October 16, 2020

Elora Cataract from Belwood to Elora

The day before we biked around Peterborough, we rode along part of the Elora Cataract Trailway; a 45 kilometre trail from Elora to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. We started in Belwood about halfway between and parked at Belwood Hall.

Just before we reached the trail, we crossed the Grand River which appeared to be a bit low at the time.

The Elora Cataract is a reasonably well maintained gravel trail with it being sufficiently wide, sturdy gates to keep motor vehicles out, and kilometre markings telling you how far you are away from Elora.

About halfway to Elora, we came across the Belwood Lake Conservation Area where the trail goes over a large dam with Belwood Lake on the north side and a huge drop down to the Grand River on the south. The trail is a bit rocky near the dam where walking the road bike was not a bad idea.

Those exploring the conservation area can go down the stairs towards the Grand River and hike along the river bed, while Belwood Lake is considered to be a good fishing spot.

While the “trail ends” signage in Fergus appeared at Gartshore Street, the trail continues another block to Gzowski Street. The trail at Gzowski has a short paved switchback for improved accessibility.

The green dotted line represents the official Elora Cataract Trailway route through Fergus. Those wishing to explore downtown are encouraged to use Gzowski, St. Andrew, and Beatty Line marked in blue.

Since we didn’t see the trail wayfinding at Gzowski, we used Gzowski Street, St. Andrew Street, and Beatty Line to get back on the trail while stopping in Downtown Fergus. Their downtown has a cute bike shop called “The Bicycle Tailor” while other shops along St. Andrew such as “One And Only” were worth visiting.

The next trail leg from Beatty Line was only three kilometres long and leads into Church Street in Elora. The final approach is slightly rocky, but it was nice to be on paved roads again for the final stretch to the Elora Gorge Lookout.

We biked past a church in the middle of a roundabout and noticed some of the roads were closed off with lots of people walking around.

While we were not sure what was the occasion, I noticed Mill Street had a historic yet touristy feel. The Elora Mill was built in the 1850’s for industrial purposes, but was more recently converted into a hotel and spa.

Victoria Park – where the Elora Gorge Lookout was located – was a short walk up the hill.

While the view itself wasn’t that great, I noticed some people were kayaking below.

After our brief stroll around Elora, it was time to head back to Belwood. This time around, we used the wayfinding signage from Beatty Lane which was very good and lead us back to the switchback at Gzowski Street and bypassed downtown Fergus. We also noticed a lot of painted bird houses with positive messaging.

The Elora Cataract Trailway is another good place to explore just outside of Toronto. For those looking to do the entire trail, I would suggest starting in Elora, Erin, or near Forks of the Credit.

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