The Capital Pathway: Multi-use Paths in the Capital

Photo of a cyclist at sunset, on a riverside path.
One of the many paths to enjoy in Ottawa and Gatineau

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. The paths are great for cycling and many other activities such as walking, running and in-line skating.

The NCC manages a part of the Capital Pathway network (200 kilometres). Enjoy fresh air, exercise and scenic landscapes on paths that extend from Gatineau Park, through Ottawa and into the Greenbelt. The network links the Capital to the whole of Canada via the 15,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail. The pathways in the Outaouais are also part of the 4,000-kilometre Route verte network.

Getting Around

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 expansion construction projects are taking place.

Universal Accessibility

Most of the pathways are accessible for people with impaired mobility. If you will be using a wheelchair to travel the pathways, check the map to see which paths are unpaved or sloped.

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 so that you can hear bells and warnings.
  • Respect the speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour (faster cyclists should seek alternate routes, which are marked on the Ottawa–Gatineau Cycling map).

Pathway patrollers help ensure your outing is safe and enjoyable. They can provide directions, information, first aid and emergency care, and basic equipment repairs. Pathway patrollers include NCC employees, the Ottawa Police, the Gatineau Police, the RCMP and volunteers from the City of Ottawa’s volunteer pathway patrol and the Ville de Gatineau’s Vélo-patrouille.

Report Pathway Problems

Help us keep the paths safe and pleasant. Let us know about spots along the pathways that need repair or maintenance, such as fallen trees, broken glass or potholes. Call us at 613-239-5000 or email us at info@ncc-ccn.ca.

Emergency

The NCC has a 24-hour emergency assistance line: 613-239-5353.

Discover the Capital Pathway Cycling Loops of Ottawa–Gatineau 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.