Canada’s capital city offers year-round opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From ice skating on the Rideau Canal in winter to summer sports in the many green areas that dot the concrete jungle. Once you get out of the city, the sprawling outdoors offers a variety of trails to suit every level of ambitious hiker. Whether you’re looking for a walk in the woods or a steep climb to jaw-dropping lookout points, these 10 hikes are sure to delight.

 

King Mountain

Gatineau Park

King Mountain Gatineau ParkNational Capital Commission

Trail length: 1.9 km 
Difficulty: Easy-moderate
Elevation gain: 100 m
Why it’s awesome: 10 lookouts with stunning views  

Description: Travel through maple groves, mixed forest and open-rock to the Eardley Escarpment. The lookouts reward hikers with gorgeous views over the Ottawa River Valley. Stairs and some steep sections make this a moderately graded hike, but the loop shouldn't present too much of a challenge to fit hikers. 

Directions to the King Mountain trailhead: Click here

Distance from Ottawa: 27 km

 

Outaouais Trail

Gatineau Park

Outaouais TrailNational Capital Commission

Trail length: 11 km 
Difficulty: Challenging
Elevation gain: 447 m
Why it’s awesome: A gorgeous trek around Lac Philippe

Description: This difficult loop hike yields gorgeous views of the lake it passes by. The trail is moderately used in-season, from April to October.

Directions to the Outaouais Trail trailhead: Click here

Distance from Ottawa
: 45 km

Luskville Falls

Gatineau Park

Luskville Falls Gatineau ParkNational Capital Commission

Trail length: 4.5 km 
Difficulty: Challenging (steep climbs)
Elevation gain: 290 m
Why it’s awesome: A unique ecosystem with a variety of wildlife and plant life.  

Description: Scramble up the side of the Eardley Escarpment for a difficult, but rewarding, trek. Stop at Luskville Falls, a striking vertical cascade of water that pours into a winding stream.

Directions to the Luskville Falls trailhead: Click here

Distance from Ottawa: 35 km

Manitou Mountain Trail

Calabogie Peaks

Trail length: 9 km
Difficulty: Intermediate
Why it’s awesome: Three stunning mountaintop lookouts

Description: Hike or snowshoe through the pristine pine forest that lines the Manitou Mountain Trail. If you’d rather not double-back, drop a shuttle vehicle at the end of the trail.

Directions to the Manitou Trail trailhead
: Click here

Distance from Ottawa
: 110 km

Eagle's Nest

Calabogie Peaks

Eagle's Nest Calabogie PeaksFlickr/Sang Trinh (CCby2.0)

Trail length: 8 km total (out and back)
Difficulty
: Easy
Elevation gain: 120 m
Why it’s awesome: Cliff-top lookout with superb views

Description: A great snowshoeing or hiking trail, Eagle’s Nest is a Sacred Site to the First Nation’s peoples of the area. The trail is considered a treasure of the Ottawa Valley and offers an “eagle's eye view” of the surrounding landscape.

Directions to the Eagle’s Nest trailhead: Click here

Distance from Ottawa: 110 km

 

Pinhey Forest Trails

Pinhey Forest TrailsNational Capital Commission

Trail length: 6.7 km 
Difficulty: Easy
Why it’s awesome: Year-round accessibility for all hiking levels  

Description: If you’re looking for a shaded trek to escape the mid-afternoon sun or an easy exploration with families, this loop trail makes the perfect meandering walk in the woods.

Directions to the Pinhey Forest trailhead: http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails/view/pinhey-forest-trails

Distance from Ottawa: 15 km

Rideau Trail

Kingston - Ottawa

Rideau Trail OttawaFlickr/Gordon Bell

Trail length: 387 km (total network)
Difficulty: Varies
Elevation gain: 600 m
Why it’s awesome: Spectacular, well-maintained trail alongside the Rideau Canal  

Description: Whether you’re looking for a quick out-and-back or itching for a multi-day trek, the Rideau Trail has something for everyone. Stretching from Kingston to Ottawa, avid hikers can tackle the entire trail in 9-16 days.

Directions to the Rideau Trail trailhead: rideautrail.org/discover-the-trail/maps

Distance from Ottawa: 0 km (ends in the city)

Stony Swamp Trails

Stony Swamp TrailsFlickr/Catherine Bulinski (CCbyND2.0)

Trail length: 40 km (total)
Difficulty: Easy
Why it’s awesome: All-season area to enjoy the outdoors

Description: Cross-country skiers, snowshoers, hikers, birders and bikers flock to this trail, which is the most ecologically diverse protected area in the Ottawa Valley. There are sugar maples, boggy wetlands and over 250 unique species of birds (and 17 that are endangered).

Directions to the Stony Swamp trailhead
: Click here

Distance from Ottawa
: 21 km

Mary Hayden Trail

Mont O'Brien

Trail length: 4-5 km
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 170 m
Why it’s awesome: Forests, hills, creeks, wetlands and rare diversity

Description
: Mont O’Brien is a beautiful, 30 km2 biodiversity reserve, with frequent wildlife sightings. The area boasts over 80 varieties of mushrooms. 

Note: you will require a Mont O'Brien membership ($25 per year), plus a $5 deposit for the key, which unlocks a padlock on the access road. Funds support the non-profit Mont O’Brien Association. Maps are provided with memberships. 

Directions to the Mont O’Brien trailhead
: Click here

Distance from Ottawa
: 104 km

Oiseau Rock Trail

Sheenboro, QC

Trail length: 9 km round-trip
Difficulty: Intermediate
Why it’s awesome: A First Nation’s Sacred Site with ancient pictographs  

Description
: The red ochre paintings that draw archaeologists and history-buffs to Oiseau Rock are hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of years old. This trail lines the Ottawa River and passes through the Algonquin forest. It is open from May to October.

Directions to the Oiseau Rock trailhead
: tourisme-pontiac.com/oiseau-rock

Distance from Ottawa
: 175 km

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