Starting at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph, one may choose short to long walks. You can enjoy pleasant loop walks of about 5 km without crossing Hwy 6. For a longer adventure you can choose to walk from the Centre out to Guelph Lake and Dam, enjoy your packed lunch and walk back. Other alternatives appear below.
Walking Trails of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre - You are encouraged to read the Land and Trails and the Trails web pages. Especially useful is the PDF trails map that shows the various walking trails on the grounds. Also available is a PDF cross-country ski trails map.
Worthy of Our Donations - I spent part of my summers as a youth on my uncle's dairy farm near the Jesuit Centre and enjoyed fishing at the Marden Dam/Reservoir. That dam was decommissioned recently so the reservoir is longer present but often shows up on maps. In recent years I have enjoyed walking these lands. I encourage anyone who wishes to walk these grounds to read the About Us web page and to make a donation.
Other Online Information
- Guelph Lake Conservation Area
- Guelph Lake (Wikipedia)
- Marden Tract Parking Lot (43.567128, -80.317924)
- Marden Tract Autumn Trail Colour, Guelph Ontario (YouTube video by Don Drews)
- OpenStreet Marden Tract - GPS track map
Three Hikes & Sets of GPS Data
1) Guelph Lake Loop (10 or 12 km) - It starts and finishes at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph. Park at the Jesuit Centre, walk out to Guelph Lake and return a different way. Parking coordinates are 43.570647, -80.285652. From the parking lot make your way north west through the Labyrinth and around the Jesuit Cemetery to the south end of the Loyola House parking lot where you will see the S. J. Chardin Trail display sign [coordinates 43.572416, -80.286525]. From here you can follow the GPS track, you can download, down to Marden Creek (see it in Google Maps below). You should also consult the PDF trails map. On the PDF map you are following portions of the
Chardin, S. J. Trail (blue dashed line), the
Holzer, S. J. Trail (green dashed line) and the Speed by Old Villa Trail (purple dashed line). NOTE: Hwy 6 has lots of traffic so cross carefully. Once you reach approximately coordinates 43.577010, -80.275700 the trail follows the west side of the Speed River out to Victoria Street. At Victoria Street turn right (east), cross the river on the bridge, turn left (north) and follow the well-defined trail on the east side of the Speed River to the Guelph Dam. You follow this same path back to Victoria Street. Once at Victoria Street stay on the east side of the river and follow an even more defined path (Royal Recreational Trail) that brings you out to the sidewalk on Woodlawn Road East (43.569524, -80.271496). 10-km Option: Turn right and follow the sidewalk along Woodlawn Road East to the traffic light at Woolwich Street (Hwy6), cross to the south side, turn right and walk up the sidewalk to Marymount Cemetery. Turn left into the cemetery and head north west onto the Ignatius Jesuit Centre and to your car(s).
12-km Option: Cross Woodlawn Road East at the pedestrian traffic light. After crossing, turn left, cross over the Speed River on the sidewalk to the north east side of the river. Turn right and down the Royal Recreational Trail for about 0.7 km. When you reach the pedestrian bridge, turn right and cross to the other side of the river. [Before proceeding on the rest of the walk you may want to look around in this part of Riverside Park. If it is a weekend, the Concession building may be open.] Having crossed the pedestrian bridge, turn right and follow the Speed River Trail back to Woodlawn Road East. Cross at the pedestrian traffic light, turn left and follow the sidewalk along Woodlawn Road East to the traffic light at Woolwich Street (Hwy6), cross to the south side, turn right and walk up the sidewalk to Marymount Cemetery. Turn left into the cemetery and head north west onto the Ignatius Jesuit Centre and to your car(s).
2) Marden Tract to Guelph Lake to Woodlawn Centre/Plaza (14 km or 16 km) - This is a linear walk requiring a car shuttle. You can start at the Marden Tract on Wellington Road 39 [43.567128, -80.317924] walk out to Guelph Lake via the Ignatius Jesuit Centre and end your hike in the parking lot at the Woodlawn Centre/Plaza [near the Golden Griddle/Canadian Tire store; see 43.566936, -80.275651].
The Grand River Conservation Authority owns the Marden Tract that is a 20 hectare (50 acre) deciduous woodlot. A linear trail crosses the woodlot, ending at a powerline corridor and abandoned rail right-of-way. At one time the rail line linked Guelph with Elora, Ontario, and which now forms part of the Trans-Canada hiking trail. This location is also the Guelph (east) end of the 45 km long Kissing Bridge Trailway. Parking at this location you could walk north east through the Marden Tract and join the trail system of the Jesuit Centre from the back end of that property. To get from the back of the Marden Tract to the back of the Jesuit Centre you follow the powerline corridor and abandoned rail right-of-way to the east (towards Guelph). If you want to make this hike 14 km instead of 16 km leave off the Riverside Park loop described in the 12-km option described in the first hike above.
3) Marden Tract and Guelph Lake Loop Combined (17+ km) - If one combines the hikes above you have a longer walk. In the map below, if you move it to your right you will see a continuous yellow line that is the approximate track of the Kissing Bridge Trailway. At West Montrose there is a loop called the West Montrose side trail and is part of the Grand Valley Trail. That loop or the Kissing Bridge Trailway takes you through West Montrose and across the Grand River in the old covered bridge.