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 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.
Maps, Rules & Safety
Before visiting this whole area for hiking, snowshoeing and X-country skiing, it is important that you know the rules and abide by them. The map of the trails is currently a free download as a PDF. Note that the map was configured for 36" x 36".
The Main (Outside) Loop in Petersburg Regional Forest
Here are hiking and snowshoeing suggestions.
1) snowshoe the Snake Trail (parking lot to Mountain Goat Loop) + the Mountain Goat Loop (old orange blazes on trees) + the Snake Trail (back to parking lot) = about 4 km, or
2) as per number 1 above but ange 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 - approx. 4 km loop
Option Two - approx. 5 km loop
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.