Rideau Canal Walk from Dows Lake to Ottawa Locks

Ottawa is a great city for outdoor activities. On my solo trip to Ottawa I chose an overcast day to walk from Wellington West to Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa Locks near Parliament Hill. I wanted to visit the Rideau Canal since I was a kid in Calgary Alberta. I wanted to go ice skating on the Rideau Canal because I saw video clips on the news every winter and it looked so beautiful. Now that I’ve lived in Austin Texas for over 15 years the thought of winter frightens me a little. I still think it would be fun to skate the Rideau Canal on a not-too-freezing-cold winter day.

 

Walking to Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario - beautiful fir trees in the nearby park

Walking the path to Dows Lake – beautiful trees

 

Walking from Wellington West neighborhood I saw plenty of flowers.

 

Flowers along Dows Lake shoreline in Ottawa Canada - popular for canoeing and kayaking in summertime

Flowers blooming near Dows Lake

 

Flower gardens in Ottawa are colorful - yellow daisies

Yellow daisies in Ottawa Ontario – seems to be plenty of avid gardeners in the city

 

Closer to Dows Lake I saw an adorable little chipmunk scampering around the park looking for a place to hide his treasure. I hadn’t seen a chipmunk in ages – we don’t have them around Austin. When I lived in Calgary I used to see chipmunks whenever I went camping in Banff National Park. I had forgotten how cute they are!

 

Near Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario - adorable chipmunk looking for a place to hide his treasure

This adorable chipmunk was running all around looking for a good place to hide his loot

 

I had intended on going kayaking or canoeing on Dows Lake but the strong wind gusts out on the lake convinced me otherwise and I stuck with walking along the shore.

 

Kayaking canoeing and boating are popular on Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario

Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario

 

I did enjoy watching Crosby jumping from the dock to rescue his tennis ball.

 

Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario - popular for canoeing kayaking and boating

Crosby the Wonder Dog leaps into Dows Lake to rescue his tennis ball

 

Dows Lake was around a third of the way for my walk from Wellington West to the Ottawa Locks – I started out in Wellington West neighborhood – my fingertip on the top left of the map points it out. It was just over 3 km to Dows Lake. There were several maps along the pathway I walked – useful for the directionally challenged individuals like me!

 

Map of Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario - pathways are clearly marked from Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal

Map of Ottawa – Dows Lake – on the top left my finger points to where I started in Wellington West

 

I loved watching the ducks along Dows Lake and the Rideau Canal – they were so animated and amused me for a good while. I was pleased to see signs posted asking people to NOT feed the birds and help keep the wildlife wild.

 

Ottawa Canada - walking along the Rideau Canal and Dows Lake ducks are abundant

Ducks are plentiful along Dows Lake and the Rideau Canal

 

Ducks at Dows Lake in Ottawa Ontario - stretching and relaxing by the water

Ducks enjoying the afternoon at Dows Lake in Ottawa

 

Walking the pathways - ducks and geese gather at Dows Lake and the Rideau Canal

Cute duck walking by the water at Dows Lake

 

I continued on my walk east of Dows Lake and followed the Rideau Canal to central Ottawa. The roses had finished blooming leaving behind colorful rose hips except for one lone pink bloom.

 

Ottawa in August the roses had bloomed leaving colorful rose hips - Rideau Canal walk

Colorful rose hips along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

 

Bright pink rose bloom along Rideau Canal in Ottawa Ontario Canada

The last rose bloom – Rideau Canal in Ottawa

 

There were all sorts of lichen on the trees – pretty colors! Also some interesting insects.

 

Exoskeleton from an insect and lichen on tree bark - walking along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa Ontario Canada

Exoskeleton from an insect and lichen on tree bark

 

Walking along the Rideau Canal there are rose bushes and interesting insects - Ottawa Ontario Canada

Beetle in the rose bush – Rideau Canal near Dows Lake

 

The Rideau Canal pathway is a busy place for outdoor enthusiasts – I saw people cycling, rollerblading,  running and walking. I stopped to sit on a bench for a moment and there was a guy running along behind his two kids on bicycles. “We’re not stopping!!” he hollered out to them as they were about to join me on the bench.

 

Beautiful Rideau Canal walkway in Ottawa Ontario - Canada''s capital

Enjoy biking, walking, running, inline skating along the Rideau Canal

 

I spotted a bunch of mushrooms growing along the pathway – I don’t know if they are the edible type but they look interesting.

 

Mushroom patch along the Rideau Canal pathway in Ottawa Ontario Canada

Mushroom patch along the Rideau Canal pathway

 

There are also boats along the Rideau Canal – to get from the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal they must pass through the set of locks at Ottawa Locks near Parliament Hill. It takes around 1.5 hours to make it through all 8 locks with a total lift of 79 feet.

 

Boats passing from the Ottawa River to Rideau Canal must pass 8 locks with a lift of 79 feet total

Boating along the Rideau Canal near the Ottawa Locks

 

I finished my walk near the Ottawa Locks just a couple of blocks from Parliament Hill. It was a perfect day to spend a few hours walking along the Rideau Canal. The total distance from Wellington West to Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa Locks was 10.5 km (6.5 miles). I rewarded myself with a tasty meal at Petit Bill’s Bistro after I took a bus back to my neighborhood of Wellington West.

 

Ottawa Locks lead to the Rideau Canal from the Ottawa River and continue 202 km to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario

Ottawa Locks lead to the Rideau Canal from the Ottawa River

 

Next time perhaps I’ll be brave and visit Ottawa in the winter so I can go ice skating on the Rideau Canal.

Walking is my favorite way to explore a city – how about you, what is your preferred means of exploring a city?

About the Author

Susan Moore's first solo travel experience was traveling around SE Asia for 7 months in 1993. It was life changing and extraordinary. Currently Susan is living a nomadic life, working and roadtripping around the USA and Canada. You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter

4 Comments

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  1. Great photos! I love the squirrel with his nut – I don’t know why, but I love watching squirrels run around in city parks like New York etc. We don’t have them in Australia so I find them so amusing!!

    Will have to get to Ottawa at some point; haven’t yet ventured up to Canada yet!

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