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Top 5 Family-Friendly Fat Bike Trails in Ottawa Gatineau

Published: February 7, 2023
Last updated: November 14, 2023

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 fat 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!

(Commonly from January until March the Rideau Canal is frozen becoming the Worlds Longest Skating Rink.)

1. The Rideau Canal Fat Bike Path

Length: 8.5km
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!

(Leah and Trevor with family friends can be seen exploring the Kìchì Sìbì Winter Trails in 2017.)

2. Kìchì Sìbì Winter Fat Bike Trails (Former SJAM Winter Trail)

Length: 27km
Distance from Downtown: 4km

At the heart of the Westboro neighborhood is the Kìchì Sìbì Winter Fat Bike  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 Fat Bike 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.

The Rideau Winter Trail is located in the heart of Ottawa hosting a wide variety of scenic views and winter activities. Source

3. Rideau Winter Fat Bike Trail

Length: 12km
Distance from Downtown: 4km

The Rideau Winter Fat Bike 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 fat biking trail in the Ottawa Gatineau area. 

This photo was the headliner for CBC News’ 2022 winter activities report, which included the Brittania Winter Trail. Source

4. The Britannia Winter Fat Bike Trail

Length: 17km
Distance from Downtown: 12km

The Britannia Winter Fat Bike Trail is a popular spot for inner-city fat biking enthusiasts. When heading from downtown Ottawa 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 fat bike trails. 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. 

(Besides fat biking the Ski Heritage East Winter Trail many choose to ski or snowshoe the riverside paths.)

5. The Ski Heritage East Winter Fat Bike Trail

Length: 33km
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 great varierty of sizes of Norco Bigfoot Winter Fat Bikes for Rent right in our downtown Ottawa location. We have made renting a Winter Fat Bike in Ottawa very easy with our online booking system and flexible rental options. 

Author: Grant Kowalsky

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