The green spaces of Canada’s Capital Region are connected by more than 600 kilometres of multi-use pathways, which people use for recreation and commuting. The pathway network connects the Capital’s parks, gardens, museums and attractions, and is designed for walking, running, cycling and in-line skating.
The NCC manages 236 kilometres of these pathways, which extend from Gatineau Park, through Ottawa and into the Greenbelt. The network also links the Capital to hundreds of locations across Canada via the Trans Canada Trail, which today consists of 24,000 kilometres of multi-use trails. The pathways in the Outaouais are also part of the 5,300-kilometre Route verte network.
Cycling on the Capital’s pathways
Are you planning an outing by bike? The following paths will take you past some of the best scenery in Ottawa and Gatineau.
Experimental Farm Pathway
Visit the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum along the way.
Greenbelt Pathway West
Explore Shirleys Bay, and stop for a picnic by the shore of the Ottawa River.
Leamy Lake Pathway
Discover Leamy Lake Park, with its extensive history and the beautiful Leamy Lake beach.
Ottawa River Pathway
This 31-kilometre pathway follows the Ottawa River and passes a number of Ottawa’s attractions. Stop along the way at the Canadian War Museum, Parliament Hill and the Ottawa Locks at the northern entrance to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rideau Canal Western Pathway
Delight your senses on this pathway, as you pass through Commissioners Park and its extraordinary flower displays.
Rideau River Eastern Pathway
Cycle along the northern side of the Ottawa River, and take in spectacular views of Parliament Hill and the Canadian Museum of History.
The paths are shared with in-line skaters, runners and walkers, so be sure to follow the rules for courtesy and safety on the pathway.
Where to Get Your Copy of the Map
- at one of the bulletin boards along the Capital Pathway network
- at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre (33 Scott Road, Chelsea)
- at the Capital Information Kiosk (90 Wellington Street, Ottawa, across from Parliament Hill)
- at the Maison du tourisme (103 Laurier Street, Gatineau, across from the Canadian Museum of History)
- at Ottawa City Hall (110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa), or at one of the City of Ottawa’s Client Service Centres
- at the welcome desk of the Maison du citoyen (25 Laurier Street, Gatineau), or at a Ville de Gatineau client service centre or public library.
Most of the pathways are accessible for people with impaired mobility. However, other than the paths along the Ottawa River, the Gatineau side of the network is very hilly and is therefore not recommended.
Safety and pathway patrol
The Capital Pathway is shared by many users, and very popular for commuting to work. Keep the paths safe by following the rules for courtesy and safety on the pathways:
- Share the paths by keeping to the right so that other users can pass.
- Obey the speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour.
- Keep your dog close by your side and use an appropriate leash that does not exceed two metres.
Pathway patrollers help ensure that your outing is safe and enjoyable. They can provide directions, information, first aid and emergency care, and basic equipment repairs. Pathway patrollers include the Ottawa Police, Gatineau Police, RCMP and volunteers from the City of Ottawa’s volunteer pathway patrol and Vélo-Services’ volunteer pathway patrol.
Pathway maintenance, rehabilitation and expansion
Every spring, as soon as the snow melts, the recreational pathways are cleaned and repaired by our maintenance teams to be ready for use. The pathways are not maintained during the winter, with the exception of those on both sides of the Rideau Canal. The NCC oversees rehabilitation work on the 236 kilometres of the Capital Pathway network for which it is responsible.
Snow Removal on Pathways
On both sides of the Rideau Canal, pathways that provide access to the Rideau Canal Skateway are cleared of snow.
Planning a bike-friendly capital
Because a green city depends on sustainable transportation, cycling is important for Canada’s Capital Region. The NCC is working closely with the City of Ottawa and Ville de Gatineau to learn from world-class cycling cities. Cycling will be an important part of the Plan for Canada's Capital 2017-2067.