Ottawa Valley

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Ottawa Valley

Photo Credit: Valley Cycle Tours

The Ottawa Valley has a number of rivers and valleys interconnected throughout Ontario’s Highlands. Criss-crossing the Ottawa River, Bonnechere and Madawaska Rivers, and skirting many lakes, the area has a number of mapped road riding routes. These routes include many options for stops at interesting heritage sites, artists’ studios, swimming areas and communities while cycling quiet country roads and enjoying spectacularly scenic forested and often hilly landscape.

Across the Valley, there are numerous rugged mountain biking trails to challenge oneself, with many of the snowmobile trails converting to multi-use trail systems beyond the winter season. Cyclists can also enjoy off-road recreational riding along abandoned railway beds that include the K & P Trail and new Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail.

The powerful and lengthy Ottawa River has a rich history of both First Nations and early settlers. With tributaries flowing in from Algonquin Park, Quebec on the eastern river bed, and the city of Ottawa not far south, it is easy to get to the many cycling and outdoor adventures nearby.

Find bicycle friendly businesses to eat, visit and sleep

The following cycling routes can be found on the Ottawa Valley Cycling Map.   With over a dozen cycling routes of varying lengths and riding surfaces, the Ottawa Valley is a favourite of many on two wheels. The Cycling Map will guide your way with route descriptions to help you pick and plan your adventure.  Some routes shown on the Cycling Map (not listed below) explore the neighbouring Pontiac Region in Quebec.

  • The Cyclotron – 29km – Cycle among the towering forests of the Petawawa Research Forest before meandering through the back roads of Chalk River to the sandy beaches of the Ottawa River in Deep River. Mostly paved roads with some gravel sections and light traffic. Food, accommodations and retail services available in Deep River.
  • Pembroke-Petawawa Commuter (Trail Route) – 26km – This multi-use active transportation route follows the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail/Algonquin Trail between Pembroke and Petawawa. Stone dust surface. Food, accommodation, retail and bike repair services available in Pembroke and Petawawa.
  • The Whitewater Rush – 81km – Discover the heart of Whitewater Region and the famous Ottawa River rapids. Access the BORCA trail system or stop for a break at the Westmeath Lookout. Paved roads with some widened shoulders and light to moderate traffic. Food and accommodations available in Beachburg and Foresters Falls.
  • Loop the Lakes – 188km – Follow this route as it loops around Round Lake, Golden Lake and Lake Doré. Stop at a beach for a picnic and swim. Paved roads and some high traffic areas on Round Lake Road and Highway 60. Food and accommodation services available in Deacon, Killaloe, Golden Lake and Cobden.
  • Barry’s Bay-Quadville Quadbuster – 146km – True to its’ name this route challenges riders with various elevation gains and a number of challenging hill climbs throughout the Madawaska Highlands. Beaches and picnic areas provide rest stops along the way. Paved roads and some high traffic areas along Highway 60. Food, accommodations and retail services available in Barry’s Bay, Combermere, Palmer Rapids and Wilno.
  • The Opeongo Loop – 80km – Stone and split rail fences lead cyclists to tackle the Foymount Hill Climb Challenge and historic Opeongo Road for sweeping views of the Bonnechere Valley. Paved roads, challenging hills and elevation gains with light to moderate traffic. Food, accommodation and retail services available in Eganville and Lake Clear.
  • The Renfrew Ramble – 48km – This ride climbs Pinnacle Road to scenic farm country then descending into Whitewater Region and Horton Township before meandering back to Renfrew. Paved roads with some widened shoulders and moderate traffic. Food, accommodations and retail services available in Renfrew.
  • Madawaska River Randonee – 127km – Travel through the Madawaska Highlands as this route winds through picturesque communities and quaint villages along the Madawaska River. Paved roads and some widened shoulders. High traffic areas along County Road 508. Food, accommodations and retail services available in Arnprior, Burnstown, Calabogie, Pakenham and White Lake.
  • The Voyageur Cycling Route – 269km – Connecting eastern and northern Ontario, the Voyageur Route follows the Ottawa River through a combination of road and rail trail riding. Mix of paved roads, some widened shoulders and stone dust surface. Extreme caution should be taken when traveling in high traffic areas along Highway 17. Food, accommodations and retail services located in Arnprior, Beachburg, Pembroke, Petawawa, Deep River, and Stonecliffe.

Lumberjack LoopDeparting from Calabogie, this three day gravel road tour travels on quiet gravel roads originally used by the lumber industry. The vast network of roads traverses the beautiful Madawaska and Bonnechere Valleys, in the broader Ottawa Valley region. Optional stops include microbreweries, a natural cider distillery, farm to fork farms, local cafes, caves, waterfalls and artisan shops. You can choose to ride the individual day rides one their own or link them together for a three day adventure, staying in agro-tourism farms overnight, Air BnBs, motels/hotels, or camping.  The Ontario’s Highlands website itinerary (linked above) adds to this itinerary a fourth day of cycling on the  Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail.

Madawaska and Ottawa Valley – Two Day Itinerary (Paved) – With 179km combined over two days, slip into Valley time and get your ride on setting up base with rides out of Barry’s Bay and through some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery that Ontario has to offer. Get to know the area intimately with these paved routes that climb some challenging hills and drop down in and out of quiet hamlets surrounded by forested wilderness.

  • K-and-P Rail Trail (Ottawa Valley) – The 23km section of multi-use trail between Calabogie and Renfrew is mostly flat with a stone-dust surface, following a scenic abandoned railway bed built in the mid-1800s. While the trail runs south to Lake Ontario at Kingston for a total of 175km, beyond this section, not all sections of the trail are fully developed yet and maintained. However through Frontenac County (Sharbot Lake south to Kingston is fully maintained and a relatively smooth stone dust surface). For information on the K&P Trail in Kingston and Frontenac, visit K-and-P Rail Trail (Kingston/Frontenac Area)
  • Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (Algonquin Trail) – Ride from Arnprior to Petawawa on this multi-use unpaved rail trail, also known as the Algonquin Trail. Through Pembroke a road connection is required. Trail upgrades are underway, consult map for latest.
  • Chalk River to Deep River – This 31km trail runs between these two northern Ontario towns on mixed surfaces, including a section of snowmobile trail. Check Renfrew County website for current trail condition and status.
  • Petawawa Research Forest – North of Petawawa, this 11km interpretive loop through the forest has signage that describes some of the research activities currently underway.
  • Millenium Trail (Town of Renfrew) – This 4km rail trail on crushed stone surface runs along an abandoned CN corridor through the heart of historic Renfrew. At the western end it joins the County of Renfrew K & P Trail (above), which links to Calabogie and Greater Madawaska Township. The eastern end joins the Horton Township Rail Trail, which connects to the McNab/Braeside Rail Trail, which connects to the Arnprior CN Rail Trail.
  • Opeongo Heritage Trail – A 10km long abandoned railway bed provides a scenic and safe off-road ride option from Wilno, a thriving artisan community, to Barry’s Bay. Return the same way or loop back on roads to Wilno for a 35km ride.
  • Forest Lea Trails – Embedded in 600 acres of MNR crown land west of Pembroke, these trails are used by cross-country skiers during winter. They are rocky and rooty, purpose built singletrack in a stacked loop system and are constantly being improved. Managed by OVMBA.
  • Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association (BORCA) – BORCA creates purpose-built singletrack for mountain bikers and do not allow horses or motorized vehicles on trails. BORCA has maps available to members ($25/year). Maps are detailed of each area.
    • Beachburg Tract – This forest tract near the Ottawa River is a short 12km and managed locally by BORCA to ensure conditions are maintained and appropriate for all to use. Watch for hunting season.
    • Beachburg County Forest – Consists of three main loops. 1st loop is the Original Red (2.2km), 2nd loop is Original Blue (4.4km) – both built by the MNR in the ’70s and BORCA’s perimeter loop (8km) of twisty singletrack at the intermediate ability level.
    • Brewery Trails – Located behind the Whitewater Brewery lies 7km of Advanced, rocky and rooty singletrack.
    • Little Lakes Trails – Park at the Little Lakes swim hole (corner of Beachburg Rd and Pappin Rd) and enjoy a 5km loop of intermediate singletrack with the advanced option to ride Thrasher Lane.
    • Crown Land Trails – New in 2016 and located closer to Wilderness Tours (7km from brewery), is some of BORCA’s best singletrack with much more to come. Advanced singletrack riding in an open mixed forest with many hills, roots and rocks.
  • Ottawa River Whitewater Corridor – On crown land in the Whitewater Region between Beachburg and Foresters Falls, there are 10kms of single-track carved along the world-class whitewater kayaking and rafting section of the Ottawa River. Challenging terrain through towering forests, over rugged Canadian Shield and across farmland and wood lots, featuring spectacular whitewater viewing.
  • Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort – This 4000 acre adventure playground includes 30km of mountain biking trails,on private property in the same Whitewater corridor, with stunning views of the Ottawa River.  8 km of new machine-made trails and flow track.  Pump and progression track and new trails are planned for 2023. Bike rentals and repairs are available.
  • Eagle’s Nest – The 19km of trails through the forest behind Calabogie Peaks are picturesque and challenging for mountain bikers, and known for scenic vistas from the Eagle’s Nest escarpment. Snowmobile trails in winter, as mountain biking trails they will test intermediate to advanced riders.
  • Madawaska Snowmobile Loop – Located near White Lake, east of Calabogie, there are 24km of double track trails used by mountain bikers in season.
  • Deep River Trails – There are various unmarked and unmapped trails and loops suitable for mountain biking, hiking and ATV during the season and located just minutes outside of the town of Deep River.
  • Pakkotinna Recreation Trail – On the north shore of Golden Lake, about 8km west of town, this 6km singletrack loop gets narrower as you gain elevation. Pakkotinna means “high hilly ground”. Best to bring a compass, as trail is not well maintained.
  • Petawawa Bike Park – Located at the Petawawa Civic Centre, this relatively new bike park was designed by legendary Jay Hoots. It includes pump-tracks and has something to offer for all skill levels.

K&P, Cataraqui, Ottawa Valley Recreational Trails – 380km Loop – This loop explores the best of rail trail riding in eastern Ontario, on what may become a signature route for Ontario’s eastern highlands. Starting in Sharbot Lake, the route follows the K&P Trail south to the Cataraquai Trail, following that trail all the way to Smiths Falls. Next, riders join the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) from Smiths Falls to Renfrew and then head south on the K&P again to Calabogie, then following the K&P trail back to Sharbot Lake. Riders should be cautious as long sections of the route lack supportive infrastructure and towns and some sections of rail trails can be quite rough, though rewards are beautiful wild and rural scenery, unique small town eateries and coffee shops, and fascinating history and heritage.

cycling map

Ottawa Valley Cycling Map

  • Ottawa Valley Cycling Map (2024). PDF and Print Map. Printed map featuring 17 cycling routes ranging from 18km to 186km that incorporates cycling along both the Ontario and Quebec side of the OttawaRiver.
  • Ottawa Valley Biking Trail Guide. Website. Excellent resource for cycling information across Ottawa Valley, split into three geographical sub-sections. The guide also shows and maps road touring routes of various lengths, off road trails and mountain biking locations.
  • Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA). Website. Excellent source of information for trails of all types, including road tours and mountain biking. Also calendar of events, festivals, farmers markets and information about accommodations, services, attractions and all sorts of things to do in addition to cycling.
  • Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association (BORCA) – This non-profit group develops and maintains multi-use trails in the Beachburg region.
  • Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail – Site maintained by trail group with useful map showing current status of trail.
  • Bonnechere Cycling Group – Meet and ride with the locals – every Wednesday at the McRae Lookout Mill in Eganville in June, July and August at 5:30. All welcome.

Please note there are many additional map guides for the region that cyclists may find interesting or useful. New maps and guides are produced yearly, and the information listed here may change.

Ottawa Valley – Related Blogs:

Exploring the Beauty of Cycling in the Ottawa Valley

February 28, 2024|

Nestled amidst the scenic landscapes of eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Valley offers cyclists a haven of breathtaking views, winding trails, and vibrant communities waiting to be explored.

Easy Rider – Relaxed Cycling in Ontario’s Highlands

September 1, 2023|

Not every bike ride needs to involve grueling hours spent on the road or trail. Sometimes the best rides are the ones where you take it easy, slow it down and see new communities, and maybe even stop for a bite to eat. If you’re not into wearing padded bike shorts and setting a challenging pace, plan your next ride in Ontario’s Highlands where your cycling adventure can match your mood, abilities, and bike.

One Bike, All Rides – Ontario Gravel Cycling Routes

February 15, 2023|

Ontario has more than 130,000km of unpaved and gravel roads, perfect for cycling – so where do you want to groad? Yes, groadies. Groadies are roadies who love dirt. And mountain bikers who love gravel too. However you define your ride, cyclists have pedalled over every surface imaginable for years. So make some plans to hit the groad! Check out this mix of terrain and routes that will give you a taste of Ontario's unpaved fun and best gravel cycling routes. It's just the tip of the gravel iceberg!

Be Your Own Explorer: Cycle Champlain’s Historic Routes Along the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers

September 1, 2022|

*Aussi disponible en français* If you are looking to add a little history and culture to your ride day and learn something new along the way, be sure to check out these bilingual French and English cycling itineraries built around Ontario’s Route Champlain Tourism Route, in and near our capital city, Ottawa.


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