Ready for a thrill? The Ottawa valley offers all kinds of epic adventures, all year round. One of the best things about Ottawa is our passion for the great outdoors and adventure. It turns out, the Ottawa valley is home to some of Ontario’s, and even Canada’s best when it comes to adventures. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, a challenge, or some extremely cool yoga, there is something for you.
I recently had the chance to try out many of these activities myself while filming for a production. I’ve included all of my favourites, and a few that I haven’t braved yet myself!
- Ottawa Adventures
- Spring, Summer, and Fall
I love the new skating trail trend in and around Ottawa! Strap on your skates and venture out in to the forest for a winter experience like no other. There are several trails in and near Ottawa including Patinage en Forêt (Wakefield), River Oak (Metcalfe), Perth Outfitters (Perth), and Countryside Adventures (Moose Creek). All locations also have snowshoe trails available, and many offer night-time skates.
Read Also: Wonderful Things to do in Ottawa in Winter
Alpine and Cross-Country Skiing
There’s a lot of great skiing in the Ottawa region, whether you’re looking for the alpine or cross-country experience. Hit the hills at Camp Fortune in Gatineau, Ski Vorlage in Wakefield, or Edelweiss if you want to ski at night! Cross-country fans will love Gatineau Park, Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail, Shoreline Trail, Jack Pine, and Mer Bleue. If you can go for a nice walk in the summer, odds are you can ski it in the winter!
I went dogsledding this winter and it was so much fun! Go on a sprint, a half-fay adventure, or full day excursion at Escapade Eskimo, located past Gatineau Park on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Or book an excursion with Chiens Traineaux at Montebello! Show up on site for a 3.7km 15 minute run or book ahead for a longer adventure.
Ontario’s only official Ninja Warrior course is at Altitude Gym, in Kanata. This is the perfect challenge for any season. Don’t let the photo fool you – this obstacle course is hard and will activate muscles you didn’t know you had. The obstacles look pretty innocent from afar but believe me, once you get going it’s tougher than you think. Compete against your friends to see who can do it the fastest!
Get to jumping at one of Ottawa’s indoor trampoline parks. Xtreme Trampoline offers an intense 1 hour fitness class for teens and adults. Combine your favourite sports with the challenge of a trampoline with Sky Jousting, Hoops, and Dodgeball at SkyZone.
Stretch out your muscles and settle deeper in to postures with wall yoga at Hamsa Yoga in Carleton Place. The wall allows you to achieve new postures, inversions, and stretches not always accessible in a standard yoga class. I loved this practice! I left feeling taller and refreshed.
Release your inner warrior with an archery session. Xquest offers introductory lessons, and sessions for more intermediate or advanced archers. Or, round up your crew for an Archery Tag experience at Archery Games. Hit one another with non-lethal arrows in a game that is the arrow wielding equivalent of dodgeball.
There’s year round fun at Marked Paintball, just outside of Ottawa. I was surprised too, but it turns out you can play paintball (outside) any season. Gear up and enter the fields, and be ready to run, duck, dodge, and splatter your friends with paint.
Bouldering and rock climbing are fantastic sports year round that are great for any level. There are a few great sports in Ottawa. Check out one of the Altitude Gym locations in Gatineau (also has the Clip’n’Climb) or Kanata (also has the Ninja Warrior course), or Coyote Rock Gym near St Laurent Shopping Centre which has both bouldering and rock climbing.
Seasoned, outdoor rock climbers can brave the Luskville, QC Eardley Escarpment.
Experience the great outdoors on horseback in spring, summer, fall, or winter. I went horseback riding at Captiva Farms, located in Wakefield. They have beautiful, well-cared for horses and 450 acres of land to explore. Take an introductory session if it’s your first visit, then go on a trail ride with your guide.
This one might be a little less athletic than the others, but it’s exhilarating all the same. Get locked up and race to escape before the clock runs out by solving puzzles, uncovering secret rooms, and decoding messages. My favourite escape rooms are at Escape Manor, which has multiple locations in Ottawa and also hosts escape rooms in some Ottawa museums.
Spring, Summer, and Fall
White Water Rafting
Get absolutely soaked (and have a blast) braving the rapids of the Ottawa River. The white water rafting on the Ottawa River is considered to have some of the best in Canada. I’ve been twice, both times with OWL Rafting. It was a great experience that included lots of rapids, swimming, cliff jumping, and a great meal at the end!
Zipline and Aerial Course
Make your way through the tree tops at Camp Fortune. Whiz along the ziplines and take on aerial obstacles including Tarzan ropes, rock wall segments, and rope bridges. I visited in early September and can’t wait to go back during fall colours.
Get under ground and explore the cave systems in the Ottawa valley and across the river in Gatineau. Go on an exploration tour of Bonnechere Caves, take a self-guided plunge in to Lusk Cave, or sleep over at Arbraska Laflèche. Cave access can depend on water levels, but are typically most accessible summer and fall. Arbraska Laflèche offers a winter cave tour.
Race Car Driving
Get up to speed at Calabogie Motorsports Park. Driving a race car on Calabogie’s technical track is an exhilarating experience. Learn the theory of race car driving and enjoy a few spins around the track. There are several different Rent a Race Car options. Whether you want to be the passenger or the driver is up to you!
Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga
This one combines all of your favourite things in an activity that is surprisingly challenging. Stay afloat while moving through a yoga practice on the Ottawa River. Believe me, it’s tougher than it looks! Stand Up Paddleboard yoga in Ottawa is available with Urban Ocean. I took a class with them a couple years ago, it’s really fun!
“The Rock” at Great Canadian Bungee is North America’s only 200-foot drop. Jump from the ledge, and maybe get dipped in the quarry below before bouncing back up. Want an added thrill? Go for the RIPRIDE – a 1015 ft cable slide. Glide over a crystal water lagoon flying-squirrel style in the spring, summer, or above colourful trees in the fall.
Cycling and Hiking
The go-to place for Ottawa adventures is just across the river, in the beautiful Gatineau Park. Ride your bike all the way around the park loop for a top-notch workout, stopping at the Pink Lake lookout to take in a great view. Gear up for a hike in the Gatineau Park using my trail guide. There are trails for every level. The best time for cycling and hiking in Ottawa is May – October.
Haven’t done it, probably won’t do it… but hey, you have fun! Parachute GO Skydive is only 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa. Tandem jump and free fall for up to a minute, until the parachute is deployed. My friends who have done this say the view of Ottawa as you descend is unparalleled. This activity is available spring, summer, and in to early fall.
There’s another option for a bird’s eye view of Ottawa: Ottawa Biplane Adventures. Book your first flight for as low as $65 per person and enjoy a spectacular view of the Ottawa Valley in bloom, the heat of summer, or when the fall colours come in.