Although it doesn’t always seem like it, Ottawa is a real nature-lover's paradise. Just minutes outside of the city, there’s so many magical and magnificent spots that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. If you’re already compiling your summer bucket list, these easy waterfall hikes near Ottawa should be added to it ASAP.
The summer season is officially on the horizon in Ottawa, and it’s time to start planning those sunny afternoons outside of the city.
Whether you’re looking for an easygoing ramble, or an unlimited adventure, there’s bound to be a nearby hike that will suit both your skills and your ambitions.
The best part is that all of these gentle hikes come with a stunning view at the end, which makes the journey worthwhile no matter how many bugs you have to bat away!
From spots known as “The Second Niagara,” to waterfalls with spooky abandoned ruins and dog-friendly trails, there’s so many local adventures just waiting to be discovered.
Even better, all of these breathtaking locations will allow you to snap that picture-perfect Instagram shot.
Call your BFFs, grab a picnic and pack up your hiking boots, it’s time to escape the city and get back-to-basics with nature!
Princess Louise Falls
Address: St Joseph Blvd, Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: These pretty falls are part of Taylor Creek in Orleans, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular spot to take Instagram-worthy pictures. While this waterfall isn’t particularly large, it’s a beautiful place to take some photos and escape the city.
Fortunately for beginner-hikers, the falls are located just 10 metres from the car park, so you don’t have to be an avid walker to visit. That said, you can turn this into a hiking adventure by exploring all of the surrounding area.
Hog's Back Falls
Length: 1.2 km
Address: Hog's Back Rd., Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: Hog’s Back Falls, also known as the Prince of Wales Falls, is a series of mini waterfalls located alongside the Rideau River. This short 1.2 km hike will take you through a rugged canyon, before opening up to a waterfall viewing area.
If you want to make a whole afternoon out of this trip, there’s also a little cafe nearby to enjoy a spot of brunch.
Wilson Carbide Mill
Length: 4.3 km
Address: Gatineau Park, Chelsea, QC
Why You Need To Go: This scenic spot is seriously impressive, and is home not only to a waterfall but also to some spooky abandoned ruins. The 4.3 km hike is accessible year-round, and you’ll also be able to spot glimpses of the beautiful Meech Lake. You can also bring your dogs to this place, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
Length: 2.0 km
Address: 100 Malo Rd., Plaisance, QC
Why You Need To Go: This spot is home to a scenic lookout, an observation stop and a 2 km hiking trail, as well as the Plaisance Falls itself. The waterfall has a 63 metre vertical drop, and it’s a seriously impressive sight for all nature-lovers.
It’s worth noting that the admission to this place costs $6 per adult, so don’t forget your wallet if you’re heading out for a picnic!
Rideau Falls Park
Length: 3.2 km
Address: 50 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: While the Rideau Falls certainly isn’t Ottawa’s best kept secret, it’s a beautiful spot for anybody looking for a nature-inspired day out in the city. The falls are located within the 2.89-hectare Rideau Park, and you can wander around the grounds for hours if you’d like.
Nearby, Ottawa’s Tavern On The Falls bar and restaurant has an incredible patio, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city’s huge falls.
Length: 4.0 km
Address: Luskville Falls Trail, Pontiac, QC
Why You Need To Go: Luskville Falls Trail is a 4 km hike located in Pontiac, Quebec. The hike is a little harder than some others, as it features a 290 metre climb up the rocky slope of the Eardley Escarpment.
That said, the view at the top is definitely worth it! You’ll discover extraordinary views of the Ottawa River Valley and you can enjoy the Luskville falls en-route, too. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on this trail.
Address: 100 Promenade Du-Parc-des-Chutes, Mansfield-et-Pontefract, QC
Why You Need To Go: This is the perfect spot to spend a summer's afternoon near Ottawa. Chutes Coulonge Park is home to more than just falls, as there’s also an “aerial adventure park” that offers all kinds of activities.
If the 50 metre waterfalls and white water canyon was not enough, there’s also several footbridges, different walking trails and lookout spots, so you can spend hours in this nature-lover's paradise. Admission to this park is $8 per adult.
Address: 4 Booth St., Ottawa, ON*
Why You Need To Go: Recognized as one of Ottawa’s most remarkable natural landmarks, these falls were once known as “The Second Niagara.” Now, you can enjoy viewing spots and picnic benches here, so spending an afternoon listening to the rushing falls is as easy-as-pie.
Depending where you park to reach this place, you can take different hikes to find that sweet spot!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.