Home Traveling AdventuresCanada Ottawa: Cycling the Capital Pathway (Rideau River & Canal)

Ottawa: Cycling the Capital Pathway (Rideau River & Canal)

by bromptoning

After exploring Parliament Hill, we headed east on Sussex Drive (which has bike lanes!) to explore Rideau Hall and cycle down the Rideau River Eastern Pathway. I’m going to let the photos tell the story…

Rideau Falls - Ottawa

The Rideau Falls

Brompton at Rideau Hall - Ottawa

Heather and her Brompton in front of Rideau Hall.

Ottawa - Rideau River Eastern Pathway

The beginning of the Rideau River Eastern Pathway! According to Wikipedia: “This pathway is almost unknown by tourists but frequented by residents.” And I have to admit, we didn’t see any other tourists except us! Though there weren’t many residents on the path either. Must have all been at the cottage!

Ottawa - Rideau River Eastern Pathway w my Brompton

Heather and her Brompton in front of the Rideau River.

Ottawa - Rideau River Eastern Pathway - Pier

Pier humouring Heather with a picture.

Ottawa - Adawe Crossing - Rideau River

This mirrored globe is on the Adawe Crossing, a pedestrian/bike bridge that crosses the Rideau River just north of the Trans-Canada Highway. 

090 Rideau Eastern Pathway map

And now, as this map shows, we are just south of the Trans-Canada Highway, one-third of the way to our destination: Mooney’s Bay Beach.

Ottawa - Rideau River Easter Pathway - Brompton

Obligatory Brompton scenic photo along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Biking Rideau path in Ottawa

Us biking along the path. Look at all that green! You wouldn’t even know Highway 19 is just to our left. 

Oh, there’s Highway 19! One of the great things about Ottawa’s path system (collectively known as The Capital Pathway) is that the paths all go somewhere. These aren’t just scenic park trails. These paths all follow along roads (even if you can’t see the roads due to the lush greenery) which mean they will get you places you actually want to go and are a viable alternative to driving.

Speaking of places you want to go in Ottawa…

Ottawa - Mooney's Bay beach

We made it to Mooney’s Bay Beach! Soft sand and surprisingly warm water for June in Canada. 

Ottawa - Hog's Back Falls

Then we doubled back to Hog’s Back Falls and crossed the bridge to the west side of Rideau River, where the river meets the Rideau Canal.

100 Hog's Back Lockstation Rideau Canal

Heather at the Hog’s Back Lockstation on the Rideau Canal.

Ottawa - biking north on Rideau Canal Pathway

Heather cycling along the east side of the Rideau Canal.

Ottawa - Capital Pathway map

Capital Pathway map. At this point we decided to cross over to the west side of the Rideau Canal so we could cycle around Dow’s lake. And how do cyclists/pedestrians cross the canal here? Via the lock bridge at Hartwell’s Lockstation. As we arrived, we got to see a boat passing through.

Ottawa - Hartwell's Lockstation in action - boat!

Ottawa - Hartwell Lockstation

And then a man hand-cranked the lock closed. So old school! After that, we crossed the canal and continued to…

Ottawa - Dow's Lake

… Dow’s Lake. We biked around the lake and then encountered our first detour.

Ottawa - path bw Brown's Inlet and Rideau Canal

A very small section of the Rideau Canal Pathway was closed, so we had to take another path that ran almost parallel beside Brown’s Inlet. Pier is pointing to the canal and closed path just across the street. But seriously, two paths in the same area so that there’s an alternative when one is closed? Us Torontonians are unaccustomed to such amazing infrastructure! 

Ottawa - closed section of Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Looking back at the closed section of the Rideau Canal Pathway.

Otawa - on the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Looking ahead to the open section. Back on the Canal Pathway!

Ottawa - Rideau Canal

Scenic shot of the Rideau Canal. 

Ottawa - Rideau Canal map+canal

Finally, to the bridge that will take us back to downtown Ottawa and dinner! 

Ottawa - Pretoria Bridge to Centreville

And now, even though I rarely take food pics, I had to make an exception for our AMAZING dinner at Datsun.

Ottawa - Datsun Restaurant-Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad with Cashews & Young Coconut

Ottawa- Datsun restaurant-Beef Cheek Steamed Bun

Beef Cheek Steamed Bun with Funky Chili & Crushed Peanut

Ottawa- Datsun restaurant-Shrimp Burger

Shrimp Burger with Bacon, Lettuce, Tasty Sauce & Toastie Bun

The radish special.

Ottawa- Datsun restaurant-Shrimp & Water Chestnut Dumplings

Shrimp & Water Chestnut Dumplings

Le Coprin Mushrooms & Snow Peas

Ottawa- Datsun restaurant-Deep-Fried Ice Cream w Sesame & Coconut Caramel

Deep-Fried Ice Cream with Sesame & Coconut Caramel. Well deserved after cycling 30 kilometres!

Next, we take part in Ottawa’s Sunday Bikedays where they close some highways to cars and let cyclists take over! Weeee!

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Sabina R October 23, 2016 - 4:51 am

Hello Heather and Piers, I’m a Bromptoneer from Sydney Australia. I really enjoyed these pictures and the story of your ride, and the food pix made me drool! How long is this ride?
Happy cycling, Sabina

brom-admin August 27, 2017 - 8:04 am

Hi Sabina, so sorry for the crazy late reply! We’ve had such a busy year, but we’re going to try to be more on top of our comments in the future. To answer your question, this ride around the Rideau River & Canal took us a long half day (it’s 26km round trip). We started after lunch, and finished in the early evening just before supper. We did stop a LOT to take pictures, though. But now that I think about it, that’s a pretty long ride for being in the same city! Ottawa’s population isn’t big, but the area it covers is.

Dale Hamel August 15, 2016 - 7:25 pm

I bought a Brompton a few weeks ago, and ran into a lady on the Canal the other day while riding it – she mentioned she saw 2 people riding Bromptons on the canal a couple weeks ago! Wonder if it was you…

Love the blog! I’m about to travel with my Brompton for the first time, so I especially like hearing that Westjet is Brompton friendly.

I bought a roll of bubble wrap (the big kind) from Staples and I have a B-Bag, so I’m hoping all goes well.

brom-admin August 15, 2016 - 7:56 pm

Congrats on your new Brompton! And have fun on your trip. Hopefully Westjet is still as Brompton friendly as it was a few years ago. But you’ve got a B-Bag and bubble wrap, so at least you know it will be safe!

And that’s funny about the woman on the canal. I bet it was us! 😀

Ray Tsui (@warpdrive1) August 6, 2016 - 6:51 pm

hmm, stumbled across your blog here. Sounds like you had a good time. I’m an Ottawa native and those picture made me hungry….will have to check out Datsun.

And I just ordered an in-stock Brompton S6L from curbside, can’t wait to receive it.

brom-admin August 7, 2016 - 7:17 pm

Awesome! Enjoy your new Brompton! Pier’s Brompton is an S6L too. Mine is an S6R (I wanted the rear rack because I’m practical like that). Maybe you’ll start a Brompton trend in Ottawa. We didn’t see any other Bromptons while we were there, and most people who stopped to talk to us about our bikes had never even heard of them.

Thanks for the comment, Ray, and happy riding!


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