Cycling in the Capital

One of the best ways to explore Ottawa–Gatineau is by bike.​

Cycling on the Capital’s pathways

Are you planning an outing by bike? The following paths (presented in alphabetical order) will take you past some of the best scenery in Ottawa and Gatineau.

Experimental Farm Pathway              

Visit the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum along the way.

Greenbelt Pathway West

Explore Shirleys Bay, and stop for a picnic by the shore of the Ottawa River.

Leamy Lake Pathway

Discover Leamy Lake Park, with its extensive history and the beautiful Leamy Lake beach.

Ottawa River Pathway

This 31-kilometre pathway follows the Ottawa River and passes a number of Ottawa’s attractions. Stop along the way at the Canadian War MuseumParliament Hill and the Ottawa Locks at the northern entrance to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Delight your senses on this pathway, as you pass through Commissioners Park and its extraordinary flower displays.

Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Bike to Vincent Massey Park, where you can stop for a picnic or a barbecue.

Voyageurs Pathway

Cycle along the northern side of the Ottawa River, and take in spectacular views of Parliament Hill and the Canadian Museum of History.

The paths are shared with in-line skaters, runners and walkers, so be sure to follow the rules for courtesy and safety on the pathway.

Cycling in Gatineau Park

In Gatineau Park, there are plenty of options for cyclists. The parkways offer 32.5 kilometres of scenic, winding roads. Be prepared to encounter hilly terrain: you need to be in good shape and have some skill in cycling.

Short Loops in the Park

Sections of the Gatineau Parkway will be closed to motor vehicles from May 27 to October 22, 2017, on Saturday mornings until the end of August, and on both weekend mornings in September and October. During these times, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy 8.2 kilometres of scenic parkways in Gatineau Park that are closed to motor vehicles and open for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners and walkers.

  • 6 am to 11 am: Gatineau Parkway between Champlain Parkway and Chemin du Lac-Meech (4.7 kilometres)
  • 6 am to 1 pm: Gatineau Parkway between parking lots P8 and P9 (3.5 kilometres)

Mountain biking in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park’s mountain biking season runs from May 15 to November 30. The multi-use trails are open to hikers and mountain bikers, so be sure to follow the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s rules of the trail.

With some 90 kilometres of shared trails, there are lots of places for mountain biking in Gatineau Park. But be prepared! To tackle the Park’s hilly terrain, you need to be in good shape and have a few mountain biking skills.

For ecological reasons, mountain biking is not allowed on any trails other than the ones indicated in the map.

Extreme mountain biking at Camp Fortune

For thrill-seekers, there is mountain biking at Camp Fortune, which opens its ski slopes for biking during the summer. (Fees may apply.)

Pilot project

Following discussions with the mountain biking community in the region, the NCC ran a pilot project (which ended on November 30, 2016). The project increased the mountain biking offer in Gatineau Park by adding 7.8 kilometres to the shared trail network (on trails 3, 14 and 33, as well as on sections of trails 2 and 32). See the map here.

The project aimed to help improve the routes in the Park’s shared trail network, and alleviate some of the pressure on the other trails.

Mountain biking “rules of the trail”

The following rules are promoted and recognized worldwide by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. They are intended to help ensure the safety of hikers and mountain bikers, as well as protect the environment.

  1. Use only trails that are open for mountain biking (which are shared trails).
  2. Bike only during the permitted biking season. During spring and fall, the trails are particularly vulnerable to erosion.
  3. Always yield the right-of-way to hikers.
  4. Control your speed at all times — and especially on curves and downhill portions of the trail. To avoid accidents, alert other trail users to your presence as you approach to pass them.
  5. Plan ahead. Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding, and prepare accordingly.

Cycling in the Greenbelt

Enjoy biking in the Greenbelt on the following pathways, all of which are part of the Capital Pathway network.

Greenbelt Pathway West

The western section of the Greenbelt Pathway is 10.4 kilometres in length. The path is mostly flat, with some hills, and passes through forests, fields and farm landscapes. It connects to the Watts Creek Pathway and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The Greenbelt Pathway West has an asphalt and stone dust surface.

Watts Creek Pathway

The Watts Creek Pathway is west of Ottawa in the Shirleys Bay area. This 9.3-kilometre trail connects to the Greenbelt Pathway West and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (previously known as the Ottawa River Parkway), and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The Watts Creek Pathway has an asphalt surface.

Greenbelt Pathway East

The eastern portion of the Greenbelt Pathway is 4.6 kilometres in length, and connects to the Ottawa River Pathway. The Greenbelt Pathway East has a stone dust surface.

NOKIA Sunday Bikedays

Enjoy summer Sundays cycling on car-free roads in Canada’s Capital Region.