The Ottawa region is a snowmobilers’ playground—you don’t even have to leave the city limits to ride great trails! After all, 80 percent of the city’s land area is rural and conveniently dotted with accommodations, breweries and other points of interest.
Local snowmobile clubs’ and associations’ websites have all the information you need including maps, trail guides, details on trail conditions, and tips on nearby gas stations, restaurants, accommodations, repair shops and parking lots. So gather your sledding friends, tune up your Ski-Doo or other snow machine of choice, and make some tracks through Canada’s capital region this winter!
Beautiful Eastern Association of Snowmobile Trails
Usually known as simply “The BEAST,” this is one of the largest snowmobile associations in Ontario. It manages about 330 kilometres of trails in southwestern Ottawa—including trails near Barrhaven, Munster, Ashton, Richmond and Stittsville—and in nearby Lanark County. BEAST 308 is a recently upgraded, 24-kilometre trail through dense woodlands between White Lake and Clayton in Lanark County. Make sure to stop at the Easton-Munro Lookout for a sweeping view of the wooded countryside, and at the cozy Ashton Brewing Company for a meal.
Carleton Regional Snowmobile Club
Responsible for about 160 kilometres of trails, the Carleton Regional Snowmobile Club covers a largely flat area of southeastern Ottawa that includes Navan, Sarsfield and Carlsbad Springs, stretching westward to the area managed by the Osgoode Carleton club. If you’re trying the club’s Top Trail A, you can get a bite at Castello Pizza in Navan and park at the Navan Arena before hitting the trail.
Eastern Ontario Snowmobile Club
Beyond Ottawa’s eastern city limits, the Eastern Ontario Snowmobile Club manages 435 kilometres of trails across the United Counties of Prescott-Russell from Embrun to Chute à Blondeau, including trails near Casselman, Limoges and Rockland. Landscapes range from flat fields and railbeds to hills and woodlands. Some of the trails wind through the enormous Larose Forest, where the South Nation River winds through over 11,000 hectares planted with some 18 million trees. Casselman and Rockland offer lots of restaurant and accommodation choices.
Glengarry Snowmobile Club
The Glengarry Snowmobile Club covers another area of Eastern Ontario between Ottawa and Montreal, including areas around Vankleek Hill and Alexandria. Not far from Alexandria, photography buffs may be inspired by the remains of a huge 19th-century church at St. Raphael’s Ruins National Historic Site. In Vankleek Hill, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is an ideal place to pick up some craft beer for later.
Osgoode Carleton Snowmobile Trail Club
Some 190 kilometres of trails close to Manotick, Osgoode, Greely, Metcalfe and other communities along Ottawa’s southern edge are the responsibility of the Osgoode Carleton Snowmobile Trail Club. Great restaurants abound in the historic village of Manotick—try the ribs at Black Dog Bistro, casual fare at Burgers and Shakes, or treats at Mimi's Donuts & Dairy Barn.
Rideau Snowmobile Club
Most of the Rideau Snowmobile Club’s 140 kilometres of trails are within the city of Ottawa. They run near communities on the city’s southwestern edge, such as Richmond and North Gower. In Richmond, you can sample wines made with Chardonnay, Merlot, Marquette and a wide range of other grapes at Jabulani Vineyard and Winery.
West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association
The West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association maintains over 250 kilometres of trails in Ottawa’s rural west end and Lanark County, including routes near Carp, Dunrobin, Constance Bay, Fitzroy Harbour, Kinburn and Pakenham. For those who enjoy their creature comforts after a day on the trail, the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata—easily accessible from the association’s W1 trail—offers sled parking, a spa, fine dining, a Starbucks, and 276 rooms and suites. And for a sweet treat, stop at Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugarbush in Pakenham.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs website, where you can search for Ottawa-area trails on an interactive map of snowmobile trails throughout the province. It also has a page outlining the rules for using trails within the City of Ottawa.