Most people who visit Ottawa do so to absorb themselves in this amazing city’s history and culture. However, there are also plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy during your visit, including hiking. Stunning and diverse landscapes surround Ottawa, and there are plenty of sights and views to enjoy. The hiking trails are one of the best ways to explore the area, and each has something different to offer. Here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Ottawa.
King’s Mountain, Gatineau Park
According to Explore Magazine, one of the best hiking trails in Ottawa is King’s Mountain, which is a trail in Gatineau Park. It is an easy to moderate hike that is just under a mile long. There are 10 lookouts along the trail, and each offers a different stunning view across the surrounding area, including the Ottawa River Valley. There are some steep sections and steps along the way.
Outaouais Trail, Gatineau Park
The Outaouais Trail in Gatineau Park is 6.8-miles long, and it has an elevation gain of 1,467 feet. It is a loop trail that takes you around the perimeter of Lac Phillippe, with pretty views across the lake. The trail is one of Ottawa’s most challenging due to both its length and its elevation gain. Therefore, it is best suited to those who are experienced hikers.
Manitou Mountain Trail, Calabogie Peaks
One of the most popular trails in the area during the summer months is the Manitou Mountain Trail in the Calabogie Peaks. During the winter months, people snowshoe around the mountain trails. It is approximately an hour outside Ottawa, but it is worth the trip to hike in this beautiful area. The trail is a 5.6-mile there-and-back trail that is lined by a pine forest and has three lookout points. If the return journey is too difficult, then it is possible to get a shuttle back to the starting point.
Luskville Falls, Gatineau Park
The Luskville Falls trail is a popular hike in Gatineau Park. Although the Luskville Falls trail is only 2.8- miles long, it is considered a challenging hike, as there are many steep sections to tackle. The main feature of the walk is the waterfall, which cascades into a winding stream. However, it is also a great place to visit for nature lovers, as there is a unique ecosystem along the trail, and you will encounter lots of wildlife during your hike.
Pinhey Forest Trails
One of the most accessible trails that is suitable for most people is the Pinhey Forest Trails, as it is easy for people of all ages. They are also accessible throughout the year. The Pinhey Forest trail is 4.6-miles long, although there are shorter people can choose to complete if they do not want to complete the full trail through the forest.
Eagle’s Nest, Calabogie Peaks
An easy out and back trail for people visiting Ottawa to enjoy is the Eagle’s Nest trail, which is at the Calabogie Peaks. Eagle’s Nest is a sacred site, and the trail is considered one of Ottawa Valley’s natural treasures. The trail is popular for both hiking and snowshoeing, depending on the time of the year. This trail’s highlight is the clifftop outlook, which offers panoramic views across the valley. It is an out-and-back trail that is just under five miles long.
Rideau Trail, Kingston-Ottawa
The Rideau Trail from Kingston to Ottawa is more than 240 miles long, so it is not a trail that you will complete in one hike. It is possible to join the trail at various points, so you can choose to complete as little or as much of the trail as you want, and you can also choose your preferred section. If you take the total length of the trail out of the equation, it is an easy trail as it is predominantly flat. One of the best sections of the trail to complete runs alongside the Rideau Canal, and this is a well-maintained trail with pleasant views.
Stony Swamp Trails
There are various trails at Stony Swamp, so you can choose which you complete or opt to hike several of the trails in one day. The trails are easy and predominantly flat, so they are suitable for all abilities. Stony Swamp is the most ecologically diverse area in the Ottawa Valley, and the area is protected. Not only is it a popular spot for hiking, but it is also popular for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Furthermore, it is an area that is visited by nature lovers and birdwatchers due to the variety of bird species and other wildlife. More than 250 species of birds live in the boggy wetlands, 17 of which are endangered species.
If you do not want to leave the city, then To Do Canada suggests the Dewberry Trail. It is a short and easy trail that is less than half a mile long, and it is close to downtown Ottawa. It is a nice place to get away from the urban vibe, enjoy a short walk, and get close to nature. You start this trail on Dolman Ridge Road, and it takes around 20 minutes to complete.
Mer Bleue Conservation Area Trail
Those who want a dog-friendly trail should consider enjoying a hike at the Mer Bleue Conservation Area. The loop trail in this conservation area is 4.3-miles long, and it is classed as a moderate trail. Although the conservation area is only a couple of miles outside the city, it boasts a northern boreal landscape that is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many rare species. The trail takes you through fields and forests, and there are a couple of small bridges to cross along the way. Some sections of the trail have wooden boards, and other areas are natural terrain.