Local use

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In Canada’s Capital, we don’t just endure winter — we embrace it! Blanketed with a fresh layer of snow, Ottawa–Gatineau’s vast network of parks and trails becomes a winter wonderland.

That we need to be able to take part in safe and healthy outdoor activities is especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of a pilot project, the NCC is adding close to 50 percent more accessible winter trail space to the Ottawa area. Public health directives and measures established by local authorities apply at all times.

Our new interactive map will help you find activities and explore the region’s top nature destinations. With over 450 km of trails for skiing, snowshoeing, snow biking, walking and hiking, hills for tobogganing and fire pits to warm up by, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in our “Winter Capital”!

Bundle up, head outdoors, and don’t forget to enter our #WinterCapital challenge!

Let us know what you think of our winter program. Take our online survey now!

Interactive Map

Map of the National Capital Region with the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park in orange.

Use our #WinterCapital interactive map to find suggested routes in the Capital. Pick an activity, and narrow the results using the duration and level of difficulty filters. 

Your perfect outing is just a few clicks away!

    Top destinations

    The interactive map offers a sample of things to do in Canada’s Capital Region during the colder months — but there’s more! Explore our top destinations for more suggestions.

    Downtown

    The urban core of Ottawa and Gatineau is nothing short of magical. It features the world’s largest skating rink, over 100 km of winter trails and beautiful views of the frozen shorelines. Most destinations are accessible by public transit. Rediscover the area’s architectural gems under a dusting of snow.

    Canada’s Capital Greenbelt

    A snow-covered trail in the Greenbelt

    The Greenbelt is a place for nature and people. This vast, protected space showcases a mosaic of landscapes, including farms, forests and wetlands. It forms a horseshoe shape around the southern part of Ottawa from east to west, and its proximity to residential areas makes it a choice destination for safe outings this winter.

    Nature lovers can observe many species of wildlife, and outdoor enthusiasts won’t run short of activities to enjoy. With over 150 kilometres trails and some of the best tobogganing hills in the Ottawa region, this winter wonderland makes an excellent place for family outings — great for all ages.

    Gatineau Park

    Skier on a cross-country ski trail in Gatineau Park.

    Gatineau Park boasts one of North America’s most beautiful and popular winter trail networks. It is the second-most visited park in Canada, and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts to engage in recreational activities that respect the natural environment.

    A favourite among local residents and visitors — and for good reason — the Park often reaches visitor capacity. The parking lots closest to the downtown core fill up quickly on weekends and in good weather. For an optimal experience, visit the Park at off-peak times, such as during the week and toward the end of the day.

    Important: There is a fee to access the cross-country ski, snowshoe and snow biking trails in Gatineau Park.

    Plan your visit

    To make the most of your visit, be sure to plan your route, bring plenty of water and snacks, and dress according to the weather. Some locations also offer equipment rental if you don’t have your own. Check the hours, access routes and fees before heading out.

    List of winter-maintained parking lots

    Engaging in outdoor activities involves certain risks, and it is always wise to exercise caution.

    Other tips

    • Follow public health directives and the measures established by local authorities at all times; they may vary by province.
    • Maintain physical distancing, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask where required.
    • Stay back from the pack. For an optimal experience, find your way to less-visited destinations.
    • Know and follow the rules specific to the location you’re visiting and the activity you’re engaging in.
    • Always carry a map, and share your itinerary. If you’re setting out alone in Gatineau Park or the Greenbelt, bring a cellphone, a whistle and a flashlight in case of emergency.
    • Leave no trace. If there are no waste receptacles nearby, take your trash back home, where you can dispose of it properly.

    #WinterCapital Challenge

    If you’re up for a challenge or two, take part in the Challenge on the Rideau Canal Skateway or the winter trail network — organized in partnership with Virtual Run Canada and Sportstats.

    • #WinterCapital Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge: January 10 to March 15 (weather and conditions permitting)
    • #WinterCapital Trail Network Challenge: January 1st to March 15

    Registered participants will be encouraged to track and share their progress with their friends for free. Those who wish to receive a recognition package and medal for their accomplishment can do so by paying a nominal fee.

    The Virtual Run Canada Website is not under the control of the NCC and is provided solely for the convenience of users. The NCC is not responsible for the accuracy, currency or the reliability of the content. The NCC does not offer any guarantee in that regard and is not responsible for the information found through these links, nor does it endorse the sites and their content.

    The users should also be aware that non-Government of Canada sites to which the NCC links is not subject to the Privacy Act or the Official Languages Act, and may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. The information offered may be available only in the language(s) used by the sites in question, and users should read the privacy policies of the sites before providing personal information.
     

    Suggestions from our partners

    There are many more places to enjoy winter around Ottawa, in Eastern Ontario and in the Outaouais region. Check out some suggestions from our partners at Ottawa Tourism and Outaouais Tourism.

    Thank you to our dedicated community partners: