Are you a fur parent who has taken your fur baby out on a hike before? If not, it’s a pretty fun experience!
There’s nothing quite like basking in nature’s beauty and having your dog do the same. The peace, tranquility, and bonding experience that it brings is something that you can never get from human companions.
This is what I experienced when I went out on my first-ever hike with my own fur baby. I still treasure that moment to this very day, and I want you to be able to experience it too.
Now, I’ll be showing you some of Ottawa’s dog-friendly hiking trails so you know where to go next and which one will suit you and your dog’s preferences best.
Bruce Pit Dog Park
Location: 175 Cedarview Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 6A5, Canada
Length: 3.2 km
Elevation gain: 48 m
Route type: Loop
Bruce Pit Park is a popular recreational area located in the west end of the city, in the Nepean district of Ottawa, Ontario. It is known for its diverse range of activities and natural features, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The park is known for its abundant wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and other small animals.
It’s a popular spot for birdwatching, as various species can be observed throughout the year. The park’s natural habitat provides an opportunity for nature enthusiasts to enjoy wildlife viewing.
One of the main highlights of Bruce Pit Park is its off-leash dog park, where dogs can run and play freely. The park provides fenced sections for both small and large dogs, allowing them to socialize and exercise in a safe environment.
Besides the dog park, Bruce Pit also features several walking trails that wind through its natural landscape. Here, you can walk with your dog as long as they are on a leash.
These trails are suitable for walking, jogging, or cycling and offer a pleasant outdoor experience. The paths are well-maintained and provide scenic views of the surrounding nature.
Greenbelt Pathway West
Location: Greenbelt Pathway West, Nepean, ON, Canada
Length: 4.2 km
Elevation gain: 99 m
Route type: Point to Point
This section of the Greenbelt Pathway allows you to explore with your dog all year round except winter, as long as they’re on a leash. As a result, this trail is a popular choice for dog owners to enjoy a walk in a natural setting.
On the trail, you will have the opportunity to explore and appreciate the region’s natural beauty while being within close proximity to urban areas. You will find a range of trail options, including paved pathways, gravel trails, and natural surface paths.
Greenbelt Pathway East
Location: Greenbelt Pathway East, Ottawa, Gloucester, ON, Canada
Length: 5.5 km
Elevation gain: 137 m
Route type: Out & back
This trail, located on the eastern side of Greenbelt, also allows dogs as long as they are leashed. It is a well-maintained pathway that features flat terrain that makes it easy for your dog to navigate.
As you walk through this trail, you will be able to admire the Sir-George-Etienne-Cartier Parkway, which is right next to the path.
Just like Greenbelt Pathway West, you’ll be able to appreciate the natural beauty of the region, so take this time to take a leisurely stroll. Take note that during the winter, dogs aren’t allowed due to safety reasons.
Jack Pine Trail
Location: Moodie Dr, Nepean, ON K2R 1H4, Canada
Length: 3.7 km
Elevation gain: 98 m
Route type: Loop
Jack Pine Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Ottawa. It is part of the Stony Swamp Conservation Area, which is managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC).
It features varied terrain, including some uneven sections and slight inclines, making it suitable for hikers of different skill levels. There is also plenty of terrain that is easy enough for your dog to traverse with relative ease.
As you go through the trail, you will meander through a diverse natural environment, including mixed forests, wetlands, and beaver ponds.
It provides you with an opportunity to observe and appreciate the local flora and fauna, including jack pine trees, bird species, and other wildlife, with your fur baby.
Along the trail, you’ll find informative signs and markers that provide details about the surrounding ecosystem. You will also find highlighted points of interest and educational insights about the area’s natural history.
One of the Jack Pine Trail’s highlights is its wildlife viewing opportunities. You can spot a variety of bird species, such as woodpeckers, warblers, and hawks, as well as small mammals like beavers, muskrats, and deer.
I advise that you bring binoculars or a camera to enhance your wildlife viewing experience. But please be reminded to keep your dog under control so they don’t harass any of the animals on the trail.
Once you’re done exploring with your dog, you can head to the trailhead area of Jack Pine Trail. It offers picnic tables and benches where you can relax and enjoy a picnic lunch or a break with your fur baby.
Location: Ottawa, ON K2G 1W2, Canada
Operating hours: Open 24 hours
Length: 3.5 km
Elevation gain: 60 m
Route type: Loop
Pinhey Forest is a historic woodland area that you can find in the rural area of West Carleton-March Ward. The forest covers approximately 110 hectares (270 acres) and is known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities.
The forest is a designated conservation area, and as such, it offers visitors a chance to explore nature. The terrain is stable enough for you to take your dog on a hike along the trails and observe wildlife in its natural habitat.
A large variety of plant and animal species call the forest their home, including white-tailed deer, beavers, and a wide range of bird species.
One of the highlights of Pinhey Forest is the extensive trail network that runs throughout the area.
These trails provide opportunities for trekking with your dog, as the terrain is relatively flat. This makes it easy for them to explore and look around the trail without you having to worry about their safety.
Location: Conroy Rd, Ottawa, ON K1T 3S4, Canada
Length: 5.1 km
Elevation gain: 86 m
Route type: Loop
Conroy Pit is primarily known for its expansive off-leash dog park. This place offers a large open space where dogs can run, play, and socialize freely.
If you want to socialize with other pet owners and help your dog make some friends, this is a great spot to do just that. You can also enjoy plenty of outdoor activities here with other dog enthusiasts.
As for the size of the off-leash area, Conroy Pit covers a considerable area, providing plenty of room for dogs to roam and explore. The park offers fenced sections for both small and large dogs, ensuring their safety and allowing for appropriate socialization.
Conroy Pit’s off-leash area also has a natural setting that complements the area and offers a pleasant backdrop for your dog’s playtime. It also offers a serene environment for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
In addition to the off-leash area, Conroy Pit features a network of trails that extend beyond the dog park. These trails are suitable for on-leash walks, allowing you to explore the surrounding area while enjoying a peaceful stroll with your dog.
Hog’s Back Falls
Location: 600 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 1H8, Canada
Length: 1.3 km
Elevation gain: 30 m
Route type: Loop
Hog’s Back Falls is a picturesque urban location that is situated along the Rideau River. It is known for its beautiful scenery, recreational opportunities, and historical significance.
The main attraction here is the aforementioned Hog’s Back Falls, a stunning waterfall and rapids on the Rideau River. The rushing water and rocky terrain provide a scenic backdrop for you and your dog to enjoy
The trail itself is quite easy to traverse and has flat terrain that is perfect for dogs. They will be able to explore the surrounding areas with little to no difficulty.
Once you’re done looking around the trail and the Hog’s Back Falls, you can have a quick picnic with your fur baby.
The park has several picnic areas equipped with tables and benches. You can bring your own home-cooked meal and enjoy a leisurely time surrounded by nature.
Location: 512 Island Park Dr, Ottawa, ON K1Y 0B4, Canada
Length: 1.4 km
Elevation gain: 30 m
Route type: Loop
Hampton Park is a popular urban park that can be found on the west end of the city, specifically in the neighborhood of Westboro.
The park spans an area of approximately 34 acres of land and offers a variety of recreational activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy.
It is known for its open green spaces, which provide ample room for picnicking, playing sports, or simply enjoying the outdoors. Your dog can explore and play around the park as long as they are on a leash.
Because of this, you can also expect to see plenty of other dog owners along with their fur babies. Make sure to let your dog socialize with others so they can enjoy their stay in the park!
Beryl Gaffney Park
Location: 3889 Rideau Valley Dr, Nepean, ON K4M 1A5, Canada
Length: 4.2 km
Elevation gain: 73 m
Route type: Out & Back
This trail is one of the best places to walk for owners who want their dogs to be able to explore with more freedom. It goes along the Rideau River and has a lot of pine trees for you to admire.
The main draw of this trail is its off-leash policy for well-behaved dogs. If your dog is behaved enough, you can expect them to socialize with other dogs and their owners.
It’s also a very common occurrence for your dog to interact with cyclists and other hikers passing along the trail.
The trails on this road are wide and well-kept, so there is plenty of room for everyone to use them. Besides the off-leash policy, this trail is also known for its beautiful scenery.
Everywhere you look, you and your dog will find a variety of different trees as you explore the path. To top it all off, you will also be treated to a breathtaking view of the Rideau River.
Needless to say, this trail is perfect for dog owners who want to get an immersive experience of nature’s beauty.
Crazy Horse Trail
Location: March Rd, Ottawa, ON K2K 1X7, Canada
Length: 6.6 km
Elevation gain: 61 m
Route type: Loop
On the west side of Ottawa, the Crazy Horse Trail is a beautiful path that goes through the Carp Hills.
This is a pretty good trail that tends to go under everyone’s radar. But from my experience, it is without a doubt a great place for you and your dog to trek.
It takes you on a simple out-and-back hike that loops around the beaver pond at the end. Even though it’s near a town, the Crazy Horse Trail makes you feel like you’re in a very secluded part of nature.
Because of this, it’s a great place to go hiking with your dog if you want to have some special bonding time with each other. It’s also well-marked and the terrain is stable, so it’s great for beginners.
Essential Items for Your Trek with Your Dog
When taking your dog on a trail, it’s important to be prepared and bring some essential items to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of your furry friend. Here are some items that I believe should be in your bag when going out on a hike with your dog.
1. Leash and Collar/Harness
Ensure you have a sturdy leash, preferably around 6 feet in length, to keep your dog under control and comply with any leash regulations on the trail. A properly fitting collar or harness is also essential.
2. Identification Tags
Make sure your dog wears a collar with identification tags that include their name, contact information, and any relevant medical information. In case your dog gets lost, these tags will help others contact you.
3. Water and Bowl
Carry enough fresh water for both you and your dog, especially on longer hikes. Bring a collapsible water bowl or a lightweight container for your dog to drink from.
4. Poop Bags
It’s crucial to clean up after your dog and keep the trail clean so that other users won’t be inconvenienced. Pack plenty of poop bags to collect and dispose of your dog’s waste properly.
5. First Aid Kit
Have a basic first aid kit that includes items like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and tweezers. This will come in handy for minor injuries or accidents on the trail.
6. Treats and Snacks
Bring some dog treats or snacks to reward your dog and keep their energy levels up during the hike. Treats can also be helpful for training or redirecting their attention when needed.
7. Doggy Backpack
If your dog is used to wearing a backpack, you can consider having them carry their own supplies, such as their water, collapsible bowl, and poop bags. Ensure the backpack is properly fitted and not too heavy for your dog.
8. Tick Prevention Items
Depending on the trail and season, ticks might be a concern. Consult with your veterinarian about appropriate tick prevention measures for your dog, such as tick collars, spot-on treatments, or oral medications.
9. Towel or Blanket
Carry a towel or a small blanket to provide your dog with a comfortable place to rest or to clean them off if they get dirty or wet.
10. Dog Boots
In certain trail conditions, such as rugged terrain or extreme weather, dog boots can help protect your dog’s paws from sharp rocks, thorns, hot pavement, or cold surfaces.
Remember to consider the specific needs of your dog, the trail’s conditions, and the weather when packing these items. Always prioritize the safety, comfort, and happiness of your dog while on the trail.
Dog-Friendly Trail Etiquette
It’s crucial to follow proper trail etiquette because dog-friendly trails are public spaces that other people use. No one wants to have a bad experience because of a misbehaving dog, right?
To ensure a positive experience for everyone, including yourself, make sure to follow the guidelines I’ve listed below.
1. Leash your dog.
Keep your dog on a leash unless you are in a designated off-leash area. This helps maintain control over your dog and ensures the safety and comfort of other trail users, including people, other dogs, and wildlife.
2. Pick up after your own dog’s waste.
Always carry waste bags and promptly clean up after your dog. Properly dispose of the waste in designated receptacles, or take it with you if necessary.
Nobody wants to encounter dog waste on the trail, and it helps to keep the environment clean and healthy.
3. Yield to other trail users.
Practice yielding to other trail users, especially when encountering hikers, runners, cyclists, or individuals with small children. Step aside, allow them to pass, and keep your dog close to you to avoid any disturbances.
4. Control your dog’s behavior.
Ensure that your dog is well-behaved and under control at all times. This includes preventing excessive barking, jumping on people, or chasing wildlife.
Not all trail users may be comfortable around dogs, so it’s important to respect their space and comfort.
5. Respect the local wildlife and nature.
Keep your dog away from wildlife and refrain from allowing them to disturb or chase animals. Additionally, avoid trampling on vegetation or damaging the natural surroundings.
Stay on designated trails and follow any specific rules or regulations for the area.
6. Be prepared as much as possible.
Bring water for both you and your dog to stay hydrated during your outing. It’s also a good idea to carry basic first aid supplies and any necessary medications for your dog.
Before going out, be aware of the weather conditions and adjust your plans accordingly.
If your dog is friendly and comfortable around other dogs, allow them to interact on the trail.
However, always ask the other dog owner for permission before allowing any interactions to ensure a positive experience for both dogs.
By following these guidelines, you can foster a positive experience for everyone.