Ottawa Outdoor Adventure Guide
One of the first things I noticed while visiting, then moving, to Ottawa, was how active and outdoorsy it seemed. Countless bikers, hikers, runners and paddlers can be found in different areas of the city. There are high intensity thrill activities too. Are you looking for more outdoor adventures and how to spend time outside in the capital?
Ottawa is well known for the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal – both of which you can paddle on! Locations to rent kayaks and paddle boards in Ottawa:
- Dows Lake Pavilion rentals
- Urban Ocean SUP Ottawa, downtown Ottawa and Ottawa West
- Ottawa SUP on the Rideau River
- Petrie Island, Ottawa East
- Paddle Fit in Ottawa, Gatineau and Chelsea
- Cat Bird Paddle, tours outside of Ottawa
As an avid paddler, I have purchased my own Level Six Stand Up Paddle board. Level Six is an Ottawa based brand and can be found at Mountain Equipment Coop, Trailhead Paddle Shack, Bushtukah and SAIL Plein Air Outdoors.
The most well-known area for hiking near Ottawa is undoubtedly Gatineau Park. It’s well-known for a reason, and has diverse trails to choose from. CLICK HERE for my favourite trails in Gatineau Park. It does however get quite busy at peak times, and it’s always good to have options.
Ottawa is home to the Greenbelt – the most ecologically diverse area in Eastern Ontario. It features over 150 KM of trails which link to the Rideau Trail, Trans Canada Trail and the Capital Pathway Network.
Interested in pairing hikes and beers? Check out my recent Brews and Views blog post, matching Ottawa breweries to local hikes.
Ottawa seems to be a city of bikers. Some biking trails to explore are;
The Ottawa River Pathway
This paved multi-use pathway runs from Kanata in Ottawa West, past Parliament downtown and into Rockcliffe. You’ll ride through beautiful parks, beaches, neighbourhoods and views of the Ottawa River. The full path is about 31 KM in length.
Rideau Canal Pathway
With paved pathways going in both East and West directions, the Rideau canal is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find beautiful views, such as Hogs Back Falls along the East trail or Dow’s Lake on the West. Each trail is roughly 9 KM long.
Greenbelt Pathway West
More on the outskirts of Ottawa, this 21 KM trail is asphalt and dusty. It is mainly flat, in contrast the Greenbelt East Path is quite hilly. You’ll pass through forests, farms and fields.
Experimental Farm Pathway
This almost 12 KM pathway is fully paved, located on agriculture land. You will wind through both open and wooded areas. Pinecrest Creek pathway connects this path to the Ottawa River Pathway.
You can also easily cross over into Gatineau, Quebec to explore the Leamy Lake Pathway, Voyageurs Pathway or Gatineau Parkway.
For an interactive trail map CLICK HERE. You can also rent bikes and join a guided tour with Escape Bicycle Tours.
If you’re looking to cruise around downtown Ottawa, the city is now home to rentable e-scooters! Download the app Bird, and find the scooter closest to you! Map & details on the app.
Owl Rafting: Choose the perfect rafting experience for you, based on intensity and duration. Try adventure rafting or two-person ‘yaking’. This area in the Ottawa Valley is known as Whitewater region for a reason. They have a full resort with options to stay overnight, outdoor games and included meals.
Wilderness Tours: Raft, kayak, bungee and other adventures. Choose your level of Whitewater rafting from gentle to extreme, and your stay from an afternoon to multi-night. Enjoy time in Whitewater Region with a beach and pub on site.
Ottawa City Rafting: If you’re looking for a lower intensity raft, closer to downtown, this is perfect for you. Start at Britannia beach and enjoy 3 hours of adventuring. Options to swim and cliff jump. NEW! They also offering tubing! Enjoy a 2-hour float down the Ottawa River navigating smaller rapids and relaxing along a lazy river section.
Did you know you could zip line near Ottawa?
Zip line through Gatineau Park at Camp Fortune. Camp Fortune Explorer Park is open from spring through to autumn; reservations required. Their longest aerial park has multiple zip lines and takes about 3 hours to complete. Camp Fortune is closed for the 2020 season.
Experience zip lining and the highest jump in Canada with the Great Canadian Bungee. Bungee jump 200 ft drop toward an aqua blue lagoon surrounded by beautiful limestone. Not a bungee fan? Choose to zip line above the clear lagoon water for a 1015 ft stretch. These adventures are located at the Morrison Quarry; a beautiful area for swimming and relaxing. Quarry closed this season due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Not into active summer adventures? Check out other ways to enjoy the outdoors in Ottawa: