Cross-Country Skiing in the Greenbelt

Photo of a cross-country skier on a forest trail
Ski in the Greenbelt this winter

Grab your skis and head out to the Greenbelt this winter! This area encircling Ottawa has over 150 kilometres of cross-country ski trails. You can use the trails for free and all are suitable for beginner and family outings.

The Greenbelt ski trails are a combination of trails, pathways and forest access roads. Read on for information about groomed ski trails and ski trails by geographic area. See the National Capital Greenbelt All Seasons Trail Map for further details, including the locations of forest access roads.

Groomed Ski Trails

Over 40 kilometres of trails in the Greenbelt are mechanically groomed by volunteer groups. These trails are:

  • Shirleys Bay — Trails 11 and 12
  • Stony Swamp — Trails 20, 21 and 22
  • Pine Grove — Trails 45 and 46
  • Mer Bleue — Trails 50, 51 and 52
  • Green’s Creek — Trails 61, 62 and 63.

Thanks to the Orleans Nordic Ski Club and the Kanata Ski Club for their efforts in grooming these trails.

Shirleys Bay Ski Trails

At Shirleys Bay, to the west of Ottawa, you can cross-country ski on these trails:

  • Trail 10 — This 4.2-kilometre ski trail crosses fallow fields and young forests, and provides a view of the Ottawa River.
  • Trails 11 and 12 — 2.7 kilometres of groomed ski trails.
  • Watts Creek Pathway — This 9.3-kilometre ski trail connects to the Greenbelt Pathway West and the Ottawa River Parkway, and is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
  • Greenbelt Pathway West — This 10.4-kilometre ski trail passes by forests, fields and farms.
Facilities
Washrooms There is an outhouse by the P1 parking lot.
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P1, P2 and P3 parking lots.

Stony Swamp Ski Trails

At Stony Swamp, in south-western Ottawa, you can cross-country ski on these trails:

  • Trails 20, 21 and 22 —7.7 kilometres of groomed ski trails that wind through forests with many interesting habitats.
  • Old Quarry Trail — Ski along this 3.1-kilometre trail and learn about the unusual geology of this area. Use Old Quarry Trail: The Making of a Landscape as your guide.
  • Trails 23, 24 and 25 — 9.5 kilometres of ski trails that connect to the Old Quarry Trail if you’d like to go even further.
  • Trails 26, 27, 28 and 29 — 12.5 kilometres of ski trails.
  • Lime Kiln Trail — This 2.1-kilometre ski trail passes a heritage lime kiln.

Some of these trails overlap with the Rideau Trail, which extends to Kingston, Ontario. The main Rideau Trail is marked with orange triangles, side trails with blue triangles.

Facilities
Washrooms There are outhouses at the P5, P7, P8, P9, P11 and P12 parking lots.
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P4 to P13 parking lots.

Southern Farm and Pinhey Forest Ski Trails

At Pinhey Forest, to the south of Ottawa, you can cross-country ski on these trails:

  • Trails 30 and 31 — 3.6 kilometres of ski trails through the mixed woods of Pinhey Forest.
  • Trails 32 and 33 — 2.8 kilometres of ski trails through mixed woods.
Facilities
Washrooms There is an outhouse by trail 32 at the P15 parking lot.
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P14 and P15 parking lots.

Pine Grove Ski Trails

In Pine Grove Forest, to the south of Ottawa, you can cross-country ski on these trails:

  • Trails 40 and 42 — 4.7 kilometres of ski trails
  • Trails 43 and 44 — 7.3 kilometres of ski trails through a large forested area consisting of a mix of native woods and managed plantations. Pine Grove Forest includes a self-guided forestry management interpretive trail and tree-identification arboretum.
  • Trails 45 and 46 — 6.4 kilometres of groomed ski trails.
Facilities
Washrooms There is an outhouse at the P18 parking lot, by Trail 43.
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P16, P18 and P19 parking lots.

Mer Bleue Ski Trails

At Mer Bleue, in south-eastern Ottawa, you can cross-country ski on these trails:

  • Trails 50, 51 and 52 — 12.8 kilometres of ski trails that wind their way through a forest on a sandy ridge.
  • Trails 53 and 53A — 6.7 kilometres of ski trails, which offer an extended ski from the boardwalk trail.
  • Dewberry Trail — This 1-kilometre ski loop is located on the Dolman Ridge.
Facilities
Washrooms There are outhouses at the P20, P21 and P22 parking lots.
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P20, P21, P22 and P23 parking lots.

Green’s Creek Ski Trails

At Green’s Creek, to the east of Ottawa, you can ski on trails 61, 62 and 63, which offer 4.1 kilometres of groomed ski trails. These trails wind through Green's Creek Valley, cutting through clay and post-glacial deposits from the ancient Champlain Sea. Natural lookouts offer striking views of the valley.

Facilities
Parking Free, year-round parking is available at the P25 and P26 parking lots.

More Information

For more information see the Greenbelt’s visitor information. Trail head bulletin boards in each parking lot also offer information specific to the trails in that area.