Ottawa is a great place to enjoy the beautiful fall weather in Ontario. With that being said, here are our top 10 hiking trails in Ottawa that you will love exploring!
1. Gatineau Park — Outaouais Trail
The Outaouais Trail at Gatineau Park is a great choice if you’re looking for a challenging hike. It spans 11 kilometres and circles Lac Philippe. The elevation gain is 447 metres, so this trail is an excellent option f you’re looking for a good workout. Take a trip to the visitors centre and join a guided tour to learn more about this beautiful trail. When you’re finished hiking, visit the charming village of Chelsea and enjoy local shops and cafes. The Visitor Centre is accessible by car and additionally on weekends using public transit.
2. Calabogie Peaks — Manitou Mountain Trail
Enjoy the beautiful forest surrounding the Manitou Mountain Trail at Calabogie Peaks. Spanning nine kilometres, the three mountain top lookouts across the trail will stun even the most seasoned hiker. Explore beautiful pine forests as you hike this medium difficulty trail. There are many paths you can take that connect to Manitou Mountain Trail, such as the Lost Valley Trail. You can also explore the Juniper Ridge Lookout and the Skywalk Trail on Dickson Mountain.
3. Pinhey Forest Trails
Pinhey Forest Trails is a great option for the whole family to enjoy. Looping through a shaded forest, this 6.7 kilometre trail is perfect if you’re trying hiking for the first time. Enjoy beautiful coniferous forests as you explore the four smaller trails that make up Pinhey Forest Trails. Trails 30 and 31 are accessible trails including a fitness trail monitored by the City of Ottawa. Trails 32 and 33 include washroom facilities and picnic tables. These trails accommodate strollers, and are short enough for young children to enjoy.
4. Stony Swamp Trails
Stony Swamp Trails are hiking trails you can enjoy year-round. Known as the most ecologically-diverse trails in Ottawa, there are over 250 bird species for you to see as you hike this 40 km total landscape. Also featuring beaver ponds, forests, and wetlands, there is natural beauty at every turn. The Jack Pine Trail gives you the opportunity to see ducks and frogs, and the Sarsaparilla Trail features a long dock where you can get an up-close view of a beaver pond. There is also the Bruce Pit off-leash dog park, where your furry friends can socialize and get some exercise.
5. Mer Bleue Conservation Area Loop
The Mer Bleue Conservation Area Loop is a 7.1 km hiking trail that takes approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes to complete. This is a fairly challenging trail with plenty of natural beauty to enjoy. The Mer Bleue Conservation Area Loop spans 3500 hectares in the southeastern sector of the Greenbelt. One of the highlights of this hiking trail is the Mer Bleue bog, which has been around for approximately 7700 years. The Mer Bleue Conservation Area Loop is home to many different types of wildlife, such as rare birds and plants.
6. Jack Pine, Beaver, and Chipmunk Loop Trail
Combining the Jack Pine, Beaver, and Chipmunk hiking trails, this loop trail is a great choice for both hiking and birdwatching. This trail is 6.8 kilometres long in total, and takes approximately one hour and 29 minutes to fully complete. There are two main sections of the Jack Pine, Beaver, and Chipmunk Loop Trail that then divide into four smaller sections. Every part of this trail is filled with natural beauty and wildlife to explore. For example, the A, B, and C loops have boardwalks that have great views of three beaver ponds.
7. Mud Lake Trail
Mud Lake Trail is another great hiking trail option for the whole family. Spanning 2.4 kilometres, this short trail is a great chance to see some unique wildlife. Mud Lake is an important natural habitat for Canada’s ecosystem, and is a home for many types of wildlife. It’s important to respect the wildlife when visiting Mud Lake Trail by giving the animals and plants space, and not feeding the animals. Mud Lake Trail is home to 269 bird species, 44 rare and 15 uncommon plant species, and many at risk wildlife species.
8. Old Quarry Trail
Old Quarry Trail is located very close to Ottawa, and is another great hiking trail to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Take a short hike or jog along this trail, and visit the boardwalk to enjoy its natural beauty. Old Quarry Trail is in the Stony Swamp sector of the Greenbelt, which is the largest wooded area in this area of Canada. There is a medium trail which spans 1.9 km, and a long trail which spans 2.7 km. While hiking the Old Quarry Trail, you will see pure quartz, which is an ideal stone for constructing buildings.
9. Lime Kiln and Chipmunk Trails
Other hiking trail options for the whole family are the Lime Kiln and Chipmunk Trails. These trails span 4.2 kilometres, and will take approximately 55 minutes to complete. The Lime Kiln and Chipmunk Trails are beautiful year-round, and are also dog friendly as long as they are on a leash. There are lots of signs to keep you on the trails, and the difficulty level is low, so these are perfect trails to enjoy with the little ones. Additionally, many parts of the Lime Kiln and Chipmunk Trails are stroller and wheelchair accessible.
10. P20 and O51 Loop
And finally, located inside the Mer Bleue Conservation Area, the P20 and O51 Loop is an easier trail everyone can enjoy. This loop is easily accessible, and connects to other trails within the Mer Bleue Conservation Area. The P20 and 051 Loop is dog friendly as long as they are on a leash. This loop features lots of natural beauty, and is especially beautiful in the fall. The P20 and O51 Loop is a great hiking trail for the whole family.
We hope you enjoy exploring these hiking trails this fall!