Ottawa is full of natural beauty and incredible hidden gems. And with fall finally here, there's no better time to head out and explore all of the beauty Canada's capital has to offer, including the stunning views from Mud Lake Britannia Conservation Area. Here, you will find adorable baby turtles, rare birds, plant life, and arguably the best fall views in Ottawa.

From secret gardens to breathtaking hiking trails, it seems there is always something new to discover in Ottawa. Mud Lake, though, enveloped by orange, yellow, and red leaves, is a hidden fall oasis right in the heart of the city. That's right, you can escape without actually leaving!

Strategic Communications Advisor for the National Capital Commission (NCC), Corey Larocque, tells Narcity that you can expect to run into plenty of wildlife when you visit Mud Lake.

"Mud Lake is home to a variety of wildlife species," Larocque said. "It is well known for its exceptionally large population of turtles, not only the common painted and snapping turtles but the regionally significant Blanding's turtle as well. The Turtle Bay Boardwalk is a good observation point for turtles. Muskrats, otters, and beavers are other examples of wildlife that could be observed at Mud Lake."

Like many areas owned by NCC, Mud Lake is nothing short of beautiful, but its prime location is what really sets it apart from the rest, Larocque tells Narcity.

"Each of the NCC's areas has its charms, but Mud Lake's location — so close to residential areas — makes it an urban oasis in the middle of the city. It is less than 15 kilometres from Parliament Hill!"

This proximity to residential areas makes it easy for anyone to escape the city for a quick nature break. However, due to the natural beauty and the many rare wildlife species that call Mud Lake home, it's important to be respectful when you visit, Larocque stresses.

"One thing that makes Mud Lake unlike other National Capital Region parks and green spaces is that it has been subject to relatively little disturbance. It is designated a provincially significant wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). It is also classified as a protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature."

"Visitors to Mud Lake can help protect the natural habitat by following good conservation area practices, which include staying on official trails, not bringing dogs or bicycles into the area, and by not picking plants or disturbing the wildlife."

Visitors can find Mud Lake with ease, and parking is available close by, Larocque tells Narcity.

"Mud Lake is located at a bend in the Ottawa River, giving it an impressive view both upriver and downriver, and looking north, beyond the Quebec shoreline, Gatineau Park...Visitors to Mud Lake can find on-street parking available on nearby Cassels Street."

So, if you're looking for romantic fall date ideas in the capital or you just want to explore Ottawa's hidden beauty, Mud Lake sounds like your place.

Beware, though, because the city's on-street parking prices are about to rise!

Mud Lake

Price: Free

Address: Britannia Conservation Area

Why You Need To Go: You can enjoy truly breathtaking fall views and amazing, rare wildlife without having to travel out of the city. It's the most idyllic thing you'll find in the city bar none!

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