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Discover The Top 5 Must-Explore Running Trails in Ottawa

Scouting out the ideal running trail in Ottawa can feel like a bit of a trek in itself. We understand the dilemma all too well, faced with an abundance of paths to choose from. After extensive exploration, we've pinpointed five stellar trails that cater wonderfully to runners across the board.
So, grab your trainers – it’s time for an adventure!

Running trailst in ottawa

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Top 5 Running Trails in Ottawa

Ottawa’s got some top-notch paths for us runners, right? With the city’s stunning landscapes and riverside views, these trails are a must-try.

Rideau Riv Eastern Pathway

We love hitting the Rideau River Eastern Pathway for our runs. It’s a gem in Ottawa, with different levels of difficulty that keep things interesting. This mostly paved trail is perfect for running, biking, and even a leisurely walk if that’s more your style.

Running here from May to October offers the best experience. The scenery is stunning, and there’s always something new to discover around each bend.

As mid-aged athletes, we appreciate how well-maintained this path is. Whether we’re looking for a challenging run or an enjoyable bike ride, this pathway delivers. Plus, it’s great for those who enjoy fishing – you can take a break and catch some fish if that catches your fancy! Next on our list is the Ottawa River Pathway..

Ottawa Riv Pathway

Moving from the serene Rideau River Eastern Pathway, we find ourselves at the Ottawa River Pathway. This gem stretches over 7.1 miles of gravel trail, offering breathtaking views that start from Rockcliffe Park and stretch north to Greens Creek.

It’s more than just a pathway; it’s an adventure that captures the essence of Ottawa’s natural beauty.

The route is part of over 150 miles of roads and trails tailored for both the serious trail runner and those looking for a casual run with stunning scenery. Starting near the Champlain Bridge, it loops back along the river, giving runners a chance to experience diverse landscapes.

Every step on this trail brings something new – from lush greenery to panoramic views of Parliament Hill and historical sites like the National War Memorial and Fairmont Chateau Laurier.

Here, every run feels like you’re stepping through pages of history while being surrounded by nature’s best.

Experimental Farm Pathway

We love the Experimental Farm Pathway for its well-kept and diverse terrain. It takes us through Canada’s largest arboretum, offering a mix of nature and paved paths right in the middle of Ottawa.

This trail connects us to over 100 miles of paved paths that loop around key sites in the National Capital Region.

The pathway welcomes everyone – locals, tourists, and runners of all levels find something to enjoy here. Scenic views and amenities make it a top pick for our runs. Plus, being part of the Capital Pathway Network means we’re treated to some exclusive glimpses into Ottawa’s natural beauty every time we lace up our trainers here.

Watts Creek Pathway

Shifting our focus over to Gatineau, Quebec, we find ourselves exploring the beautiful Gatineau Park Pathway. This trail is a jewel for mid-aged athletes looking for a mix of beauty and challenge.

Stretching 8.9km with an elevation gain of 216m, it’s not just a walk in the park. It demands effort but rewards you with scenic views that make every drop of sweat worth it.

Taking about 2 hours and 18 minutes to complete, this pathway offers more than just running space. With over 100 miles of trails in Gatineau Park suited for both walking and running, you’re never short on new paths to discover.

Each step here connects you closer to nature while giving your body the workout it craves. So lace up your trainers – adventure awaits among these trees!

Watts Creek Pathway

We all agree, the Champlain Loop is a gem for runners looking for a challenge. Spread across 18.2km, this trail isn’t just a run; it’s an experience that lasts about four hours and thirty-five minutes.

With its varied terrain, every step brings something new – from easy stretches where you can catch your breath, to tougher climbs that test your limits.

The views here? Absolutely stunning. As we make our way through the loop, we’re treated to scenic vistas that are worth the effort. Plus, the paths are in great shape, making them perfect not only for running but also for walking and biking with friends or solo adventures.

Whether you’re training for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend or simply enjoying nature trails around greater Ottawa, Champlain Loop has got something special to offer.

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Characteristics of the Top Trails

Each trail boasts its own unique charm, be it a long stretch that challenges your stamina or a gentle slope that tests your resolve. You’ll find the trails vary from easy jaunts perfect for a leisurely run to demanding paths that call for all your running prowess.



The trails in Ottawa come in various lengths. This means we can all find something that fits our running style, whether we love short, quick runs or long, challenging ones. For instance, the Rideau Canal Loop is perfect for those who prefer a scenic route without going too far. On the other hand, Gatineau Park offers longer paths for runners seeking a bit more adventure and elevation. Some of us might aim to take part in events like the Scotiabank Marathon or the Army Run. Training on these diverse pathways helps us prepare better. Longer routes push our limits and improve stamina, while shorter ones are great for speed work and recovery days. No matter what our goals are, there's a trail length in Ottawa that matches perfectly with our training needs.

Elevation gain

Elevation gain

Moving from how long each trail is, let's talk about the ups and downs – literally. Each pathway has its own unique challenges, making our runs interesting. For instance, the Rideau River Eastern Pathway pushes us with a climb of 492m. That's not a small number! It tests our legs and lungs but gives us amazing views in return. On other trails like the Gatineau Park Pathway, we face an elevation gain of 216m. It might be less than the Rideau River path but still offers a good workout. These gains help us build strength and endurance. Plus, conquering these heights feels fantastic – it’s like winning a mini-marathon every time! Whether training for the Ottawa triathlon or just enjoying winter running with yak traks, tackling these elevations pumps up our fitness game to new levels.

Difficulty level

Difficulty level

We know you're keen on trails that match your pace and skill. Ottawa's trails have something for everyone, from easy jogs to challenging sprints. Take the Experimental Farm Pathway, it's more of a relaxed route, perfect if you're looking to enjoy a scenic run without too much strain. On the other hand, Gatineau Park pushes limits with over 150 miles of roads and trails that test endurance and strength. For those who strive for a bit more, the Champlain Loop in Gatineau offers elevation changes that'll get your heart racing. It's ideal for mid-aged athletes wanting to mix up their routine or prepare for events like the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend or Army Run. These trails let us switch between casual runs and intense training sessions, ensuring we stay motivated and ready for any challenge ahead.

Overview of Additional Running Trails in Ottawa

Ottawa’s love for running doesn’t end with our top picks.. There’s more, much more. Peek beyond the usual and you’ll uncover trails where each step tells a new story, from quiet forest paths to vibrant city tracks.

Old Quarry Trail

We love exploring the Old Quarry Trail, nestled near Ottawa, Ontario. It’s an easy trek at just 2.7km long with a gentle rise of 31m. This path is perfect for us whenever we crave a break from routine runs but still want to stay active.

The boardwalk and meadow are hidden gems, ideal for bird-watching in the warmer months or even skiing and biking when the snow falls.

The trail offers more than just exercise; it’s a chance to connect with nature right on our doorstep. On any given day, you might find us there, enjoying everything from the peace of watching wildlife to the thrill of cross-country skiing across its scenic terrain.

We encourage every mid-aged athlete looking for something new in their routine to give this spot a try—it’s beautiful year-round and easily accessible by light rail or OC Transpo if you’re coming from further away.

Jack Pine Trail

After exploring the Old Quarry Trail, let’s move on to another gem in Ottawa for us runners, the Jack Pine Trail. This trail offers breathtaking scenery that truly stands out. As we jog through, we’re treated to views that make every step worth it.

It’s not just about running; it’s an experience that fills our senses with nature’s beauty.

The Jack Pine Trail connects with other paths, giving us a variety of landscapes and challenges. We find this diversity perfect for mixing up our routine or when we want to add extra miles without getting bored.

The trail is well-loved by mid-aged athletes like us who appreciate a picturesque run. It’s an inviting path that beckons us back time and again, proving itself as one of the top trails in Ottawa for its scenic charm and friendly terrain.

Rockcliffe Pathway

Moving on from the tranquility of Jack Pine Trail, we find ourselves at Rockcliffe Pathway. This 2.7km trail is a gem for runners. It’s easy and takes about 38 minutes to cover, with an elevation of just 44m.

Perfect for those sunrise or sunset jogs, it offers stunning waterfront views and a special lookout spot. The scene here is always lively with people running, biking, and even bird-watching.

The path is well-kept and open all year round. Its accessibility ensures that everyone can enjoy a good run no matter the season. Plus, its scenic route makes it a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

Imagine jogging past lookout points where the beauty of nature unfolds before your eyes – that’s Rockcliffe Pathway for you.

King Mountain Trail

King Mountain Trail is a must-try for us. It’s an easy 1.8km route that we can complete in about 40 minutes, making it perfect for a quick run or a leisurely walk. The trail climbs up 97m, offering breathtaking views along the way.

We get to see farmland, ridges, and even the distant Parliament buildings.

Along the path, informative signs teach us about local plants and wildlife. This makes our run not just good exercise but also an educational journey on Ottawa’s natural beauty. So, if you’re looking for something more than just pavement pounding – King Mountain Trail provides scenery, knowledge, and a great workout all rolled into one.

Mer Bleue Bog Trail

Shifting our focus from the challenging terrains of King Mountain Trail, we find ourselves at the Mer Bleue Bog Trail. This trail offers a stark contrast with its paved and flat path.

Covering just 1.4km and an elevation gain of only 19m, it’s ideal for those who prefer a less demanding run or ride. The accessibility and well-maintained condition make it perfect for mid-aged athletes looking to enjoy the outdoors without overexertion.

Here, not only do runners get to bask in serene views, but they also have a unique chance to engage in bird-watching. It’s a quick escape into nature where various species of birds become the unexpected highlight of your exercise routine.

Its tranquillity stands out as you traverse through Mer Bleue Conservation Area, making every visit memorable.

Lake Leamy Trail

We love Lake Leamy Trail for its ease and beauty. It’s a short, 2.4km route with a gentle climb of 55m. This path takes us about 37 minutes to run through, but we often stop to snap photos or watch birds.

It’s not just running; it’s enjoying nature at its best.

This trail has become our go-to for easy runs or bike rides. The views around the lake are stunning, offering perfect spots for outdoor photography lovers. Bird-watchers would also find this trail ideal, as there’s always something flittering in the trees or skimming over the water.

For anyone looking for an uncomplicated yet rewarding outdoor activity in Ottawa, Lake Leamy Trail is a top choice.

Don't let sports injuries hold you back
With physio & chiro treatments, we can help you get back to your active lifestyle.

From diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Dr. Maryam Hassanzadeh, D.C

Sports Specialist


Ottawa boasts some fantastic running trails for mid-aged athletes. Each trail offers a unique view and challenge, from the easy Rideau Canal Loop to the demanding Champlain Loop. They aren’t just paths; they’re gateways to discovering Ottawa’s beauty on foot, perfect for any runner looking for variety.

Beyond these five, there’s more to explore like Old Quarry Trail or Mer Bleue Bog Trail, promising adventures for every level. Lace up your sneakers and hit these trails – who knows what sights and personal bests await? Your next run could be your best yet in Ottawa’s great outdoors.


Well, let’s dive right in! The Trans Canada Trail is a must-see, along with the scenic paths by Dow’s Lake and Hogs Back Falls. Don’t forget Colonel By Drive and the multi-use trails near the O-Train for a good run.

Oh, absolutely! While sprinting through Ottawa, you can catch sights like the National Gallery and Notre Dame Cathedral. Over at Sussex Drive or crossing the Alexandra Bridge, there’s plenty to see.

Certainly! The Running Room organises group runs that explore various trails – it’s quite fun, actually. Plus, you get to meet fellow running enthusiasts.

Yes indeed! Whether it’s summer sun or winter chill, these paths offer great views and safe footing year-round—just dress accordingly!

Ottawa mixes city vibes with nature beautifully… Running here means you’re never far from a stunning view or a historical landmark – making each run not just exercise but an experience worth having again and again.