.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Best Roller Skiing IN Ottawa
By:  Lee Hawkings   (2011/10/01)

Being rather new to Ottawa (3 years now wooo!), I still find myself exploring new places all the time. One unexpected perk of living in Ottawa that I could not have imagined before I moved here is the extraordinary roller skiing to be had right from your front door. The vast network of bike paths and plethora of parks and green spaces means you don't often have to roller ski in the traffic and you can do long workouts without getting easily bored. Below I'll show you my two favorite loops on the Ottawa bike paths. Note Picture are from last year, I think there are still leaves on the trees right now.

Route 1: Ottawa River Loop
Distance: 32.5km
Estimated workout time: 2:15

From my house I head down Fisher avenue to the Experimental Farm Pathway. Heading west on this path you get a meandering trail in behind the residential areas. After crossing Woodroffe Ave., continue West and North following the creek and then going under the Queensway until you meet up with the Ottawa River Pathway.

The Western Experimental Farm Pathway

From here it is a gorgeous ski all along the Ottawa river, past Island Park Dr. Continue past the War Museum and below the Parliament buildings. Climb the paved trail beside the locks on the Rideau Canal and continue under Wellington Street toward the NAC. Go through the NAC parking lot and down the access ramp to meet back up with Queen Elizabeth and the Rideau Canal West Bike Path.

Following the Ottawa River Pathway

Parliament from beside the Ottawa River

Follow along the canal to Dow's lake and continue around it until you come to the Hartwell Locks. Cross the Canal here towards Carleton University and Continue along the canal up to Hog's Back Locks, cross again here and continue home along Meadowlands Drive.

Route 2: Rideau River Loop
Distance: 27km
Estimated workout time: 1:50

From Hog's Back Locks continue East, bearing left to go under Hog's Back Road near Mooney's Bay. Travel on the paved bike path down the hill, under the Heron Street bridge and then through Vincent Massey Park. Continue on the bike path following this beautiful stretch of the Rideau River all the way until you come to Sussex drive right down near the Ottawa River and the Rideau Falls. This is my personal favorite place to roller ski in Ottawa, twisty path, tree cover, and not to busy!

Cross Sussex Drive and head South and West along Sussex until you get to the National Art Gallery (easily distinguished by the giant metal spider out front). Cross the two roads coming from the Alexandria bridge and then head west on the bike path. Take a left before the bridge and head down a steep hill, with a sharp corner that will take you down to the bottom of the Rideau Canal Locks. Use caution on this hill and make sure to control your speed as without slowing down at the top it is not possible to make this corner!

Again head up beside the locks, through the NAC and onto the Rideau Canal Pathway. Follow the Canal again all the way to Hartwell locks, but instead of crossing the locks, continue straight toward Prince of Wales Dr. Cross the street and enter the experimental farm hanging a left on Morningside Lane and then a right on Ruelle Ash. Another quick left will put you on McCooey lane which takes you out to Fisher Ave. Follow Fisher back home!

Now I am not going to say that these roller ski routes come anywhere close to stacking up against Gatineau Park roller skiing, but they are an excellent addition and make it easy to train right from home! Remember to always be courteous when roller skiing on the bike paths. Never ski side by side, and be ready to move over and double pole for passing bikers and pedestrians. Thanks for the amazing roller skiing Ottawa, but now I'm just about ready for snow!

There are also these loops laid out by XC Ottawa Alumni.
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