Posted in Photography & Travel

Top 10 Nature Spots in Ottawa and Surrounding Areas

Visiting the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas? These are my top 10 spots to visit when looking for places to unwind, chill and have a taste of Ottawa. While city life could be hectic at times, Ottawa living offers various options to explore and delve into a relaxing getaway. It could be a simple walk, bike ride, hike or picnic, these places have a lot to offer. Get your cameras ready when you visit these spots as it’s too beautiful and too instagrammable!

10. Mer Bleue Bog

Beautiful colours in Autumn

Mer Bleue provides a unique opportunity to see a northern boreal landscape located within minutes of a large city. This 7,700-year-old bog provides habitat for many species of regionally rare and significant plants, birds and other wildlife. It also supports plant and wildlife populations that are typical of northern boreal bogs.

Picturesque view

With more than 20 kilometres of trails, Mer Bleue offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Wonderful boardwalk

You can take a self-guided tour along the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, a 1.2-kilometre interpretive boardwalk. Check out the Dewberry Trail as well. Photography and birding are also popular activities at Mer Bleue.

Discover the remarkable trees in this area.

Remarkable trees

9. Rideau Falls.

The twin falls mark the spot where the Rideau River flows into the Ottawa River. The 2.89-hectare park is the site of several commemorations, including the Mackenzie-Papineau Monument, the Commonwealth Air Force Memorial and the National Artillery Monument.

Raging waters

Confederation Boulevard landmark, Rideau Falls Park is located at 50 Sussex Drive, a short walk from Rideau Hall. In the 1800s, the site was an industrial area powered by the falls. Rideau Falls Park was developed after the Second World War, when the area was acquired by the federal government and cleared of industry.

Rideau Falls and Green Island

8. Princess Louise Falls

This waterfalls is located in Orleans and is a part of a river system that was buried underground to allow suburban home construction.

Princess Louise Falls

7. Eagle’s Nest, Madawaska, ON

Eagle’s Nest Lookout is a 2.7 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Greater Madawaska, Ontario, Canada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Inukshuk on the trail, uniquely Canadian.

An easy 1.5 km hike along an old logging road that climbs gradually uphill, through the woods, leading to a spectacular lookout at the top of a 120 metre cliff. 

Trail to the Eagle’s Nest

Across the road, on your left, you will note the Eagle’s Nest trail sign marking the entrance to the trail. Follow the trail for about 20 minutes. Note the eagle’s head, painted signs in the trees above you on the right. As you pass a pond on your left, look for a large, colourful and informative sign, just off to your right. Follow the short trail up the hill to the right to the cliff site and enjoy the view.

Magnificent view from the top

6. Andrew Haydon Park

Andrew Haydon Park is a park on the Ottawa River that is managed by the City of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road.

Migrating Canada geese, brants, ducks, and shorebirds stop over along the marshy edges of the river near the park. Resident Canada geese and mallards also inhabit the park’s two ponds.

The park was named after Andrew Haydon, former Reeve of Nepean.

Red and orange
Serenity
Before sunset
Sunset at its finest
Just chillin’ here

5. Mississippi Mills, ON

Mississippi Mills is a town in eastern Ontario, Canada, in Lanark County on the Mississippi River. It is made up of the former Townships of Ramsay and Pakenham, as well as the Town of Almonte. It is partly located within Canada’s National Capital Region.

Mississippi River
Pakenham Bridge
Chillin on the Mississippi River

4. Petrie Island

The Petrie Islands group on the Ottawa River was formed by sand deposited at the close of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. The 2 km by 500 m area, from the foot of Champlain St. to Trim Rd in Orleans, has a total shoreline length, including all channels and bays, of about 12 km.

Some simply come to relax in a peaceful setting, often bringing a good book; photographers, painters and musicians visit, and many come down to view sunsets over the river. The picnic area has brought new popularity to the islands, and children love to play in the sand or explore the trails looking for turtles and other wildlife. While the area is busiest in summer, it is a local favourite for ice fishing in winter and offers quiet woods for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Petrie Island
Relaxing waters

3. Rockcliffe Park

The Village of Rockcliffe Park is like no other, offering not just abundant green space and beautiful homes, each with their own intrinsic character, but also a very special sense of community. It offers excellent schools within walking distance and recreational activities to fit almost every taste and stage in life – from walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, rowing and sailing, skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing to a variety of indoor activities scheduled at the community centre. And all this just minutes from shopping along Beechwood Avenue and downtown Ottawa.

Old Victorian house
Whitemarl Drive, Rockcliffe

2. Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is the National Capital Region’s conservation park. The largest green space in the region, the Park occupies an area of more than 361 square kilometres, and is a place of rich and unique biodiversity. It is the second-most visited park in Canada, and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts to engage in recreational activities that respect the environment.

Gatineau Park’s vast territory is divided into several sectors, one of which is accessible from downtown Ottawa–Gatineau, and each of which feature various points of interest and historical places. Unlike other national parks, this park has several entry points, and some roads through it, leading to the northern and western sectors.

Gatineau Park Lookout
Lac Philippe Trail
Gatineau Lookout
  1. Major’s Hill Park

Between events, the park is a calm oasis in downtown Ottawa, and the perfect spot to take a break between visits to the ByWard Market and nearby museums and galleries.

This park features some of the best lookouts in Ottawa, offering stunning views of the Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and the Parliament Buildings. Take a stroll through the park’s stately trees, over its rolling lawns and winding pathways, and learn about its history through a series of interpretation panels.

Major’s Hill Park is an exceptional site to see tulips blooming in the spring.

Overlooking the Parliament Hill
Major’s Hill Park during Tulip Festival
Parliament Hill

Author:

Filipino-Canadian. Lives in Ottawa, Ontario. Full time frontliner, part-time scribbler.

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