The Kitchener-Waterloo region is dotted with beautiful and down-to-earth nature areas, parks, conservation areas, trails, and more. These cities are home to several places of nature where there is something for everyone – photographers, wildlife watchers, and others who simply want to get in touch with nature. Here, you’ll find streams, meadows, forests, and wetlands, in an amazing place full of natural and cultural history.
Laurel Creek Conservation Area
Laurel Creek is highly accessible from Kitchener, Waterloo, and Mennonite Country, a place where visitors can explore and indulge in recreational activity. There are opportunities to go hiking, swimming, windsurfing, and enjoy the sandy beach.
Address: 625 Westmount Rd N, Waterloo
Huron Natural Area
The Huron Natural Area is Kitchener’s most prized gem. This nature area brings authentic nature into the city, with significant species in many habitats, a natural playscape for children, the Strasburg Creek, and plenty of scenic hiking trails, lookout spots, and boardwalks.
Address: 901 Trillium Dr, Kitchener
Homer Watson Park
Homer Watson Park is a peaceful park, popular among creatives for its forest and river scenery. Its classic beauty is enough to entice visitors year-round, but its 5.1-kilometre loop trail is another big draw for hiking and walking.
Address: 1094 Wilson Ave, Kitchener
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Discover thousands of butterflies and examine a wide selection of various insects and exotic bugs at this conservatory.
Address: 2500 Kossuth Rd, Cambridge
Snyder’s Flats Conservation Area
This outdoor recreation area is 100-hectares of ponds, grasslands, forests, and other natural features sat on Snyder’s Flats Road. Many fish species come from the ponds and the nearby Grand River, and the forest was planted as an act of restoration.
Address: 1260 Snyder’s Flats Rd, Bloomingdale
McLennan Park is a city park with a skatepark, volleyball and basketball courts, pedestrian trails, and a spacious lawn area. This classic park is a great place to get away for a few hours and take a break from city life.
Address: 901 Ottawa St S, Kitchener
Known as the “crown jewel” of Kitchener, Victoria Park is a timeless green park for enjoying the outdoors with family and friends, strolling around the lake, relaxing under the shade, and has plenty of amenities preserved from its opening in 1896.
Address: 32 Dill St, Kitchener
Dumfries Conservation Area
This 75-hectare conservation area has mature and plantation forests, trails, and wetlands, a place right in the heart of Cambridge for nature appreciation and exploration. It is also the host of the Dumfries Kite Festival in June.
Address: Dunbar Rd, Cambridge
Waterloo Park is a family-friendly nature spot with an animal farm, picnic areas, a splashpad, playgrounds, and more. If you’re looking for an outdoor outing with the family, this is the place to go.
Address: 50 Young St W, Waterloo
Stanley Park-Conservation Area
The Stanley Park Conservation Area is abundant with plant and animal life that thrive in the grasslands and other habitats in the area. It is best known for its trail that runs through old fields and woodlands that house gentle creatures year-round.
Address: 174 Ross Ave, Kitchener
Steckle Woods is your hiking paradise. Stroll through this historic forest with a maple-beech forest that has existed since before European settlement, and enjoy the blooming Trilliums in May and the maples in the fall.
Address: 215 Southwood Dr, Kitchener
The Trillium Trail is part of the Trillium Trail Network, and is a 10.3-kilometre trail that features wildflowers, activity options, and is a place where you can walk your dog leashed.
Lakeside Park is a 15-acre natural urban oasis quietly hidden in the city. With forest, meadow, wetlands, and many more habitats, there are also amenities like a skating rink, a paved pathway, a playground, and the large Shoemaker Pond.
Address: 206 Lakeside Dr, Kitchener
F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness Area
The F.W.R. Dickson Wilderness Area is a stunning natural place with tall-grass prairie, forests, willow-dogwood thickets, and more. It is best known as a habitat for several birds and for its 4.8-kilometre figure-8 trail with tons of variety and a boardwalk.
Address: 699 N Dumfries Tw Rd 5, Ayr
West Side Trails
This trail network is perfect for a casual hike, nature appreciation, and bird watching in a forested woodland with rare plants and lots of wildlife. It is a shady place with educational signage in a sensitive wildlife habitat.
Address: 594 Sundew Dr, Waterloo
This beautiful city park is great for fishing and boating, and walking along the Grand River Trail. Kolb Park is also home to lots of wildlife, including birds, fish, and turtles, and is a place for a quick nature getaway.
Address: 230 Centennial Ct, Kitchener
Puslinch Tract Conservation Area
Located near Cambridge, the Puslinch Tract Conservation Area has 18 kilometres of off-road mountain biking trails as well as several walking trails. It is popular with horseback riders, hikers, and bikers.
Address: 4343 Wellington Rd 32, Cambridge
This little crescent park is located by the water and has plenty of natural beauty. It’s a great spot to start a canoe or kayaking journey on the Grand River and has lots of places to drop in a line to fish.
Address: 3595 King St E, Kitchener
Cambridge Sculpture Garden
Combining “man-made” with the beauty of Grand River surroundings, Cambridge Sculpture Garden is a great place to walk, have a picnic and discover new art pieces.
Address: Grand Avenue South between Main and Concession, Galt City Centre, Cambridge
Bannister Lake Conservation Area
The Bannister Lake Conservation Area is located within the Carolinian Forest Zone, which contains tamarack swamp, tallgrass prairie, wetlands, and deciduous forest. It is also home to two small lakes which act as a home for migratory, marsh, and waterfowl birds.
Address: 1032 Wrigley Rd, Ayr
Waterloo Geo Time Trail
The Geo Time Trail tracks the city’s geological past through interpretive signs. This 4.5-kilometre trail boasts a million years of geological history and offers activity options and is dotted with wildflowers.
Address: 594 Sundew Dr, Waterloo
Shade’s Mills Conservation Area
This day-use park is just minutes away from the city and has a plethora of activity opportunities. Hikers and cyclists enjoy 12 kilometres of trails, and anglers and kayakers can explore the 32-hectare reservoir.
Address: 450 Avenue Rd, Cambridge
Mill Run Trail
The Mill Run Trail is a 16.4-kilometre loop trail near Cambridge that sits on the railbed of the Galt, Preston, and Hespeler Street Electric Railway. Visitors can explore the trail with the guide that provides details about its history and its natural features.
Address: 200 Sheffield St, Cambridge
The Rail Trail
Hike or bike from along the Grand River from Cambridge to Paris. The 18-kilometre trail follows the Grand River through lush Carolinian forest with spectacular river overlooks.
Address: 210 Water Street South (Highway 24)
Westheights Park is a timeless city park with a pond, forest area, playground, and a baseball diamond. Although the park is small, it provides a quaint space with well-maintained trails right by the suburbs.
Address: 401 Westheights Dr, Kitchener