We’ve heard it time and again…

The number one hurdle for people who aren’t hitting the trails as much as they’d like to is lack of accessibility.

Whether you’re a car-less bus-warrior or would just prefer to get in some nature time by bike, we’ve come up with a list of local trails that are super easy to access from the city.

KANATA

Old Quarry Trail

(Photo cred: NCC)

These first 2 are for you, west-enders.

First one up is Old Quarry Trail. Doesn’t it just sound like something from a dusty old book of fairy tales? It pretty much is. This easy 2.7 KM trail through the Stony Swamp sector is just as picturesque in real life as it looks when you Google it.

If you’re looking for a cruisy, kid-friendly (read: yes, even stroller-friendly) nature path, this is it.

South March Highlands

(Photo cred: Ottawa’s Great Forest)

South. March. Highlands. Where have you been all my life?

This mountain biker’s dream is another fantastic series of trails in Kanata that’s accessible to all. Although the area is new to us (we both live in Centretown & only just recently discovered it!), it’s definitely a popular one for bikers, hikers, bird-watchers and trail runners so a quick tip, if you do plan on going, is to avoid peak hours (weekends & weekdays after 5 pm will likely be the craziest).

NEPEAN

Mud Lake

(Photo cred: NCC)

Mud Lake’s gotta be my favorite go-to local trail. It’s got everything: A lake, tons of critters (when I was there a few weeks ago I saw a snapping turtle laying her eggs!), beautiful winding trails, and a beach close by.

What more could you possibly want?

This spot is SUPER easy to get to as it’s right across from Lincoln Fields, where there’s a bus station, but it’s also just off the Pinecrest Creek Pathway.

All together, it’s only a little over 3 KM long, so it’s totally kiddo-friendly and accessible all year round.

Pinhey Forest

(Photo cred: NCC)

This 6.4 KM forest of trails behind the Nepean Sportplex is simply dreamy. Fun fact: Mr. Pinhey donated the land in 1948 so that it could be used to demonstrate conservation practices.

The NCC has been working to restore this 10,000-year-old sand dune ecosystem since 2011.

SOUTH KEYS

Conroy Pit

(Photo cred: AllTrails)

Is Conroy Pit technically a dog park? Yes. Is it a gorgeous nature trail that’s easy for anyone to get to? Also yes!

This probably goes without saying but if you’re not a dog person, maybe skip this one. If you are, welcome to the club and enjoy this little slice of heaven in South Keys!

No shade to the Bruce Pit, my go-to dog park 4ever, but this 5.1 KM loop is like 10 times more beautiful than any other dog park in the city.

ORLEANS

Petrie Island Park

(Photo cred: D. Gordon E. Robertson)

Check out this 7 KM trail the next time you’re craving a water-side hike with spectacular views of the Ottawa River. Bonus: the trails all have adorable names like Beaver Loop, Turtle Trail, Sunrise & Muskrat Trail.

So pack a picnic basket and some SPF before hitting up this Ottawa hot spot (pun!) for an easy hike/nature walk with a pal!

GATINEAU PARK

P2 – Relais Plein Air

(Photo cred: NCC)

Here’s an enchanting as heck spot in Gatineau Park that’s accessible by the STO bus. Just get off at Mont Bleu High School/Cegep de l’Outaouais and BAM, you’re walking distance to the trails. Easy breezy.

Plus in the winter time, you can rent cross-country skis, snowshoes and winter bikes, then cap it off with a hot chocolate by the fire place. Canada at its absolute finest.

Whoever said you need a car to check out the local trails just didn’t do enough digging!

Happy exploring,

Vicky

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