Running along urban trails

Awesome run routes in Ottawa-Gatineau

Whether running’s part of your weekday schedule or your weekend fun, you might find yourself growing tired of following the same paths over and over again. To break out of a running rut, check out these great route ideas and inspiration around Ottawa-Gatineau.

From urban scenery to peaceful parks and riverside trails, these routes offer something for every runner. Grab your run buddy to explore somewhere new – lace up, Ottawa, it’s time to get out there!

Arboretum Run Route (3K)

Dominion Arboretum - run route map

This short, snappy 3-kilometre route through Ottawa’s Arboretum will give your legs (and lungs) a quick and satisfying workout. If 3 kilometres isn’t enough to get your heart rate going, you can throw in extra loops for an added push.

See why it’s a great spot to train with our guide to running at the Arboretum

View of the Ottawa Arboretum

Peaceful Parc la Baie Run (5K)

Gatineau's Parc la Baie - run route map

Head out to Parc la Baie in Gatineau for a workout in a peaceful setting. This 5-kilometre loop takes you through the park and along the Ottawa River, where you’ll find sparkling waters and very little traffic.

Ready for a unique time to run here? Check out our guide to running at Parc la Baie.

Rockcliffe and River Views Run (7K)

Rockcliffe and River Views - run route map

This 7-kilometre route starts in Rockcliffe Park Pavilion and heads along the river that separates Ontario and Quebec. Once you reach your halfway point, the second part of your run brings you through quiet residential neighbourhoods before connecting with Rockcliffe Driveway to return where you started.

Get the scoop on a nearby swimming hole in our guide to running Rockcliffe Park.

Run the Canal Route (10K)

Rideau Canal - run route map

Home to the Ottawa 10K, this iconic canal loop provides traffic-free paths surrounded by beautiful scenery. Your run starts on the Rideau Canal Western Pathway by City Hall and takes you down to Dow’s Lake, where you’ll cross over onto the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. Follow this path until you reach the Corktown Footbridge, then cross back over onto the Western Pathway to finish your run at City Hall.

Get tips on this must-run route in our guide to running the Rideau Canal.

Scenic view of the Rideau Canal

MEC and Coffee Run (12K)

MEC Ottawa and coffee - run route map

Strap on your favourite runners and a GPS watch, and set off on this 12-kilometre jaunt through the city. Starting at the MEC Ottawa store on Richmond Road in Westboro (a good place to pick up energy gels before you start), you’ll make your way through Wellington West, Fisher Park, Little Italy, Chinatown and Centretown. After working up an appetite, end your run at Bridgehead, where a cup of coffee and a treat await.

South March Highlands Forest and Lakes Run (13K)

South March Highlands Forest and Lakes - run route map

Outside the heart of Ottawa is the South March Highlands Conservation Forest, a favourite spot of the MEC Ottawa Running Club. The old-growth forest is home to more than lots of trails including this 13-kilometre trail route for you to explore, surrounded by ponds and sugar maple trees.

Get tips for these trails with our guide to running in South March Highlands forest.

Across the Border Route (20K)

Ottawa-Quebec border - run route map

If you’re up for the ultimate adventure through Ottawa, try tackling this 20-kilometre route. You’ll start at the Arboretum and head all the way to Quebec, where you’ll enter Gatineau Park for some light trail running. From sidewalks and towering trees to flowing rivers and pretty forests, this journey will give you a taste of everything the Ottawa region has to offer.

Up for this challenge? Check out our guide to the Ottawa to Quebec run route.

Autumn leaves on Gatineau Park trail

Have fun exploring

Whether you prefer a relaxed run through Ottawa’s Arboretum or a challenging route across rocky terrain, you’ll have an excellent time exploring routes and trail around Ottawa. Looking for a run watch to help track your route? Learn how to choose the right running watch for you.

Photo credits: Chanan Greenblatt, Gordon Bell, michelaubryphoto / Shutterstock.com, Dennis Trigylidas

Joanie Gaudreau

Writer and fitness enthusiast always chasing her next mountain peak. Also coffee. She chases coffee, too.