heard a few good things about these trails when they first opened up but its been radio silence ever since. I figured it was about damn time to see what they are like.
I drove the hour and a half from home to Wildwood Conservation Area, getting there around 7:30am. I paid my $6 entry fee at the gate and got directions / info / map from the pleasant gate attendant. The trailhead parking area is nice. Picnic tables, trail information board, and a bike service / repair station sponsored by Steam Whistle.
The trail starts out through a tunnel under the highway and winds along some bluffs for a while before dropping down into the valley at the Wildwood Dam.
The trail then heads along the reservoir shores and through the flood plains of the "lake".
There are emergency response stations located about every 1/2 km along the 25km trail, also useful for seeing where you are as they are marked on the map.
The trail is, for the most part, pretty straight and rolling. Short, gentle ups and downs are along the entire route. It is quite devoid of technical features save for a few short rooty areas and the "Hardwoods Trail" which is the most exciting part of the trail. The Hardwoods Trail is a small loop (less than a kilometer if I had to guess), and is the most challenging part of the trail, although its really not THAT challenging. The trail is also mostly what I consider double track, probably 85-90% of the trail, seems like more of an old access road / ATV trail than purpose built mountain bike trail.
The trail does have some nice scenery along the lake shore and a few nice boardwalks. There are also some cool old access roads that connect to the trail along the way that look like they would be fun to explore, but most of them are posted with "No Trespassing" signs.
All in all, its a decent trail if you live in the London / Stratford area but is seriously lacking in the excitement department. I like my trails narrow and twisty, while these are pretty wide open and straight. I did spot some areas along the route that have the potential to have great twisty singletrack on them though. Maybe the trails will develop more in the years to come. For now, I'll stick with riding other places that offer some more challenge and excitement.
Bric's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.