It’s the summer of outside, Ottawa!
One of the best ways to have fun and stay safe this summer is to enjoy the great outdoors. Fortunately, Ottawa has a lot of offer in this way. Enjoy relaxing trail walks, beautiful gardens, fantastic cycling paths, and epic hikes in the National Capital Region this summer. I’ve put together a guide to all the best places + parking and washroom accessibility information!
For every trail and path, I’ve included information on the following:
Location | Parking | Type of Path | Length | Washrooms | Dog-Friendly
More Ottawa content:
- Epic Ottawa Adventures For Every Season
- 14 Awesome Day Trips From Ottawa (Under 2 Hours Away)
- Eagle’s Nest Lookout: The Epic Trail In Calabogie
- 10 Ottawa Date Ideas For Summer 2020
Hiking, Cycling, and Walking Trails in Ottawa
Hiking Trails Near Ottawa
Gatineau Park is always a crowd favourite when it comes to hiking. There is a good variety of trails in the park so no matter what you’re looking for – a leisurely afternoon exploring or an epic hike that tires out your legs – there’s something for you. Check out my Gatineau Park Trail Guide for complete guides to 6 fantastic hiking trails ranging from 45 minute easy loops to 3+ hour difficult hikes.
The following trails are currently accessible. Click through for more details!
- Wolf Trail | Distance: 7.9 km | Time: 3+ hours | Difficulty: Challenging | Parking Lot: 13 | Washrooms: Yes
- Luskville Falls | Distance: 4.6 km | Time: 2 hours | Difficulty: Challenging | Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes
Manitou Mountain Calabogie
For a visa that can’t be rivaled, head to Eagle’s Nest in Calabogie. The winter ski hill is hiking trails during the summer. There are lots of different routes to choose from. I like the Skywalk Trail as a longer route to Eagle’s Nest.
Eagle’s Nest Hiking Guide and Directions | Distance: Varies by Trail | Difficulty: Moderate | Parking: Calabogie Peaks Resort | Washrooms: Currently Unavailable (COVID-19)
Rock Dunder Conservation Area
It’s a bit further to drive, but well worth the views of Morton Bay. There are a few different ways to hike the 3 trails at Rock Dunder, so you can choose if you’re up for a short 1.3 km or a longer 3.9 km loop (you’ll need to do the longer one for the best views). Or you can combine the two! Rock Dunder is a conservation area so there is a day pass fee associated with hiking there.
Ottawa Bike Paths
Once you’ve chosen a path you can check out this NCC map for more detailed information on washrooms and parking.
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
Gatineau Park is closed to cars 8AM-8PM Daily Until June 28, 2020. It remains to be seen what access will be like for the remainder of the summer. The NCC has yet to release details on NOKIA Sunday Bikedays for 2020.
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
Walking Trails in Ottawa
Escape this city without ever leaving. This summer make sure you visit one of the many beautiful parks, gardens, or green spaces around Ottawa. Bring a picnic lunch and melt into the magic that is Ottawa gardens!
One of my favourite places for an afternoon stroll is in the Dominion Arboretum. The arboretum is a beautiful oasis in the middle of Ottawa, about 10 minutes from the downtown. I like to park at the top and walk a 3.3k loop around the outer edge of the park, but you can also access the Arboretum beginning from Dow’s Lake or Carleton University at the locks.
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Arboretum Office Buildings (Limited Hours) | Type: Casual Walk | Dogs Allowed: Yes | Easily Accessible by Public Transit
The Ornamental Gardens
The Ornamental Gardens by the Experimental Farm is the perfect spot for photography and flowers. Spring and summer you will find a huge variety of flowers and trees in bloom. This garden is just across the street from the Dominion Arboretum so you can also go for a walk there!
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Not on-site. Cross to the Dominion Arboretum | Type: Leisurely Gardens | Dogs Allowed: No
Pine Grove Trail
Renowned for its tall trees and beautiful light, Pine Grove Trail (NCC Trail 43) is a summer and winter favourite amongst walking trails in Ottawa. This beautiful forest is home to many tree and wildlife species. Walk the 4.4 km interpretive trail to learn more about them.
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: P18 | Type: Easy Nature Walk | Distance: 4.4 km | Dogs Allowed: No – Visit Conroy Pit nearby
There’s an impressive waterfall in the middle of our city! Start at Hog’s Back and walk down towards Vincent Massey Park or along the Rideau Canal. It’s a must-see at sunset!
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes | Type: Casual Walk | Dogs Allowed: Yes | Easily Accessible by Public Transit
Jack Pine Trail
Bring your birdseed to Jack Pine trail! This is one of my favourite places to go year-round. Get a big bag of birdseed from Bulk Barn for $1 and go out in search of chickadees. Just stand still when you see them and they will land on your hand! Include some crushed peanuts to attract nuthatches and woodpeckers.
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes | Type: Easy Nature Walk | Distance: 0.7 km / 1.7 km / 2.3 km | Dogs Allowed: No
Major’s Hill Park
Major’s Hill Park is a beautiful spot in downtown Ottawa with some of the best views of the city. This is one of my favourite places for photography because you can see Parliament, the National Art Gallery, Fairmount Chateau Laurier, and Notre Dame just by spinning around! Major’s Hill Park is a very popular picnic spot.
Google Maps | Free Parking: Weekends Only Downtown | Washrooms: No | Type: Casual Walk | Dogs Allowed: Yes | Easily Accessible by Public Transit
Mer Bleue is Ottawa’s only bog and it’s the perfect place for an easy walk in nature. Make your way around the 1.2-kilometre interpretive boardwalk and then settle down for a picnic (there are benches on-site). Keeps your eyes peeled for beavers and birds!
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes | Type: Easy Nature Walk |Distance: 1.2 km | Dogs Allowed: No | Stroller Accessible
This off-leash dog park is full of beautiful, easy-to-walk trails. Bring your fur friend or say hello to the many other dogs you will meet along the way. Particularly in the more densely wood areas, keep an ear out for tapping and you might be able to spot a woodpecker.
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: Yes | Type: Easy Nature Walk | Dogs Allowed: Yes – Off-Leash
Andrew Haydon Park
Andrew Hayden Park is a small and walkable loop located along the water. It’s a great spot for a picnic, and favourite hang out for Canada geese. You can also venture out along the Ottawa River path towards Britannia Beach. Stop at Beachcorner’s for ice cream!
Google Maps | Free Parking: Yes | Washrooms: 7 am to 6 pm | Type: Easy Nature Walk | Dogs Allowed: Yes – Off-Leash