The trails at the University of Guelph’s Arboretum will soon connect to a vast network of city and regional trails with the arrival of a long-planned spur walkway.

The Arboretum has partnered with the Guelph Hiking Trail Club and Cutten Fields golf club to build the Arboretum Recreational Side Trail that will connect the northeast end of the Arboretum trail system to the Guelph Radial Line Trail and the city network of trails.

“Building this connecting trail has been discussed for years and has been a long time coming, so it’s exciting that this is finally happening now, during a pandemic,” said Arboretum director Justine Richardson.

For years, the only way hikers and leisure walkers could access the Arboretum’s nine kilometres of trails from the Radial Line Trail was to walk along Victoria Road. This new spur trail will connect the woods at the east end of Cutten Fields to an informal path that has long existed into the Arboretum grounds.

Two men help install one of 22 new steps along the trail
Guelph Hiking Trail Club volunteers Trevor Reid and Brian von Norstrand help to build steps along the trails (Photo by Jim Hoare)

The Guelph Hiking Trail Club has built steps up a short hill while Arboretum staff created a mown path through the Arboretum’s Robinia (black locust) tree collection, one of the oldest on the grounds. New signs will direct hikers and joggers to the trails.

Richardson said she’s delighted the extension will increase access to the Arboretum’s many groomed trails and extensive tree collections.

“The Arboretum plays an important role in the city from encouraging biodiversity to providing a place for relaxation and recreation during this often stress-filled time. Having this extended trail as the pandemic evolves is vital given how important access to nature is for physical and mental well-being.”


Justine Richardson