The lower Ottawa River Pathway heading west out of the town of Ottawa is a long 20 km bicycle ride with many options on the route. This scenic and tranquil journey is a completely different cycling experience than the Upper Ottawa R. route I reviewed earlier.
Unlike that ride, this one is more rustic, a natural setting and hilly (for some) with fewer manicured parks or crowds. And much of it is not paved.
The section that is crushed fine gravel is the 9 km length running down along the water’s edge. An easy spin on level ground if you have a hybrid or gravel bike with medium width tires.
For the skinny tire set, fear not there is a way to ride it all on the pavement, you just have to detour 5 kms on the road, the Sir George Etienne Cartier Parkway. There seems to be enough space on the paved shoulders and traffic is lite on this road.
Officially this off-road route starts on the west side on the Cartier Parkway at the roundabout meeting Rockcliffe & Princess. The road has a paved path running on both sides. Take either one, but eventually, it moves to the right side as a single path…then to the left.
You will pass Rockcliffe Park, lookout, and marina, ride around the bend where the route turns into the Aviation Pathway. When you see signs of the New Edinburgh Club marina take the steep road down to start the gravel waterfront route.
This is the best part as it offers serene cycling with many views across the grand Ottawa R. and opportunities to stop, sit awhile.
If not so inclined, opt to stay by the roadway for the easier paved ride. As you may suspect this trail will lead you to the Aviation and Space Museum (a worthy side trip).
Beyond the open fields for the runways, eventually, this route heads down to the water. So at this point, road riders need to hit the road and ride 5 km to the Green’s Creek bridge.
The river route will also need to swing back up to cross this bridge. After which you are back onto paved paths till the end, smooth sailing, Ahhh! This part of the route moves further away from the river’s edge, into the woods, though you will still get plenty of glimpses of the water.
Subdivisions start appearing for the first time and there is a short neighbourhood street detour on Radisson Way then Hiawatha Park Rd. to connect back with the trail.
Eventually, the trail ends at Jeanne D’Arc Blvd N. and Trim Rd. were out on the river Petrie Island Beach is. Hmm, care to soak your feet or do a lunch stop? Not an overly shady trail I would put on that sunblock.
I started my ride, as many may from the center of town just a mere kilometre sooner where the Rideau River bike path ends (another fine trail to try) by the Rideau Falls. Take a few pictures of the falls then ride this short extra bit of road on the bike lane past the Prime Ministers Residence on Sussex Dr. on to Princess Ave. to connect.
Also, that Aviation Pathway branches out south 4 km to Ogilvie Rd. A pleasant off the road route to get you headed in that direction. And another ride option is taking the Greenbelt Pathway E. at Green’s Creek to follow the creek south.
I fully enjoyed the ride on my hybrid bike and saw plenty of parking lots and access paths down to the gravel trail. This will help you plan where to start and when to turn around and head back when you make it out here one sunny weekend.