Things to Do in the Ottawa Valley
Thanks to a bevvy of outdoor activities, the Ottawa Valley is a destination hotspot for adventurers. Each season brings its own list of activities, perfectly suited to both the terrain and the Ontario spirit.
The region’s expansive network of four-season, multi-use trails cater to almost every activity, including hiking, cycling, paddling, snowmobiling, x-country skiing and snowshoeing. The region’s newest multi-use trail - the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail – stretches for almost 200km between Arnprior and Deux Rivières and connects with Lanark County in the east and Mattawa in the north.
With the Ottawa River winding along the northern border of the Ottawa Valley, many activities are centered around the water. Known for world-famous whitewater rafting and paddling opportunities, with rapids ranging from Class 1 to V, the region boasts one of the longest paddling seasons in Canada.
In the Ottawa Valley, you will find as much cultural history as there is natural history. Each town has its own story to tell, and no two towns are the same. Learn about the history of the Algonquin First Nation in Pikwakanagan, the first wave of Polish immigration to Canada (to Wilno) and many other diverse cultures. Many of these stories are shared through the burgeoning arts scene, museums and cultural institutions and community theatre.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in the Ottawa Valley, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Discover the Ottawa Valley
The Ottawa Valley is filled with outdoor fun perfect to wake up to any day of the year with small towns acting as launchpads for your adventure. Keep scrolling to discover your next stop or jump to a section you are eager to discover.
Food and drink
Before you go exploring fill your cooler with a Taste of the Valley. Farmers’ markets and roadside farm stands dot the landscape offering nothing but fresh produce, baked goods and locally raised meats. Reel in the catch of the day at over 900 lakes and rivers, which offer more than 20 different species of fish. Perfect for a shoreline snack. Local eateries, pubs and chip trucks serve up a variety of delectable dishes. Be sure to stop in Killaloe, home of the world-famous BeaverTail, for a tasty treat.
A self-guided tour of the Tap & Cork Route will introduce your to the Valley’s collection of craft breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries.
The Ottawa Valley is a natural magnet for adventurers, with the heart of the valley located only an hour and a half from Ottawa. Escape into the wilderness via a network of multi-use trails, ranging from hardcore to introductory, to see breathtaking vistas and find natural treasures (like Ontario’s tallest tree, in Arnprior).
Canoes and whitewater rafting are perfect for exploring waterways and wildlife viewing. Bicycles, ATVs and snowmobiles are popular for going deeper into the backcountry.
Learn about the story of our Earth through recreational geology experiences like spelunking, rockhounding and mineral collecting.
Museums and heritage sites
There is so much to see and do in the Ottawa Valley, make sure you grab a map from the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association or local information centre. The most popular guides will point you to the river, the starting point for any adventure in the Ottawa Valley. However, the best of the Ottawa Valley is more than its outdoor adventures. There are picturesque heritage trails and history hotspots throughout the region. Take a wander in downtown Pembroke, and be inspired by over 30 historic murals showcasing the rich culture of the region.
Leisure and sports
Hockey fans will know the birthplace of the NHA/NHL is right here in Renfrew. Keep your skates sharp and warm up along the scenic wooded Laurentian Valley Skating Trail in Pembroke. If you prefer a faster pace, head to Calabogie Motorsports Park and sign up for their Winter Racecar Clinic on Canada’s longest race track.
Arts and culture
The majestic natural environment inspires the best of Ottawa Valley art and culture. Artists flock to the area wanting to capture the seasons’ fall colour change in spectacular fashion. Communities are always proud to display local artists and share in the storytelling for the area. Pop-up art exhibits and workshops provide immersive experiences while homegrown community theatre entertains both locals and visitors alike.
Last updated: August 4, 2022