The route (as depicted on this web page) starts and ends on Apple Grove Road. Apple Grove Road is very close to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market near the intersection of Weber Street North and Farmers Market Road. In this area there are numerous parking lots and I often park near the Country Bulk Inc. store (43.508544, -80.557800) for this loop walk. If you want to do this walk and visit the market as well, plan to do so on a Thursday morning or Saturday morning. As designed and outlined here, the loop walk proceeds counter clockwise (that is, westward and then eastward).
Part of the hike passes through a sugarbush (tubing for sap collection) on the Avon Trail. At the request of the landowner all hikers are required to follow a slightly different route during the months of February, March and April when the landowner may be collecting sap and performing maintenance. The data provided below shows two routes. I encourage you to have your walk during the months of May 1st to January 31st since that allows you to walk in the sugarbush.
The May 1st-to-January 31st Route
The first 4.5 km of this loop walk is on the Avon Trail and is marked with the traditional white blazes that indicate the direction of the path. Such blazes are on various objects such as posts and trees. The Avon Trail is a not-for-profit organization operated by a board and volunteer members. We support the Avon Trail as members and try to do various volunteer tasks along the Avon Trail footpath. This particular walk starts in Woolwich Township. It passes west along the gravel edge of Apple Grove Road. Although Apple Grove Road is not a busy road be sure to walk on the left shoulder facing oncoming traffic. As you walk along Apple Grove Road, toward the T-interesction, the first white blaze you see may be on a 4x4 post that supports the "Maximum 80 Begins" traffic sign on the right side of the road (check this Google Maps Street View link). Not too far ahead you may be able to see another single, white blaze on a utility pole on the left side of the road. Reaching the T-intersection the trail turns left along a private, gravel lane and approcahes a farm (Apple Grove Road turns right). At this T-intersection you should be able to locate a left turn blaze on at least one post. Both the Avon Trail and the Grand Valley Trails Association use the same trail blaze system as the Bruce Trail Conservancy. If you are not familiar with that trail blaze system, read the "Using the Trail" web page provided by the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Parts of the trail are on private lands due to the generosity and permission of the land owner(s) so it is important to remain on the blazed footpath. Also, since some of it is farmland, dogs are not allowed. As you approach the farm the lane bends right passing among the farm buildings and shortly after bends left (blazes may be sparse) passing down the lane about 600 m and crosses over Martin Creek. Enjoy the barnyard odours (the scent is sometimes affectionately referred to as "corral number 5"). The trail turns right, leaves the lane and follows the edge of fields and fences with Martin Creek visible on the right. This segment may be uneven (due to ploughing) and potentially muddy. At about 43.500080, -80.574500 the trail crosses a stream/ditch on a footbridge constructed and paid for by Avon Trail volunteers. Once over the bridge the trail swings right and proceeds to Martin Creek Road. Here the trail follows Martin Creek Road south to Benjamin Road and crosses it. Cross carefully as the road has lots of traffic. Once on the south side of Benjamin Road the trail follows the gravel shoulder (hikers face on-coming traffic) to the right (west) for about 500 m. If it is May to January, inclusive, at about 43.496112, -80.589023 the trail swings left (south), off the shoulder of Benjamin Road, and enters a private woodlot. Please follow the blazes through the woodlot and be careful to remain well away from the sap collection lines. About 420 m into the sugarbush the trail passes from Woolwich Township into the City of Waterloo. The trail continues for about another 200 m in the sugarbush.
If you are using the GPS track provided below, this loop walk leaves the Avon Trail so you no longer follow blazes - follow the GPS track. Leaving the woodlot (temporarily) you enter a City of Waterloo Stormwater Management Area (43.492096, -80.589199). For a short distance you follow a paved path (service road) between two ponds heading in a southeasterly direction veering left (east) towards houses. At approximately 43.491652, -80.587965 you re-enter the sugarbush (Stamm Woodlot). Keeping in mind there are no blazes, the trail heads through the woodlot in a northeasterly direction for about 900 m. As a guide, you should see housing on the right most of the time and exit the woodlot at Sandbanks Crescent (43.495563, -80.579873). Use the map and/or GPS track to proceed to the Trans Canada Trail and follow it through Benjamin Park back to Apple Grove Road via Weber Street North. The City of Waterloo has its trails well marked with blue coloured signs. [Benjamin Park starts at about 43.497905, -80.568272 and ends at about 43.503957, -80.555097.]
Required Seasonal Routes
May 1st to January 31st, Inclusive (9 months)
This route is described above. At position A on Benjamin Road (A is on the image below or 43.496120, -80.588980) there are two different pathways. It is important to follow the correct route depending on the time of year. Remember, the trail exists here due to the generosity of the landowner. At about position A or 43.496120, -80.588980 on Benjamin Road, the trail turns left (south) and enters the hardwood bush to the left (east) of the fencerow. Follow the blazes through the woodlot (as described above) and if you do encounter any sap collection tubing be careful not to damge it.
February 01 to April 30th, Inclusive (3 months)
During these three months, which can be active maple sap collection times, we are required to walk past position A (image below) on Benjamin Road and avoid entering the woodlot. In this scenario the trail leaves Benjamin Road and follows a narrow path with the fence on the left and the crop field on the right (blue line on image below). Arriving at approximately position B the trail swings eastward (leaves the Avon Trail) and enters the Stormwater Management Area.
Image of Required Seasonal Routes
Google Map of GPS Track
The Google Map below shows the GPS track I recorded for this walk. You may download this track in one of two file formats below for free. If you have a dedicated Garmin GPS receiver you may wish to load the GPX file into the unit. If you have smart phone with GPS capabilities you may want the KML file.