Update as of February 16 to March 1, 2021

The trail system remains open and users are advised to observe distancing guidelines and wear a mask if you cannot maintain safe distances. The trails, especially Howard Watson, are experiencing a high number of daily users. Peak hours are 10am-4pm. Avoid crowds by going in off-peak hours.

Also, keep your pet on a leash. There is a $300 fine for unleashed pets and if your pet injures another trail user, you could be subject to legal action and liable for larger financial costs. And leave NOTHING BEHIND on the trail, including trash and dog waste.


  • There is limited parking at the trail gateways at Modeland Rd., Suncor Nature Way on Modeland Rd., Michigan Ave (across from Goodwill), and Cathcart Park. The Howard Watson Trail can also be accessed from the Lambton College parking lot, which connects directly with the new College Extension of the trail. The trail can also be accessed at the Swiss Chalet/Starbucks parking lot on London Road. The plaza there has ample parking and the trail runs directly adjacent to the lot on the eat side.

Winter on the Trail

Please be aware that some sections of the trail may be slippery. Much of the trail is snow-covered. Some sections are paved, others have a gravel surface, and still others have a dirt base. We do our best to keep the trail surfaces safe, but remember that this IS a nature trail, and we try to keep it as natural as possible.

Recent Trail Improvements

  • pedestrian crossings with LED flashing lights at Front Street, Michigan Ave and Wellington St, complete with road markings and warning signs
  • full stoplights and marked crossing at Exmouth Street trail crossing
  • enhanced road marking on crossings at Telfer and Blackwell Roads
  • resurfacing of trail from Michigan Ave. north to Bright’s Grove
  • year-round washroom facility at Cathcart Park and Suncor Nature Way. Seasonal at Sam McRea Firehall on Telfer Road
  • improved access from trail to Cathcart Park
  • improved access from Tawny Road access path to trail
  • gateways at Michigan Ave and Modeland Road equipped with shelters, parking spaces, benches and waste receptacles
  • extensive tree plantings
  • installation of trail markers at strategic locations

The Bluewater Trails Committee for the term 2021-2023 has been selected by City Council and the members’ names and contact information are available here at https://www.bluewatertrails.com/committee-members/

The Howard Watson Trail, part of the Bluewater Trails network of trails,  runs 16 km. from Sarnia to Camlachie (at Mandaumin). No motorized vehicles are allowed.

Until 1967, the Howard Watson trail was a rail line owned by CN Rail.  From 1967 to 1982 it lay unused until a forward thinking Councillor by the name of Howard Watson approached Lambton Wildlife Inc (LWI) querying whether there would be interest in the land as a potential hiking trail. After extraordinary effort by many individuals, we now enjoy the current day natural trail known as The Howard Watson Trail.

The Bluewater Trails Committee, the caretakers of the trail, was formed in 1999. Its job is to oversee trails throughout Sarnia including The Howard Watson Trail. The committee is run by volunteers and chaired currently by Mike Kelch, with Vice Chair Ati Powell, and with one city council representative and two city staff.

Mission Statement: Bluewater Trails, a committee of Sarnia (City) Council, is an organization dedicated to the development of a first class trail system which will promote the health and safety of residents and visitors alike.