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Winter adventures in Canada’s capital
Ottawans make the most of their long, snowy winters by hitting the slopes at one of the many nearby ski and snowboarding resorts. But you don't have to venture to the mountains to experience winter in Ottawa, as it offers plenty of urban winter fun.
There are many options for snowy activities closer to downtown between December and March. Here are the top winter experiences that are worth traveling to Ottawa for.
The Kichi Sibi Winter Trail (formerly known as Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail or SJAM) is a huge 16km (9.9 mile) trail right through the city that follows the Ottawa River shoreline.
Transit stations and parking dot the route and allow skiers to access the trail. The route passes by interesting neighborhoods, the Canadian War Museum, and Remic Rapids Park.
Packed snow on trails is easy and fun to ride on thanks to the big tires on fat bikes. For a challenge, try the technical trails at Kanata’s South March Highlands conservation area. Just be alert to others and avoid skidding on downhill runs.
When snow reaches past your knees, strap on snowshoes; you’ll stay on the surface where you can enjoy the view. Most trails across the Greenbelt are snowshoe-friendly. Snowshoers of all expertise levels will enjoy Stoney Swamp Conservation Area.
A kid’s favorite, there are many hills to sled down across Ottawa. For one of the longest man-made runs in the city, check out Walter Baker Park, a fast hill that’s lit for sledding into the night.
Green’s Creek has a large toboggan hill, and Craig Henry Park in Nepean offers a hill that’s easier to climb, but that’s just as much fun to sled down.
Whichever experience you choose, end with a BeaverTails pastry. The fried beaver tail-shaped dough comes with sweet and savory toppings, and they’re the perfect wrap-up to a magical day exploring Ottawa’s wonderful winter season.
Carefully crafted collaboratively between Ottawa Tourism and Lonely Planet. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.
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