Now that warm weather is here to stay for a while, everyone’s looking for ways to spend a little more time outside. And, we at the NCC are committed to making spaces available to you, safely.

This summer, rediscover Canada’s Capital Region through the NCC’s parks, trails, pathways and parkways!

Our new summer activities interactive map will help you find things to do and places to explore all over Ottawa–Gatineau. Whether you feel like hiking, cycling, picnicking, swimming, canoeing or just taking in the views, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in our capital!

With your cooperation, we can all safely enjoy the outdoors.

  • Be COVID-safe: Follow directives from local and provincial public health authorities.
  • Avoid crowds: Find your way to less-visited destinations, and visit popular sites at off-peak times.
  • Leave no trace: Be respectful of other people and nature by following the rules specific to your activity and location.

Top summer activities

Hiking and walking

Walking is great for your physical and mental health — plus, it’s free and it offers a wide range of safe experiences. From trails in Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt, to the paved multi-use pathways in Ottawa–Gatineau, to the parkways open exclusively for active use — the options are endless!

Even with the hundreds of kilometres of trails and paths available, you will likely encounter other people on your outings. Be considerate of others: keep right, pass left and make sure that there’s room for others to pass.

Interactive map: Suggested hiking and walking routes

Blog: Lesser-known hiking and walking trails in and around Ottawa–Gatineau

Dog walking

From April 15 to November 30, leashed dogs are welcome on most NCC trails. This includes the Capital Pathway, urban parks and most Gatineau Park and Greenbelt trails. That’s over 500 km of dog-friendly trails to explore!

Keep dogs on a short leash. To let your dog run off-leash, go to an off-leash dog park. Clean up after your dog and take poop bags home to dispose of them or use an on-site garbage can.

Interactive map: Suggested dog walking routes


Cycling

Ottawa–Gatineau has plenty of options for cyclists. There are bike paths and routes for all ability levels. Besides the 200 km of multi-use pathways in the Capital Pathway network, there are over 50 km of parkways open exclusively for active use this summer. Cycling will take you past some of the most scenic locations in the region.

The open parkways and pathways are available to all active users — whether they’re on wheels or on foot. Please be respectful of others: ride at safe speeds, be predictable and share the path.

When roads are open to motor vehicles, you have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signs, signals and speed limits, and ride in single file on the right-hand side of the road.

Interactive map: Suggested cycling routes

Blog: NCC’s guide to cycling in Ottawa–Gatineau

Mountain biking

Starting May 15, Gatineau Park features 90 km of trails for mountain biking. To tackle this hilly terrain on a bike, you need to be in good shape and have some mountain biking skills.

The Park’s mountain biking trails are shared with hikers — always yield the right-of-way to them. Help us protect our natural areas by using only the trails that are open for mountain biking.

Interactive map: Suggested mountain biking routes


Picknicking

Nothing says summer like a picnic! Most of the NCC’s urban parks in Ottawa–Gatineau boast great areas to enjoy a picnic. There are also sheltered and unsheltered picnic areas in the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park. Choose a table, or spread out a blanket on the rolling lawn of one of our parks or by a river shoreline.

Bring your own lunch, or grab a bite at a seasonal outdoor canteen or patio — like an NCC Bistro, the Tavern on the Hill or Tavern on the Falls — all offering locally sourced food.

Interactive map: Suggested picnic areas


Swimming

Beat the summer heat at one of the seven NCC-maintained beaches in the region! Most beaches offer accessible picnic tables, change rooms, washroom facilities and convenient pay parking.

For your safety, swim only when lifeguards are on duty, and stay in the swimming areas marked by buoys.

On weekends and on hot summer days, our beaches become extremely popular destinations. Get an early start, or visit on weekdays to avoid the crowds. Our interactive map also includes beaches from our partners at the Ville de Gatineau and City of Ottawa, providing more options to spread out in the sunshine!

Interactive map: Suggested beaches for swimming


Canoeing, kayaking and other water sports

From lakes to creeks to rivers, Ottawa–Gatineau has many waterways to discover. Choose your watercraft — canoe, kayak, rowboat or stand-up paddleboard — and spend some peaceful time on the water. Always wear a life jacket when boating.

With a Quebec fishing licence, you can fish in Gatineau Park, except at Pink, Harrington and Édouard lakes. Likewise, with an Ontario fishing licence, you can drop your line in either the Rideau River or the Ottawa River.

Our interactive map shows boat launches and equipment rental locations operated by the NCC and private operators. Access to most boat launches is free. Equipment rental fees apply.

Interactive map: Suggested boating starting points


Summer activity suggestions from our partners

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