Mountain bike trail riding near Guelph, Ontario. Image by Chris Tiessen.

The Top Mountain Bike Trails Near Guelph, Ontario

Ontario may not benefit from the mountainous terrain of other parts of North America, but what we lack in elevation we more than make up for in the sheer variety of singletrack options. 

Take Guelph for example, where within a 45-minute radius of the city you have six trail systems — all remarkably different from one another with unique terrain, topography, and features — that cater to all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned rider looking for a challenge or a beginner eager to get into the sport, the trails near Guelph provide the perfect backdrop for adventure. 

Here are the top trail systems that you should check out — all within a short distance from Flow State Bike Co. located at 599 Arkell Rd.

1. Arkell Spring Grounds

Location: 735 Arkell Rd, Puslinch, ON 

Trail Length: 15+ km

Popular Trails: Esker, Inner Sanctum, Terabithia

Opposite Starkey Hill Conservation Area, Arkell Springs offers a fantastic mix of technical singletrack that caters to the more intermediate to advanced riders. Expect rocks, roots, steep hills, and some man-made features such as jumps, drops, and wall rides. Arkell Spring Grounds is owned by the City of Guelph and managed with a co-agreement between Guelph Off Road Bicycling Association (GORBA) and the Guelph Hiking Trail Club (GHTC). A GORBA yearly membership or day pass is required to access these trails — visit the GORBA website for trail status updates and membership information.

2. Guelph Lake Conservation Area

Location: 797 Victoria Rd N, Guelph, ON

Trail Length: 25+ km

Popular Trails: Fight Club, Phoenix, Firefly

Guelph Lake Conservation Area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The trails here are designed for mountain bikers of all skill levels and provide beautiful views of the lake, making it a great spot for a scenic ride. The dedicated volunteers at the Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association (GORBA) have done a phenomenal job of building a network of well-marked and meticulously maintained trails for all to enjoy. Riders can expect a mix of flowy trails with berms, some technical sections to hone your skills, and beautiful forest scenery at every turn. 

3. Puslinch Tract Conservation Area

Location: 4343 Wellington Rd 32, Cambridge, ON 

Trail Length: 20+ km

Popular Trails: Hotwheels, Cedar Love Shack, Sick Sisters

Located just south of Guelph near Highway 401, Puslinch Tract Conservation Area is a popular destination for mountain bikers of all stripes. The trails are well-loved for their mix of flowy sections, rolling hills, and technical features. The terrain varies from dense forest to open meadows to rocky outcrops, providing a scenic and enjoyable ride for beginners to more advanced riders. Be prepared to share the trails with hikers, horseback riders, joggers, and dog walkers.

4. Hilton Falls Conservation Area

Location: 4985 Campbellville Road, Milton, ON

Trail Length: 30+ km

Popular Trails: Christmas Trail, Island Run, Down ‘n’ Dirty

Hilton Falls Conservation Area offers a massive network of rugged and expertly crafted trails amongst stunning forest scenery and beautiful waterfalls. Stewarded by the Halton Agreement Forest Trail Association (HAFTA), these trails are popular amongst advanced-level riders seeking a technical challenge. Although relatively flat, Hilton Falls offers some of the more expert-level trails in the region given the unique topography of the Niagara Escarpment, the bounty of limestone rocks, and the prominence of natural and man-made features such as log rolls, skinnies, and rock gardens.

5. Kelso Conservation Area

Location: 5234 Kelso Road, Milton, ON

Trail Length: 20+ km

Popular Trails: Snakes & Ladders, Digger Downhill, X-treem Trail

Just a short drive from Guelph, Kelso Conservation Area in Milton offers an incredible array of trails along the Niagara Escarpment. The trails here are diverse, featuring everything from smooth, rolling doubletrack to rocky, technical singletrack. The highlight is the network of trails at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, which provides stunning views and thrilling descents. Managed and maintained by Conservation Halton, a day-pass or yearly membership is required to access these trails. Kelso is the perfect destination for riders looking to hone their skills then cool down by the lake, making it an ideal spot for a family day out.

6. The Hydrocut

Location: 1522 Glasgow St, Waterloo, ON

Trail Length: 35+ km

Popular Trails: Adam’s Run, Frankenstein, Muddy Paws

Spanning over 35 kilometers of constantly evolving trails, the Hydrocut in Kitchener, Ontario, offers an incredible mix of fun, flowy, and well-maintained trails with something for everyone, from relative beginners to adrenaline-seeking experts. Boasting an array of man-made features such as bridges, skinnies, wall rides, and a jump park, it’s no wonder the Hydrocut welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors each year. These trails are well marked, unidirectional, and are free to the public. For trail updates, donations, and to watch the Hydrocut documentary — A Ribbon of Dirt — visit the Hydrocut website.

Tips for Mountain Biking Near Guelph

  • Check Trail Conditions: Before heading out, always check the current trail conditions and weather forecast. Some trails may be closed or have restrictions due to weather or maintenance.
  • Pack the Right Gear: Always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Bring plenty of water, snacks, basic tools, and extra parts (check out our suggested packing list here). Ensure your bike is in good working condition before hitting the trails.
  • Respect Other Users: Many trails are multi-use, so be courteous to hikers, runners, horseback riders, and dog walkers. Yield appropriately and follow trail etiquette.
  • Stay on Marked Trails: Protect the natural environment by staying on designated trails. This helps prevent erosion and preserves the area for future use.

Whether you're looking for leisurely fun for the entire family or an action-packed ride that challenges you, the mountain bike trails near Guelph, Ontario, offer something for everyone. So grab your bike, hit the trails, and discover the natural beauty and excitement that await just beyond the city limits.

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