8 Ottawa Hiking Trails for a Serene Study Break

With school in full swing again, you're probably going to be spending hours couped up in the library or different study spots around campus. One way to give both your mind and body a break is by going hiking! Taking an hour to hike outside not only gets the blood pumping in your body, but is also better for brain health! Breathing in more oxygen while you're out in the fresh air helps your brain function more efficiently. Fresh air also contributes to better concentration and clarity! Next time you need a study break check out one of the hiking trails below!

1. Gatineau Park

Probably one of the Ottawa area's most known hiking spots, Gatineau Park offers lots of different trails for all levels of hikers. With so many trail options ranging from about 1 kilometer to 10+ kilometers and numerous scenic lookouts,  you can go multiple times and always see something new! Gatineau Park is located just 15 minutes from Parliament Hill and has activities happening all year round! You can find the trail maps here!

Tip: Go during the fall to use the leaves changing colour as an amazing backdrop for photos!

2. Mer Bleaue Bog Conservation Trail

Mer Bleaue Bog Conservation Trail is located east of Ottawa on Ridge Road. The area not only includes trails but also boardwalks, sand ridges, cross-country ski trails, snow-showing and forests. Due to the area's northern boreal landscape, the trails provide the opportunity to see rare species of birds, plants and other wildlife!

Find the trail map here

3. Hog's Back Park

Hog's Back Park is geared more towards those looking for a beautiful but quick stroll rather than a long distance hike. Hog's Back Park where the falls are located, offers amazing views of both the falls and the Rideau River. After you're done with the scenery the park also has restaurants, a heritage pavilion and lots of open space for picnics or sports activities! 

4. Waterfall Trail

The Waterfall trail is located on the Quebec side in Gatineau Park. This trail is 3km and ranges in difficulty from beginner to intermediate. The trail's main attraction is Lauriault Falls also known as Bridal Veil Falls. Along with the picturesque waterfall the trail also has many other lookouts that provide views of the Ottawa Valley, Ottawa River and Mountains Lake. 

Check out the trail map here

5. Pine Grove Trail 

Pine Grove has an activity for everyone! Not only are there 18.4 kilometers of hiking and cross-country ski trails, but there is also 9.6 kilometers of trails for horseback riding and areas for biking and picnics! If you're in the park also check out their arboretum! Have a dog? Make sure to visit Conroy Pit, the off leash dog park. Don't have a dog? You're also welcome to visit Conroy Pit to see all of the cute doggies! 

Visit the trail map here

6. King Mountain Trail (Gatineau Park) 

King Mountain Trail offers one of the most dazzling views of the Ottawa River Valley. This trail is 1.9 kilometers long, has interpretation panels and 10 lookouts! Make sure to take a breather at the top of the mountain and soak in the rolling fields and open sky! Just make sure to leave your animals at home before taking the trip because pets are not allowed on this trail.

Take a look at the trail map here

7. Lime Kiln Trail (in Stony Swamp) 

Lime Kiln Trail is one of the more low key trails in terms of hiking difficulty. Check out this spot if you're looking for a scenic and easy route. Lime Kiln Trail is approximately 0.5 kilometers long, but does connect to other trails if you're looking for a longer trek. The shining star of the trail is the Lime Kiln ruins showed above. The ruins are one of the few remaining examples of a 19th century industrial lime kiln (where limestone is burned to make quicklime) in Canada. The ruins were abandoned in 1960, rediscovered in 1970 and restored in 1999. 

You can check out more of the history of the Lime Kiln here, as well as a map to get there! 

8. Stony Swamp

Stony Swamp is one of my personal favourite places to hike because of the beaver ponds! During the fall and spring the swamp and surrounding trails, forests and wetlands are filled with wildlife including beavers, deers, rabbits, birds and countless other creatures! Stony Swamp is located southwest of Ottawa in Nepean, and has more than 40 kilometers of trails. Stony Swamp also has a lot of non-hiking related activity including interpretive exhibits on geology and natural history, a toboggan hill and Wild Bird Care Centre. 

Check out the trail maps here!

 

Happy hiking! 

 

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