Ottawa Cycling Maps

There is a number of Ottawa cycling maps available for the region both on line and on paper/PDF. Each has its own purpose. The City of Ottawa produces a large folding map you want to have, but perhaps not when you are biking, as it is big and cumbersome. You also don’t always want to stop and check a route on a 4 inch screen in the bright sun. Here are some tools.

Let’s start with an impression, subway map style, of our network. The network is not complete yet, but it does give you many options to bike away from motorised traffic. There are gaps in the network, and I have attempted to fill those in with quiet residential roads. As we have hardly any wayfinding on the ground, I decided to give all intersections names, for reference. This, of course, is a fun map and should be used with other maps to have a real world impression of bike infrastructure. At the bottom of this page, I added two (for now) local 20 km loops, that are far less busy than the paths along the Ottawa river and the canal.

The bicycle ‘subway style’ map as discussed on CBC radio. This latest March 2022 edition has approximate real world kilometres added to every route.
Great map, but impractical while on the road, especially when it’s windy.
Map of pathways in Ottawa by Hans on the Bike
A stylized Ottawa cycling map by Hans on the Bike showing the multi use pathways in Ottawa inside the Greenbelt

Start with this map that I created for those who are less familiar with the cycling network in Ottawa. Read more on why and how I created it in this background document. I created a map that shows less detail but comes in very handy to understand where the paths are and how they connect. You can print it on an 8.5″ x 11″ paper and take it with you.

It gives you a good overview of the network of multi use pathways because I only drew the MUPs that are connected to each other. The map covers an area of 25 km x 15 km (15 miles x 9 miles). Use the map to design your own routes. Note I am not showing on-road bike lanes, just pathways away from roads, with a few exceptions in residential areas to close a loop. As there is no wayfinding on the ground you may have to guess sometimes, or simply ask others.

See the PDF version here.

Multi Use Pathways Ottawa Cycling maps, node based

We have more pathways then I show on the map above, but they tend to be stand alone pathways, which doesn’t help you if you want to go for a nice loop. I choose to base the map on nodes, like in the Netherlands. As I mentioned, there are hardly any wayfinding signs in Ottawa, so I used nearby landmarks to name the nodes much like metros and subways systems do. So yes, we have more pathways than you see on the map, but no, I didn’t included those pathways that don’t connect to another pathway. If you want to do some serious multi day gravel ride exploration, check out my post on the 796 km Log Driver’s Waltz gravel loop outside Ottawa.

Joint Ottawa/Gatineau/NCC map

The City of Ottawa, together with the NCC and the Ville de Gatineau prints a map covering the entire region. In spring, they appear along the pathways in a special stand, where you can also find a map behind Plexiglas to orient yourself. An electronic version can be found here. (Attention: large 24 MB file on Amazon servers, might freeze an older computer)

Detailed cycling map of Ottawa
2018-19 City of Ottawa/Gatineau/NCC map (Ignore the open in Acrobat message). The Greenbelt is clearly visible.

Heritage Canada map

Available at tour operators such as Escape Bicycle Tours when you rent a bike, this Heritage Canada map is actually printed for drivers, but comes in handy for cyclists too. It doesn’t include the cycling network, but the map covers an area around the core and is not too big to carry with you. Here is a copy below if you are interested (photo of a Heritage Canada map). Tourism Ottawa might give them out too.

map of central Ottawa and Gatineau
photo of a map from Heritage Canada for drivers, but useful for cycling too for orientation, but not for finding bike infrastructure

Local cycling maps

I started a small project to create several local maps that are not crazy long and are mostly on pathways. Most people who visit Ottawa will bike along the Ottawa River and the Rideau canal, but our network is much bigger than that. So big in fact, that you need several days to cover them all if you are an average cyclist like I am. Here are two route maps I recently created to give you an idea where those routes are. Bear with me while I improve my map skills. Eventually I will create a special page for those maps.

Start anywhere if you live close to the loop or take LRT to one of the stations
This is a really nice loop that includes the Rideau Falls, the Rideau River, Rideau Hall and the aviation museum. Except two short stretches, it is all pathways.

Electronic Ottawa Cycling maps

Bike Ottawa, Ottawa’s local bicycle advocacy group, has a number of very useful maps available if you are looking for a level of stress. The interactive maps allow you to choose easy and quiet roads, or more challenging ones traffic wise etc. Choose level 2 if you want to play it safe. Go to the Bike Ottawa Maps site here. There is also a route planner, a winter cycling map and even a ‘desire line’ map.