If you are planning to visit Ottawa in the Winter, you should know that we have many fun outdoor activities in the city or nearby. Check out this blog for a comprehensive list of Winter activities in Ottawa. While you may have heard of skating the Rideau Canal, the Winterlude Festival, or snowshoeing and skiing the area, fat biking/snow biking is becoming more and more popular as it’s one of your best options when exploring the Ottawa Gatineau area! If you live in Ottawa and are not flying South this Winter, the local area offers an abundance of snow biking trails for your next adventure. Locals are obsessed with this new sport, and below are our top five rides from Downtown to the Orleans neighbourhood (East of Ottawa) for you and your family to explore!
Distance from Downtown: 0km
You may be wondering What is the Best Time to Visit Ottawa? Riding beside the Rideau Canal will prove Ottawa’s Wintertime as one of your most vibrant seasons of the year. The Canals paved pathways offers a family-friendly route for an enthusiast to ride while observing the hundreds of canal skaters. Stop near Dow’s Lake to enjoy some hot chocolate beside an outside fire pit to warm up those brisk fingers. The recommended circuit starts at the heart of downtown near Escape Bicycle Tours; from there, you will follow the many people skating the Rideau Canal for 8.5km until you reach the frozen Hog’s Back Falls (otherwise known as the Prince of Whales Falls). Take a picture and head on back the same way grabbing a Beavertail to treat your sweet and savory cravings!
Distance from Downtown: 4km
At the heart of the Westboro neighborhood is the Kìchì Sìbì Winter Trails. Running parallel to Ottawa’s O-Train Confederation Line (Ottawa’s Metro line), this path is a hub for winter activities. Offering a family-friendly route, the formerly known SJAM Winter Trail is perfect for renting or learning to fat bike in Ottawa. This open-spaced trail follows the Ottawa river connecting the historic Mill St. Brew Pub and the Canadian War Museum to the Westboro end of the city. The 27km long stretch provides hours of fun, passing by landmarks such as the frozen Remic Rapids and Westboro Beach.
Distance from Downtown: 4km
The Rideau Winter Trail is a bit more advanced yet offers just as scenic views for fat biking in Ottawa. You will be biking through downtown Ottawa yet feel immersed in nature. Along the Rideau River, the FREE trail runs from Donald St. to Bank St., offering groomed paths for x-country skiing, walking, snowshoeing, and, most importantly, fat biking. Popular with locals, this is a must-ride snow biking trail in the Ottawa Gatineau area.
Distance from Downtown: 12km
The Britannia Winter Trail is a popular spot for inner-city fat biking enthusiasts. When heading downtown to Britannia Park, you can head east or west along the Ottawa River. Several loops lap the park, and its beaches are built explicitly for casual fat biking rides. As a community-led project, the volunteers take pride in their well-groomed paths. As one of the more accessible trails on this list, I recommend taking the family out on a weekend to explore the vast and well-maintained pathways provided by the Britannia Winter Trails.
Distance from Downtown: 8km
Hosting a mecca of winter sports on the Ski Heritage East Trail you will find individuals commonly skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking the trail. Edging the Ottawa River from Blair Rd. to Trim Rd., this trail spans 33 kilometers of secluded trail near the Orleans and East end of the city. Seen as fat biking heaven, many spend the entire day grazing the many sights the trail brings. Make sure not to ride the classic ski routes and enjoy the free use groomed track.
Now that you have an excellent overview of the fat biking trails in Ottawa, all you need to do is to pick a track and try it out. If this is your first time, we suggest attempting an easy course such as the Kìchì Sìbì Winter Trails. Or, if your family is adventurous, we recommend trekking out to the Rideau Winter Trail, as it’s not too far and always poses fantastic scenery. For experienced fat bikers, check out the Ottawa Gatineau Fat Bike Trails You Have To Ride This Winter blog. You can find some more rugged and intense trail recommendations there! Don’t miss out on fat biking Ottawa this winter, as it could be your next family outing! If you don’t have a fat bike, don’t worry, contact Escape Bicycle Tours as we have a few available for sale.
Author: Grant Kowalsky