The best locations for a close-to-home run-cation

We’re in the doldrums of summer here, folks.

It’s hot, and it’s sticky, and maybe you’re tired of your local running routes.

But don’t fret. You don’t have to travel far for a change of scenery.

Ontario and Quebec have tons of cool towns and trails to explore, so we’re highlighting a few you can easily get to from the national capital, and some tips for working in a run.

The warm-ups

Photo by cjuneau // CC BY 3.0

Gatineau Park

Distance from Ottawa: variable

If you’re an Ottawa local, you already know it. And you probably love it. Gatineau Park has 165 km of hiking trails that range from breezy to tough With a blend of breathtaking views and forested paths, it’s a perfect spot to get your feet dirty with some trail running.

Pioneer Trail is 1.3 km and located in the lower part of the park. It’s a trail that’s designed to be accessible for all ages, so it’s great for a family hike.

Lauriault Trail is 3 km long and it’s right in the backyard of Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s estate. Take a run and pop into the estate while you cool down.


Distance from Ottawa: 37km

Carp is a small rural village just west of Ottawa with a population of about 2,000. It’s not a very big place, but you can bet on the roads being flat and uncrowded. If you head north on Carp Road, eventually you’ll run into the Diefenbunker Museum (although you’ll have to head underground if you want to see the really cool stuff in the museum).

About 14 km north of the village are the Carp Hills, which includes the 6.2 km Crazy Horse Trail. Be warned though, as this trail can be tough sledding for runners, with lots of uneven footing, bedrock and soft rolling hills.

Tip: Go on a Saturday and hit up the Carp Farmer’s Market, the largest producer-based Farmers’ Market in Eastern Ontario,.

The middle distance

Photo by The Real Canadian // CC BY 3.0


Distance from Ottawa: 103 km

Cornwall has grown up to be way more than just a border town. Its charm and beautiful river shoreline offer a refreshing change of scenery.

The 40 km Waterfront Trail is a flat, paved multi-use pathway that lets runners run along the St. Lawrence River and see the remains of the historic Cornwall Canal. You can also go run over soft rolling hills in Lamoureux Park. These routes offer something for everyone, so bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing day outside of the city.


Distance from Ottawa: 83 km

Montebello, Quebec is a small village east of Ottawa located on the shore of the Ottawa River. It’s a famous tourist spot thanks to the Château Montebello, the largest log structure ever built (!).

You can run down Rue Notre Dame into the downtown area, which has small cafes, galleries and the award-winning cheese maker Fromagerie Montebello. Or you can head out near the Château, where there are 26 km of trails to take in.

If you’re feeling truly wild, check out Parc Omega for a wildlife adventure just north of the village!

The long haul

Photo by Timkal // CC BY 3.0


Distance from Ottawa: 196 km

As Canada’s original capital city (until 1844, at least), Kingston has a ton of cool stuff to offer and makes a great place for a weekend away from Ottawa or Toronto.

You can do a 10 km out and back run if you start near the Shoal Tower in downtown Kingston and then head southwest on King Street. You’ll run past landmarks like Queen’s University, the Kingston Penitentiary, the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Keep going to Lake Ontario Park and then head north alongside the Cataraqui golf and country club and then back once you reach Johnson Street.

The Lemoine Point Conservation Area right next to the Kingston Airport has a ton of trails designed for runners. Keep your eyes peeled for deer that live in the woods!

Do you run-cation? Tell us your favourite spot to go to combine running and relaxing @ottawamarathon