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Ottawa on Foot: 10 Best Walking Trails in the Capital

Ottawa on Foot 10 Best Walking Trails in the Capital

Sometimes, the best therapy you can do when things start to get the best of you is walking, and it’s made even better if you have beautiful views surrounding you. 

Fortunately, you won’t have to look far and beyond just to find great walking spots in Ottawa, as they’re just about everywhere! The city has the best walking spots because it features a myriad of stunning views like parliament buildings, museums and trails that are begging to be explored. 

Whether you’re into city views or lush greeneries, this city has them all—and that’s what we’re here for! Below are some of our favourite places to go on walks in Ottawa.

Shirley’s Bay Trail

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

Distance: 2.6 miles

Estimated time: 54 minutes

Route type: Loop

Shirley’s Bay is a great spot for walks for two main reasons: accessibility and beauty. It’s one of the most kid-friendly routes out there thanks to it mostly consisting of flat trails, which we can also see being appreciated by the elderly.

Also, we say that it’s a great spot because of its beauty, as it provides its visitors with a wide array of beautiful things to observe while they’re walking. For starters, you’ll encounter a variety of birds as well as wildflowers during one of your walks here.

Furthermore, you can also witness the peaceful and majestic Ottawa River! Plus, the view of the thick forest with sun rays coming through is something that never gets old to look at.

Pro tip:
You can also bring your dog here as long as they’re on a leash! Come wintertime, however, these furbabies aren’t allowed as the trail transforms into a ski loop.

Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Address: Ottawa, ON, Canada

Distance: 6.5 miles

Estimated time: 2 hours 37 minutes

Route type: Out and back

If you want a tour of the city that doesn’t involve going out on the streets, then Rideau Canal is your spot! There’s no real way of exploring the canals but one that Ottawans particularly love is the Western Pathway, which is a moderately challenging out-and-back route.

We say moderately challenging, but it can really fall under easy, as the only thing that makes this a tad bit harder is its length. If you take this factor out of the equation, you’ll be left with a mostly flat trail that consists of views of the canal, the city and a bunch of natural greenery.

Moreover, Rideau Canal is also a famous spot for locals looking to do activities like cycling, fishing and paddle sports. This being said, you can expect to encounter a bunch of people during your walk but hey, that’s part of the canal’s ambience.

Pro tip:
If you plan on walking this route during wintertime, it would be best to wear a pair of cleats! Some of the pathways along this route may be frozen during this time and these special footwear will help prevent slippage.

Jack Pine Trail

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

Distance: 1.0 miles

Estimated time: 25 minutes

Route type: Out and back

Jack Pine Trail is perfect if you aren’t looking for anything crazy and just want to experience a quick scenic walk. This trail only requires around half an hour to complete but the whole walk will be packed with amazing views thanks to the dense forest that it’s housed in.

One of the highlights of this trail is the boardwalk, which features the aforementioned forest as its background—a perfect addition to your Insta feed! This place becomes even more magical once autumn comes when the orange leaves start to fall to the ground.

It’s also one of the lesser-known trails in the city so you’ll less likely encounter other people during your stroll. In their place are over 560 native plant species and different kinds of wildlife like birds, frogs and ducks.

Pro tip:
The best way to get to this trail is by driving, as it’s only around a 17-minute drive away from the city centre. Plus, the trail features several free parking spaces for its visitors!

Strathcona Park

Address: 25 Range Rd, Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3, Canada

Distance: 1.3 miles

Estimated time: 34 minutes

Route type: Loop

Strathcona Park is one of the perfect examples of why you don’t have to leave the city just to enjoy a nice scenic walk. It’s also one of those spots where you don’t have to follow a specific trail so you can just let your feet take you wherever you want to go!

If you want to see everything that it offers, however, we recommend this loop, which only takes around half an hour to complete. We can see this being appreciated by those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands and just want a quick break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The urban trails feature some interesting sights as well, with the majority being lush greeneries and some pretty houses. To see the best views in this park, you have to go to the pedestrian bridge that connects the Sandy Hill and Vanier neighbourhoods.

Pro tip:
If you’re looking for a walking trail that permits dogs, this is the spot for you. The park even features a leash-free zone where you can let your furry pals run wild!

Parliament Hill Loop

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Address: Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A9, Canada

Distance: 3.29 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour and 21 minutes

Route type: Loop

Want to see one of Ottawa’s most historical landmarks during your stroll, then the Parliament Hill Loop is the best trail for you! Aside from being a popular trail, it’s one of the most famous places in the city period, so expect to encounter other visitors during your stroll.

Your eyes will be treated to some of the most beautiful sights while you’re walking here, from the different sections of Parliament Hill itself down to the Ottawa River and more. Throughout the trail, you’ll also stop by places like Portage Bridge, Victoria Island and the National Galleries.

This walk will also let you stop by Major Hill’s Park where you can stop and enjoy a lovely picnic with your loved ones. If you’re one to admire beautiful flowers, you’ll be pleased to know that this park also features some pretty tulips!

Pro tip:
If you want a more in-depth tour that can help guide your walking tour in Parliament Hill, make sure to visit the Government of Canada’s official website and download their brochure. It features a detailed map as well as some info about the attraction’s history.

Old Quarry Trail

Media credit: bouddibushwalks

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

Distance: 1.68 miles

Estimated time: 37 minutes

Route type: Loop

Old Quarry Trail is one of the easiest walks you can do that features stunning views of Ontario’s natural landscapes without veering too far from Ottawa. It’s perfect for quick runs and short walks, as it’s quite short and it’s pretty accessible for people of all ages!

Unfortunately, you can’t bring your dogs here even if they’re on a leash. You can take tons of photos though, which you can show them once you get home.

Speaking of photos, one of the most Instaworthy spots in the entire trail is hands down the boardwalk. This boardwalk is surrounded by a beautiful meadow that changes colours depending on the time of year—pretty neat!

Pro tip:
If you want to spice up your experience here, you can also bring your mountain bike and shred through the trail. It’s also one of the most scenic bike rides you’ll experience while you’re here!

Mer Bleue Bog Trail

Media credit: unexpectedjourneys1

Address: Ottawa, ON K0A 1K0, Canada

Distance: 0.87 miles

Estimated time: 21 minutes

Route type: Loop

Among all the loops in Ottawa, Mer Bleue Bog Trail is arguably the easiest one. For starters, it mostly consists of boardwalks so you won’t have to worry about going off-road and climbing up steep hills.

You might as well bring your camera while you’re walking here, as the views surrounding this trail are begging to be photographed. Furthermore, you can also find a variety of fauna species during your walk so keep your eyes peeled!

It’s also a great jogging spot, as it lets you complete an entire lap in just around 20 minutes (depending on your pace, of course). This being said these 20 or so minutes are pure bliss, as it lets you experience a one-of-a-kind solitude—perfect for tapping into your inner zone!

Pro tip:
If you want the track virtually to yourself, schedule your walks during weekdays. The trail can be a bit crowded during the weekends since it’s one of the most famous walking spots in the capital.

Conroy Pit Loop

Media credit: richardkbethell

Address: Conroy Rd, Ottawa, ON K1T 3S4, Canada

Distance: 3.17 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Route type: Loop

Conroy Pit Loop will test your cardio even though it’s a relatively easy trail, as it will take you more than an hour to complete it. The time you’ll spend here will be worth it though, thanks to the stunning views of the forest as well as some glimpses of the city.

What makes this loop great is that it doesn’t require you to head out of the city just to get a workout in. It’s located in the city centre and it mostly consists of flat ground, making it completely wheelchair-friendly.

Pro tip:
You can also bring your dogs here, as there’s an off-leash area where they can run around. If you want to bring your baby, this is a great spot as well, as the walking trail is completely stroller-friendly.

Leamy Lake Trail

Media credit: kai_ouano

Address: Leamy Lake Pkwy, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 3P5, Canada

Distance: 1.49 miles

Estimated time: 31 minutes

Route type: Loop

Leamy Lake Parks is a serene spot near Ottawa that lets its visitors go on nice scenic walks. It features a paved trail, so every member of the family can easily complete the loop while enjoying some stunning views!

If you’re looking for more adventure, however, you can veer off the pavement and make your way to some of the offshoots. Much like real life, these offshoot paths tell us that we shouldn’t stay on one path!

The main highlight of this place, however, is the serene lake. This majestic body of water will serenade you with its gentle streams, as you go through the trail!

Pro tip:
If you’re coming with your children and they grow bored of walking, you can take them to the kid’s playground located in the park!

Chapman Mills Conservation Area

Media credit: lloyd_monkey_donkey

Address: 253 Winding Way, Nepean, ON K2C 3H1, Canada

Distance: 1.99 miles

Estimated time: 42 minutes

Route type: Out and back

Chapman Mills Park is a famous spot for Ottawans who are looking to engage in various activities like fishing, birdwatching and hiking. It’s also perfect for leisurely strolls since the atmosphere here is laid-back and it’s surrounded by beautiful views.

We like to think that it’s a relatively easy trail too, as it mostly consists of boarwalks. The real challenge here is the ground you have to cover but even that isn’t too difficult since you’ll have plenty of things to admire during your walk.

Pro tip:
If you want to add more stops on your walk, you can also stroll along Rideau River or stop by other nearby parks like Gus Estes Park, Mosquito Creek Park and Honey Gables Park.