The best running trails in Ottawa are Rideau Canal Loop, Rideau River Eastern Pathway, Ottawa River Pathway, Experimental Farm Pathway, Gatineau Park Pathway, Champlain Loop, Old Quarry Trail, Jack Pine Trail, Rockcliffe Pathway, King Mountain Trail, Mer Bleue Bog Trail, and the Lake Leamy Trail.
|Rideau Canal Loop
-Amenities available (changing rooms, food/drink kiosks, etc.)
|Rideau River Eastern Pathway
-Waterfront & forest scenery
|Ottawa River Pathway
-Waterfront & forest scenery
-Paved roads with soft hills
|Experimental Farm Pathway
-Open all year
-Available parking and washrooms
|Gatineau Park Pathway
|Old Quarry Trail
|Jack Pine Trail
-Waterfront & forest scenery
-Beautiful sunrise and sunset views
|King Mountain Trail
-Views of Gatineau Park
-Beautiful during Fall season
|Mer Bleue Bog Trail
|-Easy & very short trail
|Lake Leamy Trail
Rideau Canal Loop
The Rideau Canal Loop is an easy 4.2km trail that takes you through a loop around Dow’s Lake and needs an average of 1hr 13 mins. to complete.
You’ll be treated to waterfront views and, during winter, the world’s largest skating rink, a.k.a. Rideau Canal.
Rideau Canal has several trail options, and this one, in particular, has you heading out to the eastern side and around Dow’s Lake before returning on the western side.
It’s one of the best simply because it’s accessible to everyone and has a lot of amenities.
Although it can be a fairly busy area because of its popularity, you won’t regret taking this running path due to the scenic views it offers. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, it’s definitely a must-try!
Rideau River Eastern Pathway
The Rideau River Eastern Pathway is one of the more challenging routes, with a length of 23.5km and an average of 5 hrs. 50 mins. to complete.
The trail starts from Rideau Falls and follows along the length of the river all the way to Mooney’s Bay Park. Because you’re following the river and passing through parks, you get both views of the blue water and the greenery which covers this path.
Its pathways are pleasantly paved, so you won’t have to worry much about accidents along the way.
Thanks to the sprawling nature that dots this trail, it’s a popular spot for outdoor activities like running, biking, fishing, or even just walking and enjoying the fresh air. For the best views, make sure to visit from May to October.
Ottawa River Pathway
The Ottawa River Pathway is a moderately challenging trail at 11.1km, which takes an average of 2 hrs. 30 mins. to complete. This particular route along the Ottawa River will begin at the intersection of Tweedle Road and Jeanne-D’Arc boulevard.
It’s a very straightforward track, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost along the way, even as you pass through Saint Louis Woods.
Because it passes along the river’s shoreline, the scenic views of the water become a cross-country ski track in winter.
Since its roads are paved with soft hills and the forest paths are neatly groomed, it’s a great track for running, even during the cold season. Even if you’re not aiming to finish the whole route, you can take this path for a nice walk.
The best time to visit this pathway is from November up until March.
Experimental Farm Pathway
The Experimental Farm Pathway is an easy route of about 7.2km that takes an average of 1 hr. 48 mins. to complete.
It connects Woodroffe Avenue to the Central Experimental Farms with its paved roads, making it a pleasant and safe run all throughout.
Because it’s a multi-use trail, you’ll most likely encounter other people taking walks or biking here. It’s open throughout the year, and the sights are just as beautiful no matter what the season, so feel free to visit at your convenience.
If you’re heading here with your vehicles, there are available parking spaces where you can leave them while you run. There are washrooms throughout the path as well.
Gatineau Park Pathway
Across the Ottawa River and right beside Ottawa is the Gatineau Park Pathway, an easy 8.9km trail that takes an average of 2 hrs. 18 mins. to complete.
On this route, you’ll be treated to scenic forests and wildlife that’ll make you feel like it’s a whole new world.
It starts from central Gatineau and will pass through forests, grasslands, bogs, and suburban neighborhoods throughout the trail. With its well-maintained forest pathways, it’s a favorite for runners.
What’s more, it’s open throughout the year, so be sure to add this pathway to your next run for a calm forest adventure.
The Champlain Loop is a challenging route with a length of 18.2km that takes an average of 4 hrs. 35 mins. to complete. It takes you through a loop around Ottawa and Gatineau, making it a cross-city adventure.
Since you’ll be running just by the side of the river, you can get shots of the river and architecture and maybe even make friends along the way since it’s a popular trail. Specifically, it’s popular for bird-watching, biking, running, and paddle sports.
Make sure to bring enough water and take frequent breaks because this is quite a challenging trail.
Old Quarry Trail
The Old Quarry Trail is an easy 2.7km route that only takes around 35 mins. on average to finish. It’ll have you passing over a meadow and seeing nature up and personal.
One of its biggest highlights is that it has a boardwalk where you can explore and take scenic pictures while taking a short break. However, Spring and Fall see high water levels for this part, so you’re better off exploring the cycle path for your own safety.
Because of how short this loop is, you can extend it if you want and explore more of the natural wonders of the other areas surrounding this trail.
Visitors mainly visit this pathway to go bird-watching, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking too.
Take note; it’s only partially paved, so be sure to take care while making your way through this route.
Jack Pine Trail
The Jack Pine Trail is an easy 1.8km loop that takes just an average of 25 mins. to complete, making it one of the best running paths for beginners.
This loop’s best features are the tall and flourishing trees that surround it, from lush greens during spring to vivid yellow and oranges during the fall. It’s a popular trail for activities like bird-watching, hiking, and snowshoeing during winter.
It’s open throughout the year, so you can enjoy all this area has to offer, whatever the season, and see for yourself how its natural landscape changes with the weather. Washrooms and picnic tables are available at the start of the trail for your convenience.
Rockcliffe Pathway is an easy 2.7km out-and-back trail that takes just an average of 38 mins. to complete. Unlike most of the other multi-use trails, this one is specifically popular for runners.
Not only can you enjoy a quieter run through this path, but it also offers amazing sights, such as a lookout that overlooks the water. Don’t be shy to take pictures whenever you’re taking a break from your run as a keepsake.
Much of what you’ll see here are waterfront views, but being able to run through this route during sunrise and sunset makes the experience even more breathtaking.
King Mountain Trail
The King Mountain Trail is an easy and short 1.8km trail that takes an average of 40 mins. to complete, and at the end of it, you’ll be treated to a stunning lookout.
This trail is abundant in views of the surrounding farmland and ridges in Gatineau Park.
You’ll also get a good look at the Parliament buildings along the run, and there are helpful signs along the way that give interesting info about the local plant and wildlife.
Make sure to visit during autumn for those gorgeous fall colors while on your run.
Mer Bleue Bog Trail
The Mer Bleau Bog Trail is an easy 1.4km near Ottawa that takes an average of 19 mins. to complete.
It’s definitely one of the quickest paths, so beginners can turn this into their practice field, especially since the trail is paved and quite flat.
Aside from runners, the area is also popular for other outdoor activities like birding and hiking. Since it’s open all year, you can enjoy the relaxing natural scenes this route offers any time you want.
Lake Leamy Trail
The Lake Leamy Trail is another easy trail that’s only 2.4km long and takes an average of 37 mins. to complete. With how easy it is, beginner runners can fearlessly tackle this track and enjoy it.
Aside from running and biking, bird-watchers enjoy this area because of the abundance of wildlife that calls it home.
Even if more experienced runners may find it a bit too easy, it’s still a nice place to visit, if only for the photo opportunities it offers.
The Best Easy Running Trails in Ottawa
The best easy running trails in Ottawa are the Jack Pine Trail, King Mountain Trail, and the Mer Bleau Bog Trail. They’re all short and quick routes.
The Best Intermediate Running Trails in Ottawa
The best intermediate running trail in Ottawa is the Champlain Loop, which is 18.2 km long.
The Best Challenging Running Trails in Ottawa
The best challenging running trail in Ottawa is the Rideau River Eastern Pathway which is a whopping 23.5km in length.