Often urban trails are non-continuous due to roadways and housing developments. Such trails often follow waterways like Laurel Creek in Waterloo. For example, the City of Waterloo Laurel Trail tends to follow Laurel Creek. However, the Laurel Crek Trail tends to come to an abrupt stop at the sidewalk on University Avenue East at approximately 43.484865, -80.504838. This "deadend" is located near the the Waterloo Wastewater Treatment Plant and the University Ave/Conestoga Parkway interchange. Currently one cannot continue to follow Laurel Creek toward Bechtel Park since there is no established trail at this time. Across University Avenue and further down stream, Laurel Creek passes under the Conestoga Parkway at about 43.483825076832105, -80.50006575447478. It would appear that the City of Waterloo may build a connecting trail in the future. That future connection is shown in this PDF map and on some of my maps.
To walk to Bechtel Park (and back) from approximately 43.484865, -80.504838) one has to cross University Ave using existing sidewalks. Listed below there are two ways that may or may not appeal to walkers due to safety concerns.
Safer, Longer, Recommended Route (10 km)
When you arrive at University Avenue East (approximately 43.484865, -80.504838) do not cross University Avenue. Instead follow the sidewalk (north side of University Avenue) for about 900 m to the intersection of University Avenue and Bridge Street. At the traffic light cross to the south side of University Ave and then head south west along the sidewalk. Proceed along the grass in front of Parkview Cemetery (fence on your left) until you arrive at a gap in the fence that allows access to Bechtel Park (about 43.486941,-80.498677). Using this safer way to cross Un iversity Avenue adds about 3.0 km to the whole walk (~ 1.5 km each way). Below there is a GPS track file for this 10 km loop that you may download (GPX and KML) and use in your GPS receiver or smart phone.
Shorter Route (7 km)
Crossing University Ave at or near 43.484865, -80.50483 is not recommended for most people due to vehicular traffic. Also there is no pedestrian island. There are times when traffic may be minimal and crossing easier and safer. I have followed this shorter route when with my partner and we always wait until traffic in both directions is very clear! I have provided the GPX and KML files for this shorter route in the download area below.
GPS Track of Safer, Longer (10 km) Walk in Google Maps
Map Image 10 km Route
The following image shows the track (red line) for the safer and longer
walk. Note that the black line is not yet an existing trail.
SAFEST 10 km ROUTE: Link to a PDF of the 10 km walk. <> Link to a PDF of the 7 km walk that is not as safe. < See details above.
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.