Shirleys Bay is located at the western edge of the National Capital Region. The natural wetland features along the shore, as well as the inland wetlands, provide many benefits, including improved water quality and thriving wildlife habitats.

Things to do at Shirleys Bay

Shirleys Bay is great for outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, boating, cycling, birding and picnicking. During the winter, the bay area offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Within the conservation area, there are seven kilometres of hiking trails and two recreational paths: the Watts Creek Pathway and the Greenbelt Pathway West. There is also a boat launch for water-based recreational activities.


Washrooms: There are two outhouses at parking lot P1 by the Shoreline Trail

Parking: Free. Year-round parking is available at the P1, P2 and P3 parking lots.

Picnic areas: There are sheltered and unsheltered picnic areas at parking lot P1 by the Shoreline Trail.

Universal accessibility: The Watts Creek Pathway and Greenbelt Pathway West are universally accessible.

Wetlands and birding

Shirleys Bay is one of the Ottawa Valley’s most diverse and undeveloped wild areas. These habitats support a variety of plants and animals, some of which are rare and regionally significant. Shirleys Bay forms part of an important bird migration route along the Ottawa River, a migration gateway for Canada’s arctic and boreal birds. More than 270 bird species have been seen in the Shirleys Bay area over the years. With over seven kilometres of accessible trails and two multi-use pathways, this area is a great spot for birding.