Best Bike Trails in Ottawa
The city of Ottawa appears to be fairly flat, but mountain bikers will be pleased to know the highest and lowest points in the city are separately by a respectable 400 feet of elevation. As the capital of Canada, Ottawa sees its fair share of government, business, and tourist visits, and exploring the local topography via mountain bike is always worthwhile.
South March Highlands Conservation Forest
Not only does the trail system at South March Highlands offer something for everyone–smooth, flowy sections mixed with rock gardens and bridges–it’s also a dual-season destination offering ideal conditions for fat biking in winter. In total, there are about 20 miles of interconnected trails here, located roughly 17 miles from downtown Ottawa (but still within the city limits.)
Kanata Trail System
The Kanata Trail System is connected to the South March Highlands Conservation Forest. The rolling terrain at Kanata is great for cross-country riding. Newer riders may find the trails to be technically challenging, and even advanced riders say the network can be confusing to first-time visitors.
Mont Sainte Marie
Better known as Velo MSM, Mont Sainte Marie features a summer bike park with lift-served trails built and maintained by a local non-profit group. Cross country and gravity riders alike will appreciate the expertly-sculpted trails and epic scenery at Mont Sainte Marie. A suggested $10 donation helps keep the trails maintained, and riders will need to purchase tickets to access the lift system.
While the Mont Tremblant ski area, located less than 2 hours from Ottawa, doesn’t offer downhill riding, the resort does maintain almost 40 miles of fat bike trails in the winter. In summer, riders can choose from among nearly 30 miles of scenic bike trails and forest roads in the area.
MTB Kingston is a community-driven, four-season bike park located about two hours south of Ottawa. This private trail system boasts almost 25 miles of trails, though riders will need to apply for a membership or visit as a guest of an existing member to check it out. There are several XC loops at MTB Kingston that range from beginner to advanced.
Next up: Hartford, CT.