The Capital Pathway: Multi-use Paths in the Capital
Canada’s Capital Region is home to the Capital Pathway network, one of the largest in North America. More than 600 kilometres of multi-use paths link superb natural areas, parks, gardens, museums and attractions. These multi-use paths are great for many activities such as cycling, walking, running and in-line skating. There are also many routes that lead to downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. More and more cyclists are using these to get to work.
The NCC manages part of the Capital Pathway network (more than 250 kilometres). Enjoy fresh air, exercise and scenic landscapes on paths that extend from Gatineau Park, through Ottawa and into the Greenbelt. The network also links the Capital to hundreds of locations across Canada via the Trans Canada Trail, which will extend to 24,000 kilometres by 2017. The pathways in the Outaouais are also part of the 5,300-kilometre Route verte network.
The Capital Pathway network is marked on the following maps:
Signs are posted along the paths to guide you. You will also find maps at many pathway intersections.
Before you head out, find out where pathway rehabilitation and construction projects are taking place. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook to receive real-time updates on pathway closures and conditions.
Most of the pathways are accessible for people with impaired mobility. However, other than the paths along the Ottawa River, the Gatineau side of the network is very hilly, with many steep slopes, and is therefore not recommended. Here are a few suggested pathways that are paved and that follow fairly flat terrain.
- Aviation Pathway (follows the south shore of the Ottawa River east of downtown)
- Experimental Farm Pathway (Ottawa south and central)
- Ottawa River Pathway, west (follows the south shore of the Ottawa River west of downtown)
- Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway (follows the eastern bank of the Rideau Canal south from downtown)
- Rideau Canal Western Pathway (follows the western bank of the Rideau Canal south from downtown)
- Rideau River Eastern Pathway (follows the Rideau River south from downtown)
- Watts Creek Pathway (located in the Greenbelt’s western sector, near Shirleys Bay)
- Voyageurs Pathway (follows the north shore of the Ottawa River both east and west of downtown)
- De l’Île Pathway (downtown Gatineau)
Safety and the Pathway Patrol
The Capital Pathway is shared by many users. Keep the paths safe by following the courtesy and safety rules. In particular:
- Share the paths by keeping to the right so that other users can pass.
- Keep your music low to be able to hear others’ bells and warnings.
- Obey the speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour (faster cyclists should seek alternative routes, which are marked on the Ottawa–Gatineau cycling map).
- Dogs on leash are welcome on the Capital Pathway network. Please keep your dog close by your side to ensure that it does not cross the path. Use an appropriate leash that does not exceed a length of two metres. And please remember that skiing, skating or cycling with your dog is not allowed on the pathways.
Pathway patrollers help ensure that your outing is safe and enjoyable. They can provide directions, information, first aid and emergency care, and basic equipment repairs. Pathway patrollers include the Ottawa Police, Gatineau Police, RCMP and volunteers from the City of Ottawa’s volunteer pathway patrol and Vélo-Services' volunteer pathway patrol.
Report Pathway Problems
Help us keep the pathways safe and pleasant. Let us know about anything that needs repair or maintenance, such as fallen trees, broken glass or potholes. Call us at 613-239-5000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NCC has a 24-hour emergency assistance line: 613-239-5353.
VeloGO is the bike share service for the Ottawa–Gatineau area. Bike sharing is a fun, healthy and affordable way to get around the Capital Region. Rent a bike, and breeze through morning traffic, take a spin on your lunch break, or turn running an errand into a refreshing adventure.
You can rent a bike through
Discover Ottawa–Gatineau Capital Pathway Cycling Loops on Google Maps
Ottawa–Gatineau has some of the most scenic cycling routes in Canada. Here are two suggestions for cycling loops: one route in Ottawa that suits all ages and abilities, and one route in Gatineau for more advanced cyclists.
Rideau River and Rideau Canal Loop: 22 km
This fully paved cycling loop follows scenic water routes over fairly flat terrain with some inclines. It is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
Gatineau River and Gatineau Park Loop: 24.3 km
This cycling loop is ideal for nature lovers. It winds through scenic natural wooded areas and open rolling terrain with some steep hills, and is fully paved. Best suited to advanced cyclists.
This Google map will help you choose a starting point for your bike trip, and it suggests sights to see along the way. It also provides information about parking, washrooms and other services.