A popular park trail locals love to cruise on in Ottawa, is the Rideau Canal. As it winds from Hogs Back locks up to the Ottawa River 10 km, it offers an ever changing scenery of well kept parklands and canal water craft activity.
Well maintained and flat , as trails are along rivers tend to be, this is an easy ride for the whole family. One has even a choice of making it a loop as it has paths on both sides of the canal waterway for most of it.
From the south end, visit the Hogs Back Falls, as the water rushing over it is rather spectacular. (now you know why there is a canal) Cruising north along the canal behind Carleton University to Hartwell’s Locks you have a choice of continuing along on the east side or crossing on top of the narrow lock gates and heading up the other side.
If I were to recommend which side is better for bike riding, it would be the west side which is a little bit longer going around Dow’s Lake but also more scenic, with fewer cars in sight. Were as the east side is a bit more of a commuter path along the road. (still enjoyable)
So here on the westside you can make a stop at the wildlife gardens and the Agriculture and Food Museum. Onward next to it, the path curves around Dow’s Lake offering side trails you can explore.
Both park paths continue right to up to downtown Ottawa and Parliament Hill where they join the Ottawa R. trail going NW.
There are only a few bridges to cross along the way to turn back up the other side of the canal. One of interest, the Corktown footbridge has locks on the rails from lovers visiting, pledging their affection .
The total loop there and back is about 19km, through easy terrain, for little ones perhaps too much in one go soooo…why not visit the Hill, look at the locks by Chateau Laurier and grab a bite at the many eateries around.
Also another excellent option to make a return loop back on is, riding the Rideau River itself. My review on that ride real soon…