With over 150 kilometers of trails winding through forests, wetlands, and meadows, the Ottawa Greenbelt is a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely walk or are open to something a bit more challenging, the options are endless.
Before you hit the trails, be sure to prepare properly with these five tips for safe and enjoyable hiking in the Greenbelt.
1. Check the weather: The Greenbelt covers a large span in Ottawa, which means the weather can change from one location to the next and do so quite quickly. Check the forecast in the area of your hike before heading out and be sure to pack layers or a rain jacket to help you stay comfortable on the trail if the weather changes.
2. Pack water and snacks: Stay hydrated and fuelled during your hike by bringing water and high-energy snacks like granola bars or fruits in a pack. If you’re planning on hiking a longer trail, packing a lunch to picnic halfway through the trail can give you a break along the way and a moment to take in the views.
3. Wear appropriate footwear: Rocky, muddy and uneven terrain are only some of the trail elements that you may run into while hiking in the Greenbelt. Opt for hiking boots or running shoes with good grips to protect and support your feet during your hike.
4. Keep to the trails: The Greenbelt has a unique ecosystem that’s full of life, with a variety of wildlife, plants, and species that are at risk in Ontario. Staying on the trail helps to preserve this ecosystem, keep all-natural habitats in place, and can prevent you from getting lost. Stick to all marked trails and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
5. Take out what you bring in: Be sure that anything you bring into the trail leaves with you when you finish your hike. Always practice the Leave No Trace principles to help maintain the beauty of the Ottawa Greenbelt for future hikers and the wildlife that resides within.
Follow these tips, grab your hiking boots, and head out on the trails of the Ottawa Greenbelt.