I have enjoyed this Regional Forest for several years. I tend to use it in the winter mostly for short (5 km) and frequent (when snowfall allows) snowshoe outings because it isn't far to drive and has a few slopes that provide a bit more exercise than other snowshoe locations like the Huron Natural Area.
In recent years the trails at Petersburg Regional Forest have been improved by a collective effort between the Waterloo Cycling Club and the Waterloo Region. Quote from The Hydrocut Trails: "The Hydrocut Mountain Bike Trails are formalized in a legal Stewardship Agreement between a volunteer organization and the landowner; the Waterloo Cycling Club and the Region of Waterloo. The trails are managed by the Waterloo Cycling Club’s Trails Committee."
Numerous trails have been established by many volunteers. Readers of this web page are encourged to examine these websites: 1) Igor's Blog About the Hydrocut and 2) the Waterloo Cycling Club. You will find great information including useful maps that may be purcahsed and information about parking locations.
It is volunteer projects like this one where you may wish to make a financial donation. Check the Friends Of The Hydrocut web page for how you can donate. The online donation process used is PayPal and can be found in the bottom right corner of that web page.
- TRAIL MAPS - Currently (2017) there are 26 connected trails & they combine for over 25 km of one-way singletrack. Each trail has its own character, difficulty and unique set of features. Visit King Street Cycles or McPhail’s Cycle and Sports in Waterloo to buy a printed version for $10 and support the trails (more locations coming soon!)
- TRAIL RULES (hikers note please) - "The Hydrocut is a busy urban trail system. To move the traffic as smoothly as possible, ALL trails have been designated ONE WAY ONLY. Hikers and runners are encouraged to travel the opposite way for easier spotting of approaching cyclists."
The Main (Outside) Loop in Petersburg Regional Forest
Here are two options:
1) snowshoe the orange blazed (marked) loop (about 4 km), or
2) snowshoe most of the orange trail combined with part of the Creepy Corner Trail and the Kamikaze Trail (about 5 km).
I find the second choice very good on a cold but sunny winter day, Monday to Friday. We stop on our return on the west side and enjoy some hot tea and a biscuit in the sun.
Note that on the maps (below) there are several waypoints. These are the approximate locations of the bike/hike "side" trail signs you will see as you pass along the outer orange ring trail. The outer loop trail is a multi-use trail (bikers, hikers, runners and horseback riders ... no motorized vehicles).
Option One - 4 km loop
Option Two - 5 km loop