This walk is on relatively flat terrain. Here are two options both of which are loops (thus no car shuttle) and include a lunch stop. It is possible to have a planned dropout for those who do not wish to walk the whole 18 km.
Option One: Start and End in the Belwood Lake Conservation Area
Enter the Conservation Area at 43.732426, -80.331749 (Google Street View), pay the day fee (about $5.75/person) and park in the large parking lot that is off to the left of the gatehouse. Locate the Elora-Cataract Trailway and walk across the Shand Dam toward Spier (see GVTA Map 14). You are starting off walking clockwise (north west) relative to the lake (reservoir). Approximately 2 - 2.2 km after you start watch for a Grand Valley Trail (GVT) blaze just before you reach the 2nd Line. Here you leave the Elora-Cataract Trailway and follow the GVT blazes along the west side of the lake heading in a northerly direction to the village of Belwood. It is best to have a copy of the GVT Guidebook and Map 14. This segment, from the C.A. to Belwood, is about 10 km.
When you arrive in Belwood you could choose to take a break and eat a packed lunch or visit the Belwood Super Snax Restaurant and buy your lunch.
Upon completion of lunch, follow the GVT blazes south, east along North Broadway Street (Wellington 26) across the lake on the bridge. When you have crossed the bridge walk past Sideroad 10 and past Sixth Street. Leave the GVT and follow the Elora-Cataract Trailway to the right (south, west) - do not go left (north, east). Follow the Elora-Cataract Trailway for about 8 km, with the lake to your right, back to the C.A.
Option Two: Start and End in the the village of Belwood
Note the Grand Valley Trail (GVT) white blazes that occur in this area (mainly on utility poles). Locate St John's United Church at the intersection of Queen Street and 5th Street North. Start off along 5th Street North heading south with the lake off to your left. Follow the GVT blazes almost to Spier (about 10 km). GVT Map 14 would be an asset. Just before Spier, and the 2nd Line, the GVT reaches the groomed Elora-Cataract Trailway. Turn left and follow the Elora-Cataract Trailway (not the GVT) into Belwood Lake Conservation Area and across the Shand Dam. Once inside the C.A. find a nice spot and eat your packed lunch and replenish your bodily fluids.
After your nutrition break continue on the Elora-Cataract Trailway in a northerly direction on the east side of the lake (the lake is on your left). When you arrive at Wellington Road 26 (North Broadway Street) leave the Elora-Cataract Trailway by tuning left along Wellington Road 26 and cross over the lake (Grand River) on the bridge (you are back on the GVT). Once you arrive in Belwood turn left on George Street. You may wish to treat yourself to an ice cream or a piece of "pie-to-die-for" at the Belwood Super Snax Restaurant before continuing to your car.
Lake Belwood (a reservoir of the Grand River) was created as a result of the construction of the Shand Dam in 1942. The Shand Dam was the first of its kind in Canada and was built for water conservation and flood protection. The lake is about 12 kilometres long. The Conservation Area is 1,348 hectares (3,329 acres) large, and includes about 350 seasonal private cottages. At the dam a stairway along its face allows you to walk down to its base. The flow from the dam is used to generate hydroelectricity. Lake Belwood is a reservoir in two counties: East Garafraxa, Dufferin County and Centre Wellington, Wellington County.
GPS Track of Walk in Google Map
GPS Tracks for Download
HELP: If clicking on the links does not provide a download option, try RIGHT clicking the link (especially the .gpx file) and then choose "Save Links As" (or equivalent) from the drop-down menu. Pick a download location (e.g. desktop) for the file.