Iron Horse Trail

Iron Horse Trail Logo
  • The Iron Horse Trail is one of the city trails that runs north-south along an abadoned railway and is sort of south of King Street. [Remember that quite a number of the older streets in the K-W were not established on a grid.] It is a paved (mostly asphalt), multi-use trail. At the north end (Waterloo) it starts/ends at the intersection of Erb Street West and Caroline Street (about 43.4642442788973, -80.5253281495602).  At the south end (Kitchener) it starts/ends at Ottawa Street South (about 43.43906016003586, -80.47471411091873). The Iron Horse Trail is part of the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail). More history and other information is available at Wikipedia. Once you are familiar with the "Iron Horse", you can plan a variety of walking or biking excursions that make use of it and other ajoining or nearby trails. There is a similar trail north of King Street called the SpurLine that is 2.4 km long.

 

Safety & Amenties

As with any multi-use trail one must keep right and listen for cyclists that ring their bell (if they do). Motorized vehicles are not allowed. Most of the trail has lighting. Where the trail crosses a street there is usually a pedestrian island or directions for crossing at a nearby traffic light. There are a few benches but no toilets. There may be some toilets open nearby along the route. Examples: 1) Waterloo Park, 2) Waterloo Town Square, 3) Tim Horton's at 43.45226512422473, -80.51671217283773, City Café Bakery at 43.44511763536943, -80.50597644728967, Victoria Park, and so on. Waypoints for some washrooms are part of the GPS tracks you could download (see bottom of this page).

Winter Maintenance

The Iron Horse Trail is usually well maintained year round. It is ploughed, and sometimes salted, not long after a snowfall. There are times that hiking boots, or hiking boots with "Icers" (or equivalent), may be of value.

Walk (Bike) the Iron Horse Trail

If you are not familiar with the Iron Horse Trail, I encourage you to examine the Google Map (below) that shows its complete path. Be sure to use the satellite layer available in Google Maps and zoom in to examine details like street names, nearby parks, potential parking locations and so on. In the examples below, I have added a small portion at the north end that gets you from Waterloo Park (via the Laurel Trail) to the start of the Iron Horse Trail (see sign below). At the south end, where the Iron Horse Trail ends at Ottawa Street South, I have added an optional route to Rockway Gardens, Kitchener. If you prefer longer walks, this route would be 1 km + 5.5 km + 0.7 km = 7.2 km. That is, if you walk from Waterloo Park to Rockway Gardens, it is about 7 to 8 km. Note that walking around in Rockway Gardens would add to that distance. Depending on the time of year, the walk through all of Rockway Gradens is very interesting.

The sign below is at the intersection of Erb Street West and Caroline Street North, Waterloo.
The Iron Horse Trail forms its north connection to the Laurel Trail here.

Laurel Trail Sign

The sign below is at the intersection of Erb Street West and Caroline Street North, Waterloo.
The Iron Horse Trail forms its north connection to the Laurel Trail here.

Iron Horse Trail Start

 

Incorporating Parts of the Iron Horse Trail in Walks

Garmin GPSmap CSx

Check out these suggested walks.
Spur Line-Iron Horse Loop ... a 9 km urban, loop walk, Kitchener-Waterloo
Iron Horse to Transit Hub Link ... a relatively new (2020-2021) trail-in-progress
Victoria Park Transit Hub Loop ... a short walk involving geography & history
Strange Street Aboriginal Settlement, near Berlin ON - a walk through time, similar to Victoria Park Transit Hub Loop

Plan Your Own Walk Using Parts of the Iron Horse Trail

1) Waterloo Park to Victoria Park one way or both ways. Be sure to check out the trails within one or both parks.
2) Victoria Park to Rockway Gardens one way or both ways. Allow time to explore Rockway Gardens that is managed by the Kitchener Horticultural Society, with help from many community volunteers.

GPS Track of Iron Horse Trail+ in Google Maps

The Iron Horse Trail is shown as a red line. Other track colours show connections. Note a few waypoints for parking, washrooms, and spots where you may wish to pick up something to eat if you are not packing your own treats.

View Larger 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.

IronHorseTrail.gpx OR IronHorseTrail.kml