No matter the season, hiking is a great way to explore the Waterloo Region, especially if you are a new resident or just considering moving here. And it's fair to say that some of the best hiking trails are 'hidden in plain sight' in the Huron Natural Area.
In the Huron Natural Area, there are several connecting hiking trails. You may take a few hours to hike them all or embark on a shorter hike to complete one or two of them. It is the best place to go hiking with the entire family in Kitchener. These Kitchener hiking trails are perfect for inexperienced hikers, though there are a couple of sections with gradual hills.
It's very easy to navigate the Huron Natural Area, and we doubt that you'll get lost on your journey. Although there are not many trail markers on the trees, there are sign posts and maps on the way for navigation. These will show you precisely where you are standing and the trails' directions.
Hiking in the Huron Natural Area
In the Huron Natural Area, there are six separate hiking trails of varying lengths. These are some of Kitchener's best hiking trails as you wander through woodland, up and down a couple of small hills, and around a picturesque pond. They all circle back around to the main parking lot on Trillium Drive for the most part. When the hiking trails form a loop or multiple loops, we love it because every view is different and you don't have to backtrack.
The Huron Trail is a loop trail of 1.3 km and on the map you can see it highlighted in red. This is where the main parking lot is and where you'll likely to start from. The trail's paved sections are wheelchair accessible. You can hike to the left along the Huron Trail and hook up with the Meadow Trail.
This trail is a largely open space bordered by meadows. To support the bird populations in this beautiful natural location, there are some bird houses and boxes and if you bring your binoculars you should be able to spot some truly beautiful avians.
The Meadow Trail is marked in yellow on the trail map, and it’s a shorter loop at 0.6km. It connects a number of the different trails in the park to one another, including the Woodland Trail and the Strasburg Creek Trail. However, along the way you'll see plenty of fauna and flora and it's a great choice for a more leisurely stroll.
The 0.8 km loop outlined in purple on the map is the Woodland Trail. You can enter the forest here and walk along a dirt path surrounded by tall trees. This is defined by the park as a slightly rough terrain of younger mixed woodland. While this trail goes through the woods, it is certainly not difficult and suitable for most hikers.
Strasburg Creek Trail
The Woodland Trail leads back to the Meadow Trail, and then you can connect to the Strasburg Creek Trail. This trail is 2km in length, marked in dark blue on the map, and it’s the only trail in the park that does not proceed as a loop trail.
The Strasburg Creek Trail connects the Huron Natural Area to its surrounding neighbourhoods on the southern end of the park. If you live within walking distance of these Kitchener hiking trails, you can choose to access the park on foot from the Strasburg Creek Trail.
The most notable feature along the Forest Trail is the Board of Education Pond. This is a gorgeous and very reflective small lake in the middle of the park. There’s a boardwalk on the southern edge of the pond and tons of scenic views. This hike is a joy not only for fitness fanatics but also for serious Instagrammers and even professional photographers.
The Forest Trail is 1km in length and forms a loop. You can either loop back on the Forest Trail to the pond or continue hiking on one of the connecting trails.
This trail can be a little harder to find if you are not walking with your map - or a GPS app - but it's well worth looking for. The Plantation Trail loops through sections of forest that were planted in the late 1950s as a way of regenerating the area after it was nothing but farmland for many years.
Getting to the Huron Natural Area Trails
An industrial park on Trillium Drive faces the main Huron Natural Area parking lot. There's plenty of space in the parking lot to park your vehicle.
If you see a lot of cars, don't worry. The natural space is vast enough once we reach the trails that it will not feel crowded. You will be able to find toilets, a picnic area and benches near the main entrance. The main entrance address is 801 Trillium Drive, Kitchener. Many local residents also access the trails on foot from various points within their neighbourhoods.
Huron Natural Area Indigenous Art
Huron Natural Area has historical connections to Indigenous peoples. At the south end of Huron Natural Area and along the Strasburg Creek, archaeologists uncovered an aboriginal village with 10 longhouses and many other artefacts. The village is about 500 years old, and some of the artefacts are over 9000 years old.
The entrance to the Huron Natural Area has stunning new murals that are sure to catch your eye. These works of art were painted by the local Indigenous artists, Luke Swinson, August Swinson and Tsista Kennedy.
The three beautiful murals highlight the ways in which we are connected to the land. Not only are these works of art very vibrant and symbolic, they were built by the City of Kitchener as a way of welcoming Indigenous communities to the area.