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7 Dog-friendly trails around Ottawa to enjoy this summer

The days are longer as summer hits the capital region, so take advantage of the sunshine and get outside. It’s a great time to explore new trails with your furry companion and breathe in the fresh air.  

There are forested paths, epic lookouts and waterfront views around the city where you can bring your furry best friend. Check out these seven dog-friendly trails around Ottawa, but remember to check your dog for ticks for a few days after your adventure. And don’t forget their leash and a portable water bowl! 

Chapman Mills Conservation Area

Location: Ottawa, ON  

Length: 1.5-km 

Off-leash: No  

Escape the bustling city within this 23-acre conservation area with easy trails along the Rideau River. Here you can marvel at incredible shoreline views and wetlands, and there is no shortage of things for your pup to sniff as you wander. Plus, there are lookouts and boardwalk sections with interesting interpretive panels. 

Sheila McKee Park

Location: Dunrobin, ON  

Length: 2-km  

Off-leash: No 

You’ll discover one of Ottawa’s lesser-known gems along this forested trail loop. Within the park, mini waterfalls trickle down the rocky escarpment speckled with evergreens coming through the cliff edges. It is a peaceful spot to take a moment to relax as you admire the water or splash around a bit with your furry friend.  

Morris Island Conservation Area

Location: Fitzroy Harbour, ON  

Length: 6-km 

Off-leash: No 

You don’t need to drive far to find a vacation-worthy spot featuring six kilometres of trails around an island, picnic areas and a canoe launch. If you have an adventurous canine, pack a picnic and spend the day exploring a waterfront forest. Multiple trail loops of differing lengths mean you can make your hike longer or shorter, depending on your fitness level. If you visit in the early evening, you can catch a stunning sunset view from a bridge by going left at the trailhead toward Old Voyageur and Miner’s Trails. Watch for wildlife, including an abundance of slithery snakes.  

Champlain Trail

Location: Gatineau Park, QC 

Length: 1.1-km loop 

Off-leash: No  

Admire one of the best views in Gatineau Park, where you can catch a spectacular sunset lookout. By starting at the Champlain Lookout parking lot, you can explore the top of the Eardley Escarpment and look out over lush valleys and trees. For those looking for a longer trek, down the street from the parking lot is Trail 1B, which connects to other trail loops. You can even take an 11-kilometre route to Meech Lake and back. 

Wolf Trail (Trail 62)

Location: Gatineau Park, QC 

Length: 8.3-km loop 

Off-leash: No 

Skip the gym for this trail that is an excellent workout as you climb through the forest to two beautiful lookout views of the valley and forest. The trail loop is rated difficult, beginning at P13 near Blanchet Beach, which overlooks Meech Lake. Dogs on leashes can join you for the trail but leave them at home if you plan a post-hike swim or paddle; they are not permitted on the beach or picnic area. 

The Crazy Horse Trail

Location: Carp, ON  

Length: 6.2-km 

Off-leash: No 

This hidden gem is near the city, and you’ll follow bright tree markers through a forest with multiple ponds. The 6.2 kilometres path is partially in-and-out, with a loop around the beaver pond. You can extend your visit with the side trails that offer great lookouts. Parking is limited near the trailhead, be mindful of private property.   

Turtle Trail

Location: Kemptville, ON  

Length: 2.8-km  

Off-leash: No (Off-leash dog park nearby) 

With ten forest trails that loop around and connect as a network, you can create a hike distance that suits you and your pup, no matter how athletic either of you may be. A great pick is the Turtle Trail, which is short with a boardwalk next to a creek. Dogs need to remain on leashes on the trails, but there is a nearby dog park if they want some more freedom. 

woman hiking with a dog at the leash
chris-mueller | iStock

Help protect your furry friend

Keep exploring with your furry pal without worry, because CAA has partnered with Pet Plus US to offer Pet Insurance, to help protect against the unexpected. You can get a quote online or by calling 1-833-323-2456. CAA Members get a preferred rate of 13.5% off. *

*CAA Members receive a preferred rate of 13.5% off effective April 15, 2024. Non-members receive a preferred rate of 9% off effective April 15, 2024.

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