Follow COVID-19 guidelines of no carpooling with others to get to trailhead and keep your distance when passing other hikers
9.2 Km out and back - shorter if you wish. Difficulty: Level 2
Contact Ron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trailhead on Google Maps Printable Trail Map
GPS Track - click to download and open in the GPS tracker on your phone.
An easy to moderate 9.2 Km or an easier 6.5 Km if you turn back at Martin Creek.
The hike starts from the free parking lot behind and east of the St. Jacob's firehall, at 3 Water St. From the parking lot, head SE on the Health Valley Trail. You'll walk under the highway 85 bridge, where the HVT is joined by the Avon Trail.
The Health Valley and Avon Trails follow the Conestogo River until about 3.6 Km. At about 4.6 Km you'll reach University Avenue in Waterloo where you'll turn back to follow the same trail back to St. Jacob's. Or choose the shorter 6.5 Km round trip by turning back at the bridge over Martin Creek.
The trail is well marked with "HVT" signs as well as the white blazes of the Avon Trail. There are some intersecting trails which come back to the HVT/Avon Trail.
The trail is mainly flat, but you are likely to see some interesting wildlife. On several hikes there this winter I first heard and then saw Kingfishers on the opposite side of the river.
The bridge at Martin Creek is closed for repair, but on my latest hike there, February 20th, the narrow, shallow creek was frozen and easily crossed without using the bridge. However, at times Martin Creek does flood in winter and then it would probably be necessary to turn back there.
If you do cross Martin Creek, watch for the Wise Old Oak, see picture below. Also look for the Screech Owl which I found on a marked side trail near the start, at St. Jacob's. Contact me if you want to know where to see it.