5 Captivating Cross-Country Spots Around Ottawa

Living in Ottawa means living through winter, which can be a beautiful season if you’re ready to embrace it. One of the easiest ways to do so is through winter activities like cross-country skiing. Heading out on the many snow-covered trails and pathways with which Ottawa is blessed, you’ll be amazed by the silence that the snow brings throughout the trees.

So, grab your skis, head outdoors and experience these five cross-country skiing trails that will give you unique landscapes and incredible views of the nature that surrounds Ottawa.

Gatineau Park

Location: Gatineau Park, Chelsea QC.

Gatineau Park has over 50 groomed trails, for more than 200 kilometres of trails for visitors to cross-country ski, snowshoe, bike and hike. With various difficulty levels for cross-country skiers to enjoy, the trails are spread through the beautiful conservation area, with the addition of rolling and hilly terrain to make it the ideal outdoor excursion for skiers in Ottawa. This Winter Trail Map gives information on parking, skiing etiquette and trails that are available in Gatineau Park.

Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail:

Location: West of the Canadian War Museum

This 16-km trail runs westward from the War Museum and offers a fully groomed, salt-free, multi-use trail that allows different winter sports a chance to explore the trail. Two tracks are set up, dividing skiers from the snowshoers, walkers and bikers to support every winter sport. This trail is located close to the downtown core and alongside bus routes, providing easy access tor all visitors.

Mer Bleue Conservation Area:

Location: Ridge Road, Ottawa

The Mer Bleue Bog, if you’re not familiar, is a 7,000-year-old protected bog that is the largest in the capital region and the second-largest bog in southern Ontario. Trail 50-52 in the Mer Bleue Bog provides 12 km of stunning views of the winter boreal forest landscape, allowing for a picturesque ski through the trees. The trails can be completed in any combination and each loop is numbered as separate trails. More on the bog.

Ottawa River Pathway:

Location: Across the city

Part of the Trans Canada Trail, this 30-km route wends its way from Kanata through the Greenbelt on Ottawa’s west side and along the Ottawa River to downtown Ottawa. (From there the trail continues eastward across the Alexandra Bridge to Quebec.) Head out in the morning for a beautiful ski through Ottawa and be able to cross off a section of Canada’s Trans Canada Trail. If you want to start in the east end, begin at the Vanier Parkway and St. Patrick Street and follow the river.

Stony Swamp Conservation Area:

Location: Old Richmond Road, Nepean

Stony Swamp offers the most trails for cross-country skiing in the Greenbelt. There are over 10 trails to ski through, providing more than 30 km of adventure through the beautiful snow-covered forest. Free parking is available at the P4 and P13 parking lots. Details here.

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