Here are my favourite riding routes around Ottawa, for trips ranging from a couple of hours to most of a day.
Note: some of these routes include residential and other speed-controlled areas. In a couple of these areas, especially Gatineau Parkway, motorcycling is developing a reputation problem because of squids who speed and ride recklessly. This can only result in having us banned or otherwise limited, so don’t be stupid.
You can enjoy these rides at reasonable speeds. Open it up a bit on the free highway and back roads if you like, where the only real risk is a ticket, but keep to the posted limits on city parkways and through the towns.
The area South and West of Ottawa features a number of great riding roads.
Only a short hop from the West end, this south-bound road starts dull but then switches to a half-dozen entertaining S-Curves. Ends at Burritts Rapids, a pretty town featuring a working lock on the Rideau Canal system.
Minutes from the West end, and just outside picturesque Carp village, a nice road S-Curves its way along the side of a ridge. Includes Residential Speed Zone, keep it slow.
Minutes from the West End, Dunrobin and West Carleton offer some quiet roads with interesting turns and good scenery. Some parts include Residential Speed Zones, keep it slow.
Required Riding, especially in the autumn when the maple leaves are red. A beautiful parkway through the woods, twisty roads climbing up to a high lookout with a great view. 60 Km enforced, and lots of blind corners. Ride safely or keep out.
A fun way to extend the Dunrobin/West Carleton area ride, by taking a Ferry across the Ottawa River.
Backroads to Calabogie, the start point for many of the other rides in this list.
Centennial Lake Road
(Black Donald Road), Calabogie to Griffith
In my opinion, the best twisty road in easy reach of Ottawa and one of the best in Eastern Ontario. Entertains you for about an hour, from Calabogie through lake country to Griffith on highway 41, with good rest stops available at each end. Optional side-trip to a hydro dam
Another great ride leaving from Calabogie. More open and less challenging than Centennial Lake
road, with better scenery, especially in the autumn. (This description includes a faster route to Calabogie than the one listed above.)
A good way to extend the 511
or Centennial Lake
rides is by looping through this cottage area, connecting Lanark to Renfrew. Many quiet twisty roads and occasional lakes and ridges.
A favourite extension of a Calabogie trip, especially in spring (for the pancake house) and fall (for the colours).
Some of the rides mentioned here start or end in the town of Perth. Here is a good way to do the Perth-Ottawa portion on back roads.
Longer Trips from Ottawa
A quiet, moderately twisty road running from Perth to Kingston’s Division Street makes a great way to do the Ottawa-Kingston trip.
If you’re heading to Shannonville for a track day or to watch races, a modification of the above Kingston route makes an interesting ride all the way to Napanee.
An overnight trip, a group of us often run to the mountain resort area in Vermont each year. Many good roads through the mountains.
You should ride across this beautiful province at least once. My summer ’99 trip will be a favourite memory.
Probably my favourite trip ever was the summer of 2001, when I rode North to Radisson Quebec, at the North-East corner of James Bay