Gliding (or snow-shoeing, or walking, or running, or fat-biking…) through the heart of Ottawa

It is a sunny winter morning in Ottawa. The sky is clear blue. The air is crisp and fresh. You want to get outside and get active.

A stretch of riverbank to the west of downtown is the perfect destination for winter recreation.

The Sir John A Macdonald Winter Trail (or, as the cool kids say, the SJAM trail) is, in fact, a network of 16 trails along 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) of the Ottawa River’s shoreline.

The ‘SJAM Trail’ runs along the southern shoreline of the Ottawa River from Booth Street in the east to Westboro Beach in the west.

It is a set of groomed, multi-use trails where you can:

  • cross-country ski
  • snowshoe
  • walk
  • run
  • fatbike
  • more

It’s open from the first snowfall to the spring melt. It’s popular. And, while it runs on donations, it is completely free to use.

It’s also not alone.

Another groomed trail circuit has just opened for the first time in Britannia, in Ottawa’s west end.

The 8 kilomtre (5 mile) Ski Heritage East trail runs along the Ottawa River through (as the name suggests) east-end Ottawa.

And the (also aptly named) Rideau Winter Trail runs along both sides of the Rideau River between the Sandy Hill and Overbrook neighbourhoods.

(Make the Rideau Sports Centre your home base for pre- or post- fill-ups of water or food. You can also rent equipment there if you need it.)

There is no shortage of options (and therefore no excuse to not get out and enjoy) for winter enthusiasts.

And these are just the trails in the heart of the city!

Don’t even get us started about Gatineau Park

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