COVID-19 note: during the pandemic, we are changing some of our normal procedures, such as regarding carpooling. Please review our COVID-19 guidelines at the top of our schedule; these supersede what is provided here.
Coordinator: Robert Bultitude, hike at ottawaoutdoorclub.ca
From March or April to November or December, we plan to meet every Sunday morning. Most hikes are in Gatineau Park. During warmer weather, many times we plan a stop for a swim. Sometimes, even when not planned, we'll decide to stop for a swim anyway! We strongly recommend wearing hiking boots, hiking shoes, or running shoes.
During the transition periods (usually April and November), we might hike more in the Greenbelt in Ottawa so as not to damage the snowshoeing and cross-country-skiing trails. Gatineau Park does not permit hiking from December 1 onward on trails designated for cross-country skiing, since it delays the grooming of the trails for cross-country skiing.
Non-members are welcome on our trips; we ask for a small participation fee.
We usually meet outside near the downstairs back door of the Sandy Hill Community Centre, or under the tree nearby. If the weather is poor, we sometimes meet just inside; when we do, please come far enough inside so as not to block the entryway. The Community Centre's address is 250 Somerset Street East, between Sweetland Avenue and Nelson Street; the parking lot and the back entrance where we meet are accessible from around the corner on Sweetland Avenue (map). We are generally back at the Community Centre by mid- to late-afternoon for day trips.
In addition, several out-of-town weekend trips are usually planned.
For all events, please check the event listings for details, as the meeting day, time, and location can vary. Please register by the departure time shown. Destinations will vary.
- L1: Easy. Defined trails, gentle inclines, distances up to 8 km
- L1.5: Medium. Defined trails, rolling terrain, possible bushwhacking (under 1 km), distances up to 12 km. See additional note below.
- L2: Hard. Rough trails, steep, possible bushwhacking, distances up to 20 km
- L2.5: Very hard. Rougher trails, steeper, possible bushwhacking, distances up to 20 km, elevation gains up to 500 m
- L3: Very hard, with extra distance. Possible scrambling over rocks, distances up to 30 km, elevation gains up to 600 m
- L4: Exceeds L3. Distances over 30 km, elevation gains up to 1,000 m
- L5: Exceeds L4. Long, steep hikes, or hikes requiring sustained hiking all day. Elevation gains over 1,000 m
Notes about the level definitions:
- "+" following the level number: a "+" sign after the number indicates that the hike is essentially at the specified level but that it is slightly over the maximum distance defined for the level. For example, a level 1+ hike is essentially a level 1 hike that is just over 8 km.
- L1.5: A level 1.5 hike is considered a standard hike that uses the Wolf Trail (the most well-known trail in the Park) as a baseline. If you've done the Wolf Trail (8 km with an elevation gain of 200 metres), you can do an L1.5 hike. L2s would be considered somewhat more difficult than the Wolf Trail (longer distance and more elevation gain).
Some hike descriptions indicate that these hikes include bushwhacking, which involves going off-trail and navigating through the woods. Depending on the density of the terrain, this can be challenging and arduous. Speed is roughly 1 km per hour, and the length of the bushwhack will usually be listed in the hike description. We offer two types of bushwhacking hiking trips:
- those led with a map and compass
- those led with a GPS
Please be aware of the limitations and difficulties with map and compass bushwhacking hikes before joining. Typically, GPS-led bushwhacks offer a more direct (and therefore easier-to-manage) route to destinations and back to the trailhead.