The Best Hiking and Biking Trails to Explore Around Ottawa this Summer

Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is known for its historical landmarks, government institutions, and breathtaking natural beauty. As we enjoy the last month of summer, outdoor enthusiasts are exploring the hiking and biking trails that surround the city. From the scenic Gatineau Park to the challenging Eagles Nest near Calabogie, here are six must-visit trails for those seeking an adventurous escape into nature.

1. Gatineau Park

Located a short drive from downtown Ottawa, Gatineau Park is a true haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This 361 square kilometres (139 square miles) protected area boasts an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual nature lover, Gatineau Park has something to offer you.

One of the most popular hiking trails in the park is the Wolf Trail. This moderately difficult 10-kilometre loop takes you through lush forests and rocky terrain, rewarding you with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. For cyclists, the Luskville Falls Trail is a challenging 4-kilometre ascent that leads to a picturesque waterfall, making it a favourite among mountain bikers.

For more information, visit Hiking and Walking in Gatineau Park – National Capital Commission (

Photo: OutandAcross

2. Eagles Nest

Discover the 2.7-kilometre loop trail near Calabogie, Ontario, boasting not only a moderately challenging route but also a gorgeous lookout. Look for the well-marked parking area on Route 508, just past Burnstown. Don’t despair if the first is full; there is a second area just beyond that is much bigger.  On average, it takes around 50 minutes to complete either of the two trail options — the pine path or the old logging road. The area is popular for birding, hiking, and rock climbing, providing an opportunity to meet like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you explore during the vibrant summer or the serene winter, this trail’s year-round beauty will captivate you. Moreover, you can bring your furry friend along, as dogs are welcome as long as they remain on a leash. So, lace up your hiking boots and embark on a memorable journey to this stunning lookout.

For more information, visit and click on Hike-Eagles Nest/Manitou/Griffin Uplands/Nordic Trail.

Photo: TravelBox

3. Mer Bleue Conservation Area

If you prefer a tranquil hiking experience, Mer Bleue Conservation Area is an ideal spot. Just a short drive east of Ottawa, this unique bog ecosystem offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trails at Mer Bleue are relatively flat and well-maintained, making them suitable for hikers of all ages.

The 1.2-kilometre boardwalk loop trail is the highlight of the area, taking you through the heart of the bog. With its diverse plant and bird species, this wetland provides a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike.

For more information, visit Mer Bleue – National Capital Commission (

Photo: Sofia Donato

4. Rideau Canal Pathways

For a more urban outdoor experience, the Rideau Canal pathways, on the Colonel By (east) or the Queen Elizabeth Driveway (west) side of the canal, offer a scenic route for both hikers and cyclists within the city limits. The UNESCO World Heritage Site provides picturesque views of the waterway and the surrounding area.

The pathway stretches for approximately 8 kilometres. Start at the Hogs Back Locks (where the Rideau River meets Moonies Bay) or the Hartwell Locks (1 kilometre closer to town) and wind your way towards the set of eight Ottawa Locks in the heart of downtown Ottawa. For the more adventurous, do the entire loop, starting at either end and cross over the locks before making your way back on the other side of the canal. It’s an excellent way to explore the city’s beauty while staying active.

For those with bike carriers on their cars, you’ll find limited parking at Hartwell Locks, but ample paid parking on the opposite side of Prince of Whales Drive at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

For more information, consult the NCC Cycling Map (

Photo: K Temple

5. Stony Swamp

Located within the Greenbelt of Ottawa in the southwestern part of the city (West Hunt Club Road and Moodie Drive), Stony Swamp offers a diverse and captivating hiking experience. With 40 kilometres of trails, Stony Swamp consists of interconnected trails, allowing hikers to choose from various routes based on their preferences and skill levels.

The Lime Kiln Trail is a favourite among hikers due to its historical significance. The trail leads to an old lime kiln that was used in the 1800s to produce lime for construction. The hauntingly beautiful ruins add a touch of mystery to the hike, making it a fascinating journey into the past.

For more information, visit Stony Swamp – National Capital Commission (

Photo: Mike Montalvo

6. Mud Lake

Located between the Ottawa River and Britannia Village, near the Britannia Yacht Club, Mud Lake is a place to connect with nature without leaving the city limits. The main trail wraps around the lake’s edge and takes about an hour to walk. Observation decks dot the edge of the lake and allow for a view of the whole area.

The wetland is part of a migratory bird corridor and is recognized in Canada as one of the best urban settings for birdwatching. The rules banning bikes, dogs and feeding wildlife might seem strict, but they help make it a truly unique experience where you can get up close to nature. Located on the Trans Canada Trail, Mud Lake is easily accessible by bike and has street parking.

For more information, visit Mud Lake – National Capital Commission ( 

Photo: Mckenzie Donovan

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, an avid cyclist, or a casual nature lover, the trails in and around Ottawa cater to all interests and fitness levels. These six trails promise an unforgettable outdoor experience that will leave you yearning for more. So, gear up, hit the trails, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that Ottawa has to offer!