Biking in Ottawa is incredible! Imagine 600 km of paved trails including waterfront pathways running along Rideau Canal, the Rideau, Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers!
There are lots of flat, beautiful paths separated from traffic, there are loops and itinerary options for cyclists of all abilities and interests.
You have endless options including biking on the iconic Rideau Canal and along the pathways, you can see Ottawa’s major attractions and landmarks such as Parliament Hill, Museums, the Farmer’s market, beautiful waterfalls, beaches and much more.
Renting a bike in Ottawa at Escape Tours and Rentals is easy. All our rentals come with routing suggestions based on your interests and your time availability. Whether you plan to stop for sightseeing or go for a long bike ride, we can give you some wonderful route suggestions.
Rent a bike from us and pick up your Ottawa bike paths maps of the Rideau Canal, Rideau River, Ottawa River Pathway and more. Start your self-guided Ottawa tour today!
Your Ottawa bike rental includes a lock, helmet and pannier bag for your picnic!
Heart of Ottawa
The heart of Ottawa tour gives you a good impression of Ottawa’s core. You will cycle along the Rideau Canal towards the Ottawa River behind the Senate and the Parliament buildings on a beautiful pathway. The pathway leads along the Ottawa River upstream to the Portage Bridge. Arriving in the province of Quebec, you can visit the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.
You will cross the historic Alexandria Bridge, from which you have spectacular views on the Ottawa River and the Parliament buildings. After cutting through Major Hill Park, cycle along the canal towards the Corktown Bridge, where you will have a gorgeous view on the canal and the historic Chateau Laurier.
The Rideau Experience takes you along the Ottawa River eastbound just outside downtown to enjoy the many green spaces Ottawa is known for. Passing the War memorial in downtown, you head towards the Rideau Canal. Crossing the Corktown bridge, with its views and love locks, you will cycle back along the canal northbound towards the Chateau Laurier and Major Hill park. Enjoy the views from the park and see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the National Art Gallery with a treasure trove of National and International art.
Following the route along Sussex Drive with its embassies, you will eventually arrive at the Rideau Falls. From here you head down to Rockcliffe Park. The park is popular for weddings in case you have plans. Cycle back on Sussex and turn into the main entrance of Rideau Hall, the home of the Canadian Governor-General. In summer, you will be greeted by the Governor General’s Foot Guards. They won’t blink an eye, even when you take pictures of them. Your route continues through the old quarter of New Edinburgh and after crossing the historic Minto Bridges you arrive back in Lowertown. After passing the Byward Market, you can find your way back along the canal to Sparks Street
The Rideau Canal allows you to see a large and important part of the manmade section of the Rideau Canal. As the river was too shallow further east, this entire part was dug by the workers to allow for a deeper channel. Start downtown and make your way to the canal. Follow the gentle and beautifully landscaped pathway while keeping the canal to your left. At the lights, cross Queen Elizabeth Drive and continue at the other side of the road for a few hundred meters. Check out Lansdowne with its park, its heritage apple trees, a farmers’ market on Sundays, cafes and restaurants and a chocolate store. You can peak inside the stadium, home of several sports teams such as the Red Blacks and Atletico Ottawa on the east and west sides.
Continue cycling along the canal, until you arrive at Dow’s Lake with its canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals. Keep the lake on your left; in May you will see 300,000 tulips blooming on your right in Commissioners Park. After the Pavilion, you enter the Arboretum with its collection of Canadian trees, shrubs and grasses, pathways and ponds. Don’t forget to take a peak in the Fletcher Wildlife Gardens. Cross the locks at Hartwell’s Locks and follow the canal all the way back downtown. Cross one of the two pedestrian bridges to get you back to our store.
If you want to go for a ride that goes a bit out of downtown, than this one is for you. Make your way to the canal and turn left towards the Ottawa River along the locks that bring boaters from the Rideau Canal to Ottawa River and back. This historic place is a great spot to people-watch or have a picnic in the shadow of Parliament Hill. Continue east along the Ottawa River. There is a bit of spaghetti of pathways underneath a major arterial bridge, but just keep following the yellow line in the middle of the pathway. Eventually, you will pass the war museum (with a cafeteria) and then continue until you cycle underneath an abandoned railway bridge. Later in spring, you will see a collection of rocks stacked in the river by a local artist. Every year he starts again. Take a close look but don’t touch them, as they are not glued, it is all ‘just’ balance.
The next bridge is the Champlain bridge (bike lanes only) where you turn north towards Quebec, la belle Province. Stop halfway on Bates Island for view over the river. If the water is high you might catch some surfing at the northeast end of the island. After the bridge, you connect to the pathways that run along the Quebec side of the river. Eventually, you end up at the Canadian Museum of History, check out the gorgeous views of the Parliamentary Precinct. Take the old train bridge, now a car and pedestrian/cycling bridge, back to Ottawa, turn right into Major Hill park and find your way back along the canal and across the bridge with the love locks.
Rideau Canal + Rideau River
From downtown, you follow the canal to the Corktown Bridge, also known as the love locks bridge and you continue south on the pathway along Colonel By Drive. At some point, you will see Dow’s Lake on your right hand, continue following the path, while noticing the tower of Carleton U on your left. The pathway ends at yet another lake, called Mooney’s Bay: this is the place where the Rideau River and the Canal become two separate entities, both flowing north. The pathway winds underneath the two bridges but eventually you will find yourself at the east end of the waterways and you will head north again through lots of green space. If needed, stop at the beautiful washroom structure on your right in the trees in Vincent Massey Park and/or have a picnic at one of the many tables scattered under the trees).
The pathway follows the Rideau River and is mostly protected by greenery, with several open spaces along the way. At the 11 mile point, you will cross over the Rideau river on the Adawe Bridge. Stop for a bit to enjoy the low water level water finding its way between the rocks. Before the bridge was built in 2015, people would sometimes cross the river here by foot. The route continues on a calm road with some convenience stores and coffee/tea places and eventually ends up at the campus of Ottawa U. This brings you back to the canal and you are back downtown.
Ottawa Nature Loop
Starting downtown, cycle leisurely across the Rideau Canal Pathway (west). At Dow’s Lake, turn left into the Arboretum which is a beautiful and historic green space featuring hundreds of varieties of ornamental gardens and remarkable trees. Enjoy biking through the lush green spaces of the Arboretum and stop at Hartwell Locks to watch the boats passing by.
Taking the road behind the Locks’ information centre, you will enter the Experimental Farm, one of the National Capital’s treasures. Surrounded by the city, this internationally-acclaimed centre for agricultural research is a lush oasis of grain-filled fields, barnyard animals, and spectacular gardens. You can stop and visit the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum here.
You can then follow the experimental pathway to Island Park Drive. Make sure you stop for lunch or a snack while passing through the Westboro neighbourhood before heading back through the Ottawa River pathway! You can stop and marvel al the rock sculptures at Remic Rapids. Cycling east (downtown) on Ottawa River pathways (aka SJAM stands for Sir John A. Macdonald), you will be immersed even more in Ottawa’ nature and beauty!
Gatineau Park – Lac Leamy
This tour takes you all the way into Gatineau Park on a beautiful green route, combined with beautiful views of Ottawa. After you cycled across the canal and the Ottawa River, you’ll eventually cross the Ottawa River towards Quebec. Stop halfway for a beautiful view back on downtown Ottawa before you leave the river behind you. Follow the shore line closely for a bit in Quebec and eventually turn north into Gatineau Park. The path goes up gently but can be a bit of a work out for some, so be warned. There is a short stretch with a 12% climb. Alternatively, you could attack the park with an e-bike of course! The path turns east and meanders through green spaces in the outskirts of Gatineau, past several water bodies all the way to the Canadian Museum of History. Enjoy the museum and the view across the river before you descent back to Ottawa. Cross the locks and you are back in downtown Ottawa. Just in time for a cold beverage after all that hard work.
Rent a bicycle at Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals located at 79 Sparks St. Our store is only steps away from the National War Memorial and a great starting point for several short bike trips to the many memorials in our nation’s capital.