Cassandra Demers

Content Strategist

This summer, explore Canada's Capital Region on foot. Hiking and walking are good ways to connect with nature. They’re also great for your physical and mental health — plus, they’re free!

In and around Ottawa–Gatineau, there are plenty of hiking and walking trails for all ability levels. From paved, urban paths to natural trails winding through the woods, there’s something for everyone.

To help you plan your outing, we’ve hand-picked a selection of routes we think you’ll like. These are best enjoyed at off-peak times, meaning, early morning, evenings and weekdays.

But first, let’s talk responsible recreation.

As the appetite for hitting the trails grows, so do the number of challenges we face: crowding, litter, damaged trails and so on.

Responsible recreation is easier than it sounds: be mindful of others, leave nothing but footprints, and follow guidelines and rules. And, as always, be COVID-safe, and follow directives from local and provincial public health authorities.

Hiking and walking trails in and around Ottawa

Flowers and Trees Galore!


Commissioners Park
at Dows Lake is one of most visited sites for its tulip displays during the spring, but it is also home to many remarkable trees.

From there, take a stroll toward the Central Experimental Farm, where you can visit the Dominion Arboretum, which stretches along the Rideau Canal, as well as the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. In the spring, the Arboretum’s beautiful pink cherry blossoms are a must-see!

The Dows Lake Pavilion has paid parking, a marina, restaurant and washroom facilities, in addition to offering many rentals.

  • Distance: 4.7 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: Yes
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash

Interactive map: Flowers and Trees Galore route map, parking and amenities

Remic Rapids and Bate Island


Start at Remic Rapids Park, and head out along the Ottawa River shoreline. In the summer, the park hosts an NCC Bistro, providing a place for outdoor enthusiasts to stop, refuel and enjoy the view. A universally accessible outhouse is available at the bistro. Before leaving, take a short detour east to view John Felice Ceprano’s balanced rock art.

When you reach Island Park Drive, take the Champlain Bridge to Bate Island, a delightful spot between Ontario and Quebec. The island features water access for kayaks and canoes, picnic tables, and universally accessible washrooms.

  • Distance: 5.1 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: Yes
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash

Interactive map: Remic Rapids and Bate Island route map, parking and amenities

The Zen Trail: The Rockeries and Ottawa River


It’s no surprise that walks along the Ottawa River are a regional favourite. Many locals have a particular appreciation for the area’s rivers. By any standard, the convergence of three rivers represents an area of spiritual connection.

This route takes you to Rockcliffe Park and the Rockeries. Herein lies old-world charm portrayed by its many scattered ruins.

  • Distance: 2.8 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: Yes (caution: street crossing, and part of the route has a gravel surface)
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash

Interactive map: The Zen Trail route map, parking and amenities

Lime Kiln Trail (Trail 25)


The Lime Kiln Trail is located in the west end of Canada’s Capital Greenbelt, in the Stony Swamp sector. This hiking trail features one of the few remaining examples in Canada of a 19th century industrial lime kiln.

In the 1800s, lime was used as a building material, to make fertilizer and whitewash, as well as to lay bricks and to plaster walls. The kiln went out of business in the 1900s, as more people started using cement. It was forgotten, then rediscovered in the 1970s, and restored by the NCC in 1999.

  • Distance: 4.6 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: No
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash from April 15 to November 30

Interactive map: Lime Kiln Trail route map, parking and amenities

Hiking and walking trails in and around Gatineau

Leamy Lake Park and Beach Trail


This walk has many trees providing shade along the way. Close to downtown Gatineau, Leamy Lake Park and beach are popular with day trippers. It’s also a great place for families to enjoy a meal together. There are sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables, BBQ pits, universally accessible washrooms, and change rooms.

Looking for a little more action? On the other side of the lake, you can rent canoes and kayaks at the Centre de plein air du Lac-Leamy.

  • Distance: 3.8 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: Yes
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash on the trail, not allowed at the beach

Interactive map: Leamy Lake Park and Beach Trail route map, parking and amenities

Historic Brewery Creek Walk


Brewery Creek
is lined with boardwalks between the Théâtre de l’Île and the Brasseurs du Temps, in Gatineau. This walk leads you to Portageurs Park, and the Voyageurs Pathway.

  • Distance: 3.4 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Universal access: Yes
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash

Interactive map: Historic Brewery Creek Walk route map, parking and amenities

A Day in the Countryside


This hiking trail is located in the Wakefield sector of Gatineau Park. Explore this area of dense forest, streams and lakes.

Start your hike at parking lot P17, and head south on Trail 72 toward Brown Lake day shelter. To loop back, take Trail 57, then Trail 52, and continue until you reach Trail 72 once more.

After your walk, a side trip to the town of Wakefield itself should be on your list. If you’ve never visited before, you’re in for a lovely surprise. Wakefield is regionally known for its local artisans, bakeries, tasty cuisine and music venues.

  • Distance: 4.9 km
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Universal access: No
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash from April 15 to November 30

Interactive map: A Day in the Countryside route map, parking and amenities


Pick one of these routes, or check out our summer activities interactive map for more suggestions. There are hundreds of kilometres of pathways and hiking and walking trails you can take to explore the great outdoors. Discover other summer activities in Canada's Capital Region: there is something for everyone!

Remember: Most routes in the urban areas follow pathways that are shared between pedestrians, runners, cyclists, in-line skaters, parents with strollers and people with mobility impairments. Please be considerate, and share the path.