- Trail Closures
- Additional resources
The City of Ottawa owns large tracts of natural lands in the Carp Hills, for the purposes of environmental protection and outdoor recreation. The Carp Hills are a local outcropping of the Canadian Shield, with rugged landscapes similar to Ontario’s cottage country – a mosaic of rock barrens, beaver ponds and mixed woods. This beautiful part of Ottawa is home to a rich diversity of plants and wildlife, and is also a popular location for hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hunting.
The rock barrens are a particularly sensitive part of the Carp Hills. The lichens and mosses that occur here take a very long time to grow on the rocks and are easily damaged or destroyed. The beaver ponds, wet meadows, marshes and swamps found in low areas around the rock outcrops are part of a large provincially significant wetland complex. Several regionally rare species of plants have been identified in the area, along with national and provincial species at risk.
Some of the City’s properties include authorized trail systems created and maintained by the City or by local partners under written agreements, such as the Friends of the Carp Hills or the West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association. Other areas do not have trails and public access to those properties is restricted. The creation of new unauthorized trails on City property in environmentally sensitive areas like the Carp Hills is prohibited.
The following authorized trails are available for public use:
Carp Barrens Trail – rugged trail loop south of Thomas A. Dolan Parkway, suitable for pedestrian uses (e.g., hiking, snowshoeing, skiing) and mountain biking; closed seasonally (see Trail Closures below)
Crazy Horse Trail – longer trail loop at the south end of the Carp Hills, accessed via March Road at Huntmar Road, suitable for pedestrian uses (e.g., hiking, snowshoeing, skiing)
Hidden Lake Trail – short pathway in the Village of Carp, suitable for pedestrian uses (e.g., walking, snowshoeing, skiing)
Many parts of the Carp Hills remain in private ownership. Public access to those properties is not permitted, except at the sole discretion of the landowner. Private property may or may not be marked with signs or red dots at the property limits. Stay on approved trails to avoid accidentally trespassing on private lands.
Trail users should treat the landscape, the wildlife and each other with respect, and should follow any site-specific rules posted at trailheads. Some basic rules for all of the City’s natural areas include:
- Stay on the trails.
- Do not litter.
- Do not move rocks or logs.
- Do not damage or remove trees, lichens or plants.
- Do not harm or harass any wildlife, except when legally hunting or fishing.
Geocachers need to respect these rules when establishing or visiting caches on City property. Geocaches that are located away from trails, or that cause damage to trees or other City assets are subject to removal without notice.
Parking is limited at Carp Hills trailheads. Please respect parking restrictions. Do not park on private property or in the natural areas.
The unauthorized hiking/biking trail located north of the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway is hereby closed. It has been decommissioned and will return to a natural state in keeping with the management plan for the area. The snowmobile trail is not affected by this closure. Local hunters and other authorized groups may continue to use the area in accordance with all applicable regulations.
The Carp Barrens trail loop located south of the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway will be closed seasonally each year to protect nesting turtles and birds. The trail is closed from the first Tuesday after Victoria Day in May until August 15. Please respect the trail closure and stay out of the area during this time.
Dogs must be under control at all times, and are not allowed in some parts of the Carp Hills. This area is home to black bears, deer, moose, and a wide variety of other wildlife. Dogs may disturb nesting birds and turtles, chase wildlife, or provoke attacks by larger wildlife. Provincial regulations prohibit allowing dogs to run at large in areas frequented by deer and other large game during the closed season.
Dogs are not permitted on the Carp Barrens trail located south of the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway.
Hunting is allowed in the Carp Hills in accordance with Provincial regulations and the City’s Discharge of Firearms By-law. Residents should refer to the Ontario Hunting Regulations Summary for more information on hunting regulations and seasons. The Carp Hills are in Wildlife Management Unit 64B.
Warning: black-legged ticks are common throughout the Carp Hills and many of these ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Ticks are active throughout much of the year, as long as daytime temperatures remain above zero. Thorough tick-checks are strongly recommended after spending time outdoors. Mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies are also common during the spring and summer months. For more information on avoiding tick and mosquito bites, visit Ottawa Public Health’s web page.
For more information, consult the following:
Friends of the Carp Hills