Best Spots for Winter Dog Walking in Ottawa

Last spring I met someone who had stumbled across my blog, when searching for the best dog walking paths for winter outings (especially for pooches that don't want to socialize all the time).  Not surprising, that she found this blog, as I mention dog walkers quite a bit here - since they create such great walking paths (desire lines) for any urban nature lover who wants to get out in the winter!

But they were hoping to find some recommended paths in the west end that could be used as a weekend outing when they had more time to get out and explore.  They mentioned that in the winter dogs are not permitted on any NCC Greenbelt trails** as these trails are used by cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during these months.  Which limits dog-walking locations from the start of December through to mid April for those who want to get out into nature but don't want to go to popular dog parks such as Bruce Pit or Conroy Pit.  But there are some great greenspaces both in the greenbelt and other natural areas and even some in the suburbs.  (I know... walking in the suburbs doesn't sound like lots of fun but you may be surprised by some of the natural areas in a suburb close to you.  Bonus for suburbs is that still give you and your pup that out-of-doors enjoyment while not being too far away from the city.)  Some times even checking out another suburb's favourite dog-walking path might be just the change that you & Fido might need!

Remember to always check local signs for information about dog walking: whether dogs can be off-leash or if they must be on-leash and watch as there may be some restricted spots within larger areas where dogs are "verboten".  Always look for updated information on site.

(Not in Ottawa but curious about how to find different dog parks beyond your regular haunts?  Read this post about locating natural dog walking spots in your own city!)

So if you are a local dog owner in the Ottawa area and like to be out in nature with your pooch (a.k.a canine best friend) here are some suggestions:


  • Sheila McKee Park - Off of Sixth Line (down to Ottawa River) - On-leash City Park 
  • Behind Richcraft Recreation Complex (on Innovation Drive) and through Monk Env. Park (both On-leash City Parks) and take informal pathway to Beaver Pond (On-leash City Park) 
  • Craig Park to Gow Park to the small forest (Alice Wilson Woods) bordered by The Pkwy and Leacock Way - all On-leash City Parks
  • Monagan Forest (Fallowfield and Moodie Drive) - On-leash City Park


  • Behind the Nepean Sportsplex - On-leash greenspace owned by the National Capital Commission.
  • Hunt Club - Uplands hydro corridor (access from various locations including McCarthy and Uplands Park) - Unsure as to ownership and/or regulations but I do see dog walkers here.
  • Central Experimental Farm (On-leash area) - great space to explore with your dog.  Two areas that are restricted to dogs: Ornamental Gardens and research fields.
  • Hearts Desire - Barrhaven (Off-leash area) - there are a number of linked parks along the Jock and Rideau here that offer some great natural spaces to explore.


  • Bilberry Creek Valley Park north of the Queensway (access at Des Epinettes Avenue) - Off-leash City Park - over half a square kilometer of greenspace!
  • Princess Louise Falls and Fallingbrook Park (between Tenth line and Trim Road) On-leash City Park - great place to explore including linear park and open space above.
  • Aquaview Park (small but a nice walk!) can be extended north under hydro lines (includes crossing Innes at promenade Esprit Drive).  Or take it from the other end starting at Cardinal Creek Karst Path.  These are all on-leash parks and pathways.

If you are in the East End or visiting, remember Dogs are Not Allowed on Petrie Island (this includes the City beach area, the Bill Holland Trail and GrandmaĆ®tre Ecological Reserve).  All of the above city park suggestions can be reviewed on the City of Ottawa Dogs in Park webpage (that includes a map!)

Hope that this Ottawa Winter Dog Walking List helps!


** Leashed dogs ARE welcome on the Capital Pathway at any time of year.
  • Greenbelt Pathway East (12.5 km - Green's Creek area: Northern section (Parkway to Blackburn Hamlet (Tauvette Street) Southern section (Ramsayville Road to Albion Road)
  • Greenbelt Pathway West (21.2 km - west end Shirleys Bay through Bells Corners to (east) Fallowfield Rd)
  • Watts Creek Pathway (9.6 km - west end March Road to (east) Carling Avenue)

But keep in mind that dogs are NOT permitted at any time at these N.C.C. locations: Shirleys Bay, Stony Swamp, Mer Bleue, Pine Grove.  (All of this information is taken from the N.C.C. website.)

It does make sense to restrict dogs from some natural areas as there have been studies showing that the presence of dogs does influence wildlife behaviour including birds - so it's great that there are some conservation areas that are strictly for wildlife.  Dog owners may think that a quick romp for their pooch in a "no dog" or "leashed" area might be OK but remember - not all birds nest in trees - there are ground nests and those that find shelter in low shrubs that can be disturbed by an unleashed dog along with the general predatory disturbance of dogs (quick movement, barking, chasing, unnatural scents) that upsets all wildlife!


For those NOT from Ottawa - here's a post on finding your own best dog walking spots in other cities:

For those who do not live in Ottawa, this natural areas for dog walking post will give you some tips on how to find some great natural areas for you and your favourite pooch!

Enjoy your dog walking outings!

P.S. You May Also Like:

The Village Green (great spots to play catch with your dog!) (September 2016)

The Pleasures and Benefits of an Evening Stroll (urban walks for you and fido) (June 2017)

Winter Walking Nature Paths in the City (dog walkers creating desire lines)  (December 2016)

How to Find your own Natural Walking Spots for you and your Dog (January 2018)


  1. Listed above are mostly quieter spots that are for the most part ON-LEASH areas. The person who had asked about recommendations was looking for some place to take her dog that wasn't that "social". She was looking for paths where she and her dog could enjoy a peaceful walk away from the crowds. She didn't want to take her dog to the off-leash dog parks such as Bruce Pit and Conroy Pit!)

    A friend of mine has suggested on Fbook, some locations that are OFF-LEASH that she takes her dog to and I wanted to add them here in case some readers ARE looking for off-leash areas:

    "- Centrepointe Park (central in the loop of Centrepointe Ave, off Baseline Rd, in the west end is good. Not technically off leash but everyone lets their dog off leash.

    - Kilreen Park (just south of Iris St near Greenbank) has a designated off leash area.

    - Brewer Park near Carleton is great - enough people walk there that they make paths even in the winter - watch out for thin river ice in the fall and spring though."

    Thanks so much Kathryn N.!

    Wild. Here. Note: BREWAR PARK is a MIXED-DESIGNATION area which means Dogs are Prohibited in part of the park. Look for signs (also in terms of whether the area is on-leash or off-leash).

  2. West end of Blackburn Hamlet,, Old apple orchard ,, Dogs welcome

    1. Thank you so much! This is one of my most popular posts so I'm glad to be able to add more locations for dog walkers to this resource! I'll have to update this post for Winter 2019/2020.

      Enjoy the winter dog walking!