As one of Canada’s largest cities at 100 kilometres wide by 50 kilometres deep, Ottawa has a very diverse and eclectic collection of rural attractions. These include historic sites, vineyards, county fairs, farmers’ markets, villages, and natural features. One of Ottawa’s greatest attractions is its beautiful waterways including the Ottawa River, Rideau Canal and Rideau River. Ottawa is also home to some of Canada’s most iconic buildings including: the Federal Parliament Buildings, the National Gallery, the National Arts Centre and many more. Seeing Ottawa by bicycle is very enjoyable and a great way to add fitness to your vacation experience. Build an appetite and then satisfy it at one of Ottawa’s great restaurants or quaint bistros and pubs.
Big Ottawa Loop
This 31 kilometre (19 mile) ride with a maximum elevation change of only 60 metres will give you a taste of what Ottawa has to offer – scenery along the Ottawa River, Suburban pathways, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, Dow’s Lake and Rideau Canal (including locks), passing by both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. Once around and you may want to move here, if Ottawa isn’t already your home!
Carp & Country Debunker
A mecca for cyclists, push out from the village of Carp into the surrounding countryside along a pleasant, looped ride on some of the quietest roads west of the city. Cool down with an underground tour of the Diefenbunker and learn more about Canada’s Cold War efforts. Visit Carp’s historic fairground and popular Saturday farmers market.
Cumber tour de land
Nestled along the Ottawa River, start from the small village of Cumberland. Once bustling with industry, learn more about this 19th century outpost at the Heritage Museum. Ride out of the river valley green woodlands, past country estates and into the flat farm hinterland to pick up speed along a combination of quieter country back roads. Looping into Sarsfield, enjoy the stunning vistas across rich and fertile farmlands. Before heading back down to the river, stop in at Proulx Farms for seasonal berries, maple syrup and other farm fresh goodies. For a shorter route, include a small gravel stretch on scenic Sarsfield Road. Coast downhill, returning to the river – making sure to leave time for refreshments at the Black Walnut Bakery Café.
Cross over the interprovincial Champlain Bridge to Quebec winding your way through paved multi-use pathway along the scenic route of the Ottawa River into the beautiful Gatineau Park. When finished this inspiring ride, park your bike and walk down Wellington West sipping on delicious coffee, while window shopping of the many interesting shops including bike shops and clothing stores. Don’t forget to enjoy one of the many authentic restaurants and soak in the warm friendly atmosphere surrounding this unique area in Ottawa.
I Like to See the Water When I Ride
This 39 kilometre (24 mile) ride with a maximum elevation change of only 41 metres gives you a glimpse of the waterways of both Ottawa and Gatineau – crossing the provincial border. Enjoy the park-like settings as you survey the Rideau River, Ottawa River, Gatineau River and World Heritage site Rideau Canal. Divert off the route into ByWard Market for some shopping or dining and refresh yourself at the restaurants bordering Dow’s Lake. Don’t forget your camera and maybe a picnic lunch to enjoy by Hog’s Back Falls.
Take in the scenic river views and across to the Gatineau Hills. Plan a picnic or take an extended rest stop in the riverside gardens of Pinhey’s Point and learn more about the original homestead with exhibits and museum. Fuel up with cold refreshments at the four corners of Dunrobin before turning on Second Line south taking the time to hike or mountain bike the trails of the South March Highlands.
Little Italy, Ottawa River & Rideau Canal
A nice little 13 kilometre (8 mile) ride with a maximum elevation change of only 30 metres lets you get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful parklands along the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal. You can stay on the pathway throughout this route, or venture off the western portion into Little Italy for its culinary treats and whistle-wetting beverages. Not tired yet? Go around twice. You see a completely different perspective switching from clockwise to counter-clockwise.
Little Italy, Ottawa River & Rideau Canal Map [ PDF 128 KB ]
Manotick South & West
Manotick Village has many restaurants and cafés such as the Black Dog Bistro, the Manotick Gastropub, and the French Café. Watson’s Mill is an historic, still operating, flour and gristmill – A great photo opportunity. Baxter Conservation Area is a natural park with hiking trails and a beach on the Rideau River. Rideau River Provincial Park offers a camping opportunity.
Start peddling in Munster taking note of the attractions along the route. Make your way to the Old Mill in Ashton, an authentic English style pub and brewery on the banks of Jock River. Visit the Jabulani Vineyard and Winery as a last stop before returning to Munster.
North Kanata to Stittsville
This 61 kilometre (38 mile) ride with a maximum elevation change of only 66 metres highlights the National Capital Commission greenbelt with wooded pathways and open fields. Connecting onto the Trans-Canada Trail with its compressed rock dust pathway takes you to the quaint village of Stittsville. Take a rest stop at Stittsville Main Street and revive yourself at Quitters Coffee before reversing back to your starting point.
The Osgoode Ride
Starting from Osgoode, follow the Osgoode Link Pathway North. Stop halfway in Metcalfe for refreshments, or if you are lucky with your timing, the annual fall agricultural fair. Treat yourself to a home cooked meal at the popular Red Dot Café in Osgoode as you approach your finish.
Ottawa River East and Farmland
This 32 kilometre (20 mile) ride with a maximum elevation change of only 33 metres will give you views from high above the Ottawa River, alongside the Rideau River, and the Greens Creek valley leading to the Just Food Farm. This educational and delicious stop offers fresh-picked produce from its farm incubator, where market gardening is taught and mentored. Be aware of the urban traffic portion of this route, or avoid it by reversing back along the trail – turning the 32 kilometre loop into 48 kilometres out-and-back instead.
Out a way
Enjoy this metric-century ride, and stunning visual tour that showcases our magnificent north western Ottawa scenery. Travel light with refreshment stops and shops in Dunrobin, Fitzroy Harbour and Kinburn.
Park to park
Explore the Ottawa River northwest of downtown featuring Fitzroy Provincial Park and Morris Island Conservation Area. Pack a picnic or consider an overnight camp out at Fitzroy Provincial Park. Don’t miss a stop in town of Fitzroy Harbour and Penny’s Fudge Factory for treats. Experience a little slice of Québec countryside in Quyon including a ferry ride over the Ottawa River.
Hop onto the well maintained Ottawa Prescott Russell rail trail just south of the village of Navan for a delightful 7km spin with alternating tree canopy coverage and scenic farmland views. Follow unpaved country back roads looping back towards Navan. Make sure to stop in at the two wineries en route, enjoying their scenic surroundings and to sample vintages with grapes grown on nearby fields.