I have been an avid cyclist for many years. I even used to compete for the Canada Junior National Team! Ottawa is a great city for cycling because of the bike trails and access to the Gatineau Park. I bike 2-3 days a week in the summer and have explored a lot of the city that way.
Here are some great routes and destinations that you can bike to in Ottawa!
Biking in Ottawa
Bike Ride Destinations
The Rockcliffe Lookout will give you a scenic view of the Ottawa River. It’s a popular stop for cyclists and an incredible place to be for sunrise or sunset! Rockcliffe Lookout Location
Route from Parliament: use the bike lanes on Sussex and East head towards Rideau Falls (a great stop along the way). Near the Governor Generals take the round about and hop on to the Ottawa River Pathway. It runs along Sir George-Etienne Cartier Parkway and will take you straight to the lookout!
Distance: 4.4km (8.8 round trip) | Estimated time: 18 minutes (36 minutes round trip)
Route from NCC Parking lot: Begin at NCC Parking lot 7 (or 27 for a slightly longer ride). Take the Ottawa River Pathway going west towards downtown. When you reach a fork you can either stay of the Ottawa River Pathway or take the Aviation Pathway. Both will take you to Rockcliffe lookout as they reconnect later on.
Distance: 6.7km (13.4km round trip) | Estimated time: 20 minutes (40 minutes round trip)
The Dominion Arboretum
Pack a picnic and bike to the Dominion Arboretum. It is lovely to ride through and the pathways leading out of the arboretum will take you along the Rideau Canal.
Route from the Corktown Footbridge (Downtown): follow the Rideau Canal Western Pathway down the canal and around Dows Lake to reach the Dominion Arboretum. Once you’ve enjoyed the arboretum you can either go back the way you came or cross the 9-10 Hartwell Locks and follow the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway back along the opposite side of the canal.
Distance: 6.1 km (12.2km round trip) | 18 minutes ( 36 round trip)
Start downtown or begin at Hogs Back and ride the beautiful Rideau River Eastern Pathway through the city to Stanley Park and Rideau Falls, or reverse directions and begin downtown. Ride along the river the entire way, with beautiful spots to stop along the way.
Ride the Rideau River Eastern Pathway to or from Hogs Back on a beautiful path through the trees. You can do this route one way or the other, beginning from downtown or using Hogs Back or Vincent Massey (lots of parking, fees apply) as you starting point.
Distance: 11.4km (22.8km round trip) | 38 minutes (1:16 round trip)
Discover an Ottawa spot like no other at Remic Rapids! This artist has been creating rock sculptures on the Ottawa River since 1986. Pack your own picnic or enjoy the NCC Bistro patio nearby. Take some time to explore the sculptures and venture out on the rocks.
Route from Parliament (Downtown): Take the Ottawa River pathway going West. Enjoy stops along the way like Taking Care of Ones Self, a series of Indigenous art located in the Pedestrian tunnel underneath Wellington, and Chaudière Falls near the War Museum.
Distance: 4.8km (9.6km round trip) | 16 minutes ( 32 round trip)
Extend your ride past Remic Rapids and make your way to Britannia Beach. This is a great place to stop on your bike because there is excellent ice cream to be found at Beach Corner’s Microbrewery!
Route from Parliament (Downtown): Take the Ottawa River pathway going West. Continue past Remic Rapids until you reach the beach. Alternatively, you can park at Remic Rapids or Britannia Beach and ride from one to the other. I have added Britannia to the same map as Remic Rapids
Distance from downtown: 12.1km (24.km round trip) | 38 minutes ( 1:16 minutes round trip)
Ottawa & Gatineau Bike Paths
We have amazing multi-use paths in Ottawa that are perfect for biking! This NCC map has even more detailed information on washrooms and parking so that you can get out and explore.
The Ottawa River Pathway
The Ottawa River Pathway is a multi-use pathway that runs the length of the Ottawa river. It starts in Rockcliffe and extends all the way downtown, past Parliament and the Canadian War Museum, and out past Lincoln fields. There is one stretch between Rideau Falls and the National Art Gallery where the parkway is disconnected.
Google Map | Length: 48.1 km | Multi-Use | Paved | Parking: Multiple Entry Points | Washrooms: Rockcliffe Park / Remic Rapids / Westboro Beach / Additional Private Facilities
The Rideau Canal
Summer is the perfect time to ride along the Rideau Canal. There are beautiful bike paths lining both sides of the canal (Western and Eastern). There are lots of great places to stop along the way and take in the scenery. Ride all the way from one end to the other, or use the new Flora Footbridge to cross over to the other side.
Google Map | Length: Western: 8.8 Eastern: 9.1 | Multi-Use | Paved | Parking: Multiple Entry Points | Washrooms: Dows Lake / Strathcona / Additional Private Facilities
The Experimental Farm Pathway
Make your way from the Experimental Farm towards Nepean by cycling through Ottawa’s agricultural land. The beautiful path includes open and wooded areas. The Pinecrest Creek Pathways connects it to the Ottawa River Pathway.
Google Map | Length: 11.6 km | Multi-Use | Paved | Parking: Multiple Entry Points | Washrooms: No
The Voyageurs Pathway
Make your way to the Quebec-side of the Ottawa river for a scenic ride along the Voyageurs Pathway. You’ll ride past the Canadian Museum of History, several beautiful beaches, and through some lovely wooded areas.
Google Map | Length: 29.5 km | Multi-Use | Paved | Parking: Multiple Entry Points | Washrooms: Jacques-Cartier / Canadian Museum of History / Mousette
The Greenbelt Pathways
There are two beautiful Greenbelt Pathways (West and East) on the outer edge of Ottawa. The Greenbelt Pathway West is mostly flat and passes through farms and forests, while the Greenbelt Pathway East is fairly hilly terrain. These paths are not connected – both are a stone/dust surface better for thicker tires.
NCC map | Length: West 21.2 km East 12.5 km| Multi-Use | Unpaved | Parking: Multiple Entry Points | Washrooms: West: Bruin /East: Davidson Road
Get ready for some hills! Gatineau Park is where your fitness is really put to the test. There are two options here: stick to the multi-use Gatineau Park Pathway (12.5 km) or take the road – Gatineau Parkway – and keep going father up into the park. The Gatineau Park Loop is 41.03 km of climbing and descending.
Google Map | Length: Parkway: 12.5 km / Parkway 41.03 | Partway: Multi-Use / Parkway: Road | Parking: P3 | Washrooms: Yes
Leamy Lake Pathway
Relax your legs on the Leamy Lake Pathway. This beautiful trail winds around the lake and into wooded areas. This short ride is ideal for new cyclists. When you’re done riding, relax at the beach and enjoy a picnic!
Google Map | Length: 3.8 km | Multi-Use | Paved | Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes
Ottawa Cycling Tips
Here are a few good things to remember for your day on the bike!
- Always wear sunscreen and do your back too! Most shirts do not protect against UV light and if you spend a day on the bike you can still get a burn.
- Bring lots of water. Depending on your intensity level you need to drink 250-500mL of water per hour that you are biking.
- Pack a picnic! Bring snacks or your lunch to one of these great spots.
- Share the path. These are all multi-use paths so there will be other cyclists and pedestrians. Remember to ring your bell or call out ‘on your left’ before passing. Ride in a straight line as much as possible, and shoulder check before moving over.