Fall Rhapsody medallion

Mer Bleue often reaches visitor capacity in the fall. For a less crowded experience, choose a different Greenbelt trail instead.


Located in the southeastern sector of Canada’s Capital Greenbelt, the 3,500-hectare Mer Bleue conservation area provides a unique opportunity to see a northern boreal landscape. The Mer Bleue Bog is approximately 7,700 years old, and is a habitat for many species of regionally and significantly rare plants, birds and other wildlife.

The Mer Bleue Bog is one of the most outstanding natural features of the Greenbelt, and is one of its most visited areas. Here, you will find interpretive boardwalks, sand ridges, natural hiking trails and forests.

Important

  • When out enjoying nature, please follow the principles of outdoor ethics.
  • Dogs and other pets on leash are permitted on trails 50, 51 and 53, from April 15 to November 30. For conservation reasons, dogs are not allowed at any time on the Mer Bleue Bog Trail or Dewberry Trail, or at Carlsbad Springs. In winter, dogs are not allowed on any Greenbelt trails.
  • To help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable outing, check out these tips about safety in the Greenbelt.

Points of interest

Nature trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

With more than 20 kilometres of trails, Mer Bleue offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Access to all trails is free.

  • Trail 51 starts at parking lot P20 and links to Trail 50, which can be accessed via parking lot P23.
  • The Dewberry Trail can also be accessed from parking lot P23.
  • Trail 53 (P21) is accessible year-round in winter. In summer, only the southern portion of this trail is accessible.
  • The Mer Bleue Bog Trail is accessed from parking lot P22.

Tips

The busiest spot is the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, popular with families because of its universally accessible boardwalk and storytelling route. It’s an ideal spot to take young children for a walk — even with a stroller.

For a great hike that’s less crowded, try trails 50 and 51. The wooden footbridge in the southern section of Trail 50 is an excellent spot for observing turtles, as well as several species of frog, including the bullfrog.

Dewberry Trail

The Dewberry Trail at Mer Bleue is only one kilometre long, making it perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities. You can extend your walk by taking one of the many other trails that link to it. This trail also passes through a young forest and an old forest, with a marked variation in habitats between the two types. Discover the remarkable trees in this area.

Birding and picnicking are also popular activities at Mer Bleue. Did you know that the bog attracts many bird species, including the rose-breasted grosbeak and green heron?

Facilities

  • Parking: Free, year-round parking is available at parking lots P20, P21, P22*and P23.
    * The gate opens daily at 8 am and closes at sunset. In summer, the gate closes at 9 pm sharp. The parking lot P24 at Carlsbad Springs offers free parking, but is closed in winter.
  • Washrooms: There are outhouses at parking lots P20, P21, P22, P23 and P24.
  • Picnic area: There are unsheltered picnic areas at parking lots P20 and P21, and both sheltered and unsheltered picnic areas by the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, at parking lot P22.
  • Universal accessibility: The trails in this sector do not meet universal accessibility (UA) standards. The area from parking lot P22 to the start of the Mer Bleue Bog Trail is wheelchair accessible. It features UA picnic tables and a UA stone dust platform with a great view of the bog. There are spots in the parking lot designated for those who have an accessible parking permit, and washrooms are wheelchair accessible.
  • Hours, directions, maps and planning tools

About Mer Bleue

Climate research

The Mer Bleue Bog plays an important role in stabilizing the climate. It is the largest bog and natural area in Canada’s Capital Region and the second-largest bog in southern Ontario. As such, it is one of the most studied bogs in the world. A permanent research station at the centre of the bog measures the amount of carbon dioxide and methane released by the wetland. For more information, read about the Peatland Carbon Study.

Mer Bleue is recognized in Canada and abroad under the following designations:

  • a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • a provincially significant wetland
  • a provincially significant life and earth science area of natural and scientific interest

Interpretive walks and photography

Discover the bog’s many interesting facets with a self-guided tour along the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, a 1.2-kilometre interpretive boardwalk. Not surprisingly, the bog’s stunning landscape makes this location probably the most photographed part of the Greenbelt.

Storytelling: The fascinating history of Mer Bleue

The Mer Bleue Bog has a long-standing history that predates the NCC. It is a natural wetland, as opposed to a human-made one. In fact, through its modern history, it has been seen as an inconvenience to development, and people have tried to get rid of it — fortunately without success. Learn about Mer Bleue’s past in our blog.

The springhouse at Carlsbad Springs

In the 1860s, Daniel Eastman, a local innkeeper, began inviting guests to the natural mineral springs in Carlsbad. Around 1868, the Dominion House Hotel was built on this site. It included a new pump house, some gazebos and a footbridge across Bearbrook Creek. It quickly became Ottawa’s most prestigious spa resort for the elite.

In 1906, the hotel was renamed Carlsbad Springs after the famous health spa in the Czech Republic, called Karlovy Vary.

Other nearby activities

Greenbelt farms nearby

Make the most of your outing! After your hike, visit a Greenbelt farm — and take home fresh, local produce. Eating well tastes so good!

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