Habitats, plants and wildlife

Stony Swamp is the most ecologically diverse protected area in the Ottawa Valley. The swamp’s bedrock dates back to Precambrian times, the earliest geological era. Stony Swamp is classified as a provincially significant wetland and an  Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI).

The area has more than 700 species of plants, which is the highest number counted in any part of Canada’s Capital Region. Stony Swamp is home to 63 species of regionally rare plants, 11 of which exist nowhere else in the Greenbelt.

A variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds make their home in this area. Stony Swamp has 251 regionally rare bird species. This includes 17 species at risk, one of which is the northern goshawk. There are also many interesting habitats:

  • a sugar maple forest
  • small alvar clearings
  • boggy wetlands
  • regenerating pastures
  • a lichen population designated as a species at risk

Discover the remarkable trees in this area.


Washrooms: Stony Swamp has outhouses located at the following parking lots: P5, P7, P8, P9, P11 and P12. 

Parking: Free. Year-round parking is available at the P4 to P13 parking lots.

Picnic areas: There is a picnic area by the Jack Pine Trail (P9) and a sheltered picnic area by the Sarsaparilla Trail (P7).

Things to do at Stony Swamp

The Stony Swamp sector has more trails than any other area of the Greenbelt — over 40 kilometres. It is an ideal location for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You can also ride your bike at Stony Swamp, along a section of the Greenbelt Pathway West, which connects to The Great Trail of Canada and the Rideau Trail.

On the trails, you will find wetland boardwalks and interpretive exhibits on geology and natural history. The Lime Kiln Trail passes a historic kiln, the Sarsaparilla Trail has a dock extending onto a beaver pond and the Jack Pine Trail crosses beaver ponds where you can observe many species of ducks and frogs.

Families will also enjoy tobogganing at Bruce Pit, where there is also an off-leash dog-walking area.

In this sector you will also find the Wild Bird Care Centre, where they care for and treat wild birds that are sick or injured.