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Adventure with a View: The Best Hiking Trails in Ottawa

Adventure with a View The Best Hiking Trails in Ottawa_1

Tired of seeing skyscrapers and hearing the constant honks of vehicles in the city? Well, you might want to go on a hike and lose yourself in nature! 

Luckily, Ottawa has several green spaces with hiking trails; if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even go outside the city and check out the trails in neighboring areas. These out-of-the-city trails offer even more gorgeous, untouched views of nature!

Don’t know which trails to start with? Here are a few recommendations on the best hiking trails in and near Ottawa.

Jack Pine Trail 

From: juhnocanada

Location: Moodie Dr, Nepean, ON K2R 1H4, Canada

Length: 4.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

Jack Pine Trail is one of Ottawa’s most popular hiking trails because it can be found within the Capital Greenbelt. To be more specific, this trail is in the Greenbelt’s largest wooded area, so if you’re in a forest mood, this route is for you. 

Trees aren’t the only things you’ll spot here; there will also be the occasional squirrels darting now and then and lots of birds flying by. Because of this, you might want to bring binoculars to spot these skittish animals. 

This trail is considered pretty easy, making it perfect for beginners. If you do think that 4.7 km is too long, you don’t have to complete the whole thing; in fact, the trail is divided into three segments, so you can just whichever segment you want. 

Pro Tips:This trail isn’t dog-friendly, so be sure to leave your furry friends at home when hiking here. If you get caught bringing your dog, you might have to pay a hefty fine.There’s a picnic area in P9. You can take a break here and enjoy the scenery while munching on a few snacks. 

Lime Kiln Blue Loop 

From: pipertomkins

Location: Moodie Dr, Nepean, ON K2R 1H3, Canada

Length: 8.7 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Lime Kiln Trail is another one that you can find within the Capital Greenbelt, and it has a lot of amazing things to see!

Firstly, you’ll have to trek through a forest, and then you’ll find yourself in the presence of the lime kiln ruins (hence the trail’s name). No one knows for sure when this structure was built, but you can guess that it’s pretty old; still, it’s an interesting sight.

Beyond the ruins, you can see an area with trees that had been burned; a display will inform you this was caused by a swamp fire in 2012. After that, you’ll find yourself back in the forest with the occasional wildlife passing by. 

Pro Tip: If the total length is too long for you (or if you’re hiking with little children), you can just hike up to the ruins and then go back to where you started. That’s a total of 1.4 km, which is a pretty decent distance. 

Shirley’s Bay Loop 

From: ethicalthinker

Location: Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON K2H 8B2, Canada

Length: 4.2 km

Difficulty: Easy

Shirley’s Bay is a conservation area on the Ottawa River, and it also has a great hiking trail. The trail loop includes a shoreline trail, which borders the river and boasts breathtaking views of the Gatineau Hills; it’s also perfect for observing shorebirds.

The trail will also take you to the natural wetlands and the inland wetlands, which are home to several wildlife species. At some point in your hike, you might even spot enthusiastic beavers working and creating new wetlands! 

If you continue further, you can find yourself in BeetBox Farm and Pinewood Orchards. These two offer fresh vegetables and apples, making them perfect stops if you want to rest and snack for a little while. 

Pro Tip: If you want to go on a picnic, there’s a picnic area at the parking lot P1. 

Stony Creek South Loop 

From: joanbusby17

Location: Stony Swamp Conservation Area, Ottawa, ON K2H 6H1, Canada

Length: 3.9 km

Difficulty: Easy

The Stony Creek South Loop is a trail found within the Stony Swamp Conservation Area. It brings you to the most ecologically diverse protected area in the Ottawa Valley, so expect to find a thriving ecosystem and several wildlife species here. 

During your hike, you might come across wetlands, forests, and a network of beaver ponds. If you’re lucky, you might see some beavers working or scurrying around the area!

The Stony Swamp area is also a haven for bird enthusiasts; in particular, it’s home to 251 regionally rare bird species. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera to spot these birds and take a photo of them!

Pro Tips:The best time to visit this trail is between April and November because that’s when the route is relatively clear. That said, the trail looks ethereal during the winter. You might prefer hiking during the winter months to see this winter wonderland. 

Mer Bleue Bog Trail

From: woman_abroad

Location: Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Ottawa, ON K0A 1K0, Canada

Length: 1.4 km

Difficulty: Easy

The Mer Bleue Bog is one of the oldest natural landmarks in Canada; if you don’t know, it’s approximately 7,700 years old! Because of this, the wildlife species found here are usually significantly rare and sometimes even endangered. 

The main trail is only 1.4 km long and mostly has flat terrain, so it’s relatively easy to hike on. Because of this, it’s popular among new hikers and families with small children; sometimes, families even bring their babies or toddlers in strollers!

The highlight of the trail is the bog mat itself, which is a “sea” of peat that’s topped with open heath, black spruce, and tamarack trees. There is a boardwalk that cuts through the bog mat, so you don’t have to worry about falling into the deep peat. 

Pro Tip: There are picnic tables near the parking area if you want to enjoy a nice picnic with your loved ones before or after the hike. 

Old Quarry Trail 

From: unexpectedjourneys1

Location: Eagleson Rd, Kanata, ON K2M 1P1, Canada

Length: 2.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

The Old Quarry Trail is one of the many trails in the Stony Swamp Conservation Area, and it’s fairly an easy one to complete. It’s just an easy stroll through the woods, making it a perfect trail for beginners or people who just want a quick hike for the day. 

Along the way, you’ll spot some feeders hung up in trees. You can rest in these spots and enjoy the company of adorable birds; if you’ve somehow brought bird feed with you, you can also drop some into the feeder. 

Another interesting thing about this trail is that it’s littered with Nepean sandstones. These sandstones are nearly pure quartz, making them dense and perfect for buildings; in fact, many heritage buildings in Ottawa are made from Nepean sandstones. 

Pro Tip: If you want to prolong the hike, you can go for a second loop around the trail. You can also check out Jack Pine Trail since it’s near. 

Mud Lake Trail

From: ontariotravel

Location: Lincoln Heights Park, 265 Britannia Rd, Ottawa, ON K2B 5X1, Canada

Length: 2.9 km

Difficulty: Easy

Looking for easy trails that are perfect for children? Mud Lake Trail is worth considering. 

This trail surrounds the titular Mud Lake, a wetland and an ecologically important natural habitat in Ottawa. When you hike here, you’ll enjoy fascinating scenery; you’ll trek through a deciduous swamp forest one second, and next, you’ll be in a mature forest.

This trail is also home to many animals. Children will be delighted to see all the ducks here; if they’re lucky, they might come across rare amphibians and reptiles as well. 

Pro Tip: At some point in the trail, you’ll find a little platform over the lake. This is a great spot to drink in the beautiful view. 

Chapman Mills Trail 

From: sierratrails

Location: Chapman Mills Conservation Area, 253 Winding Way, Nepean, ON K2C 3H1, Canada

Length: 3.2 km

Difficulty: Easy

The Chapman Mills Trail is another great trail for beginners and families. This trail is only 3.5 km long and consists mostly of walkways and boardwalks, so you won’t have difficulty hiking here. 

Aside from walkways and boardwalks, this trail features gently rolling hills, and at some point, you can even go to a little island. Some parts of the trail are pretty close to a busy street, so you might hear some traffic noises, ruining the feeling of immersion. 

Since the trail is located by the side of the Rideau River, you can actually cast your line and fish here. Just make sure to do so on the proper fishing platforms. 

Pro Tip: The trail has a picnic shelter, so feel free to bring a few delicious snacks with you.

Parliament Hill Loop 

From: rolandbast and ottawaphoto

Location: Parliament Hill, Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A9, Canada

Length: 5.3 km

Difficulty: Easy

Technically, the Parliament Hill Loop won’t immerse you in nature since it’s literally in the heart of the city, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Simply put, this trail takes you to the different important sites of Ottawa. 

You’ll start your hike at Rideau Hall, which is home of the governor-general, and then you’ll pass by 24 Sussex, the home of the prime minister. Other than these two landmarks, you can also spot the Royal Canadian Mint and the National Gallery. 

If you want to experience nature during this hike, you can explore Major’s Hill Park, which is near the United States Embassy. Rideau Falls Park is another nearby option.

Pro Tip: If you want a longer trail, you can combine the Parliament Hill Loop with the Rideau River Trail, which you can access from Rideau Falls Park. 

Pinhey Forest Trail

From: goldenretrieveroakleyy

Location: Pinhey Forest, Ottawa, ON K2G 1W2, Canada

Length: 6.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

The Pinhey Forest Trail takes you through the titular Pinhey Forest, which is home to the only inland sand dune complex in Ottawa. This sand dune complex is incredibly old as well; it’s believed to have been around for more than 10,000 years! 

Hiking on sand dunes is quite an interesting experience and one that you should try. Luckily, the terrain is pretty even here, making it a perfect trail for beginners and amateurs. 

This trail is divided into two main sections. The first one is a shaded section, perfect if you’re hiking during high noon, and the second is what takes you through the sand dunes and the forest.  

Pro Tip: Dogs are allowed on this trail, but please keep them on their leash.

Hog’s Back Falls Loop

From: aditisailoni

Location: Hog’s Back Park, 600 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 1H8, Canada

Length: 1.4 km

Difficulty: Easy

Also known as the Prince of Wales Falls, the Hog’s Back Falls are a series of artificial waterfalls on the Rideau River. If you want to get a closer look at these waterfalls, you should hike the Hog’s Back Falls Loop. 

This loop is fairly short at 1.4 km and easy to navigate, so newbies can explore this without problem. If you want the best view of the falls for pictures, head to the waterfall-viewing platform. 

Aside from the waterfalls, you can also enjoy the sight of the passing birds. Bring a pair of binoculars so that you can spot these majestic creatures!

Pro Tip: If you’re hungry, there’s a restaurant nearby: Hog’s Back Pizzeria Restaurant. They serve a wide variety of pizza flavors and other Italian dishes. 

Rockhopper Trail 

From: erinblaskie

Location: South March Highlands Conservation Forest, S March Highland Trails, Kanata, ON K2K 1X7, Canada

Length: 3.2 km 

Difficulty: Easy

The Rockhopper Trail takes you through the heart of the South March Highlands Conservation Forest, making it the ideal trail for people who want to stay away from the urban environment. 

The trail starts out wide and flat, but the more you hike, the thinner the trail becomes. At some point, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the forest, with the route super thin and the terrain somewhat rocky.

Despite having some rough parts, the trail is still pretty accessible, so people who are new to hiking can start here. 

Pro Tip: There are other trails in the conservation forest, so if you want to extend your hike, you can check them out. 

Wolf Trail


Location: Gatineau Park, Gatineau, Quebec J9A 3M2, Canada

Length: 8.3 km

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance from Ottawa: Around 30 minutes

Do you want to hike outside the city? Then, you might be interested in Wolf Trail, which is one of the many trails in Gatineau Park and only a short car ride away. 

This one is a forested loop that includes a 220-meter climb up to a steep trail. Because of the elevation and steepness in some parts, this trail is considered difficult, so only experienced hikers are recommended here. 

Despite its difficulty, this trail is worth it simply because of the gorgeous views you’ll see here. There are many lookout points on this trail, and one of them is the Mahingan Lookout, which looks over the Gatineau Hills. 

Pro Tip:
You might come across Blanchet Beach (Meech Lake) when hiking here. 

You can rest and have a picnic here. If you’ve brought extra clothes, you can even enjoy a brief swim. 

Luskville Falls Trail 

From: moving2canada

Location: Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais Regional County Municipality, QC J0X 2G0, Canada

Length: 4.5 km 

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance from Ottawa: Around 35 minutes

One of Gatineau Park’s highlights, Luskville Falls flows over the Eardley Escarpment and is most commonly noted for how the waterfall almost looks vertical in the lower half. The best way to reach this waterfall is by hiking on the Luskville Falls Trail.

This trail is roughly 4.5 km long with an elevation gain of 300 m. It’s also said to be very steep and has rocky slopes, so it won’t be an easy hike; in fact, only experienced hikers are encouraged to hike here. 

If you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you, be sure to stop by any of the lookouts, especially the ones at the fire tower and the interpretation panels. 

Pro Tip: The best time to hike on this trail is May because that’s when the waterfall becomes a rushing stream (thanks to all the melting snow). 

King Mountain Trail

From: uzziebuzzie 

Location: Gatineau Park, Gatineau, Quebec J9A 3M2, Canada

Length: 6.5 km

Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Distance from Ottawa: Around 30 minutes

The King Mountain is another highlight in Gatineau Park, and to reach its summit, you need to take the King Mountain Trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart; it’s 6.5 km long, with a 200-m elevation gain and a mostly rocky terrain. 

Once you reach the summit, prepare to drink a stunning panoramic view of the park and nearby areas. In particular, you can spot the green forests below, and if you have perfect eyesight, you can even see the Ottawa River Valley in the distance. 

The best time to hike this trail is during spring because the whole place is in bloom. As a result, you can see colorful trilliums and hear the birds singing beautifully in the trees.

Pro Tip: If you think that 6.5 km is too long for you, you can choose to hike the main loop itself, which is only 2 km long.

Manitou Mountain Trail 

From: alex_xian

Location: Barrett Chute Rd, Calabogie, ON K0J 1H0, Canada

Length: 9 km 

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance from Ottawa: Around 1 hour and 9 minutes

Located in Calabogie Peaks, the Manitou Mountain Trail is about an hour away from Ottawa. So, if you’re in the mood for an adventure outside the city, this is your best bet. 

As you can guess from the name, this trail is a hike up to the top of Manitou Mountain, so most of your time will be spent deep in a forest. Luckily, there are several trail markers, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.

Since you’re hiking up, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views once you’ve exited the forest and headed to a cliff’s edge. Just be careful, though; there are several parts of the trail that are extremely rocky. 

Pro Tip: When you stop at the Little Pine Path trailhead, there’s a store that sells trail maps. You might want to get one for yourself because the Manitou Mountain Trail is pretty long and you don’t want to get lost. 

Oiseau Rock Trail 

From: natara_11

Location: Chem. Schyan, Sheenboro, QC J0X 2Z0, Canada

Length: 10 km 

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance from Ottawa: Around 2 hours and 45 minutes

The Oiseau Rock Trail is nearly three hours away from Ottawa, making it another great destination for a day trip outside the capital city. This trail is also 10 km long, which is perfect for amateurs and experienced hikers. 

Getting to this trail can get really tricky, but once you’ve reached the trailhead, it’s smooth sailing from there—or at least somewhat smooth sailing. The trail is littered with rocks and roots from the forest floor, so you really need to be careful. 

Most of the hike is deep within the forest, but there are several lookouts that let you enjoy the view of the surrounding areas. And when you reach the top, you’ll find a summit lake; feel free to swim and splash around! 

Pro Tips: There’s a picnic table set up at the end of the summit lake, so you might want to bring some food and drinks and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Be sure to bring cash because you’ll have to pay a fee at the office by the trailhead before you can begin hiking.