From the pristine wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park to the roaring whitewater of the Ottawa River, the Ottawa Valley is made for day trips, outdoor adventures and endless wandering. Only a short drive from the capital, the region is a four-season destination that boasts a spectacular collection of winter experiences. 

Crank up the heat and tunes, and put those winter tires to work as you cruise from Renfrew to Petawawa to Pembroke. Get ready to take the Ottawa Valley by storm, whether that means snowmobiling through the glistening snow, gliding across the trails with a pair of snowshoes or ice fishing on the lake for some fresh pike. 

One Day: Winter Activities in the Ottawa Valley

While there are countless things to see and do in the Ottawa Valley, you can still have an amazing, memorable experience filled with outdoor winter activities in 24-hours. Add these to your itinerary and you’ll be rewarded with just a glimpse of the beautiful region. 

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Things to do in the Ottawa Valley: Skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

We know the Rideau Canal is not technically in the Ottawa Valley. But, as a highlight of winter in Ottawa, you simply cannot pass on the opportunity to glide across the frozen canal when you’re in the region. Stretching for 7.8 kilometres, between the heart of downtown and Dows Lake, the Rideau Canal Skateway holds the record as the world’s largest natural ice rink. 

Take in the scenic urban views as you glide down the Rideau Canal. Satisfy your cravings at one of the food and beverage vendors situated right on the ice. After all, a skate down the Rideau Canal just wouldn’t be complete without a Beavertail, a soft deep-fried dough, topped with sweet or savoury ingredients. And if you prefer not to skate, you could also walk along the Skateway at your own pace. 

RELATED: Rise of the BeaverTail: Origin of Canada’s Favourite Treat

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Things to do in the Ottawa Valley: Ski at Calabogie Peaks or Mount Pakenham

From tree-lined slopes, challenging vertical drops and gentle, family-friendly runs, the Ottawa Valley is surrounded by snow-covered hills that’ll satisfy any skier or snowboarders’ urge to hit the slopes. Situated at the base of Dickson Mountain, on the shores of Calabogie Lake, Calabogie Peaks boasts some of the best-groomed slopes for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts of all levels. 

Mount Pakenham, on the other hand, has the perfect terrain for new downhill enthusiasts and families with young children. No matter which of these ski hills near Ottawa you opt for, you won’t have to drive very far to access great runs. 

One Week: Winter Activities in the Ottawa Valley

One week is the perfect amount of time to immerse yourself in the unique Ottawa Valley winter activities. With skating and skiing already on your itinerary, round off your experience in the region with these outdoor adventures. 

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Things to do in the Ottawa Valley: Hit the Snowmobile Trails

With over 2,550 kilometres of groomed Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) trails and local routes, there’s no shortage of snowmobile trails in the Ottawa Valley. Explore the back country as you wind through snow-covered forests, picturesque towns, along abandoned logging roads and past old mine sites. 

Not sure where to start? Conveniently situated on the Round Algonquin Park snowmobile route, Pembroke is the perfect destination to start your snowmobiling adventure in the depths of winter. Spend a couple of days riding in and out of forested valleys as you venture from Pembroke to Petawawa to Deep River. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. 

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Things to do in the Ottawa Valley: Go Ice Fishing on the Ottawa River

Add ice fishing to your list of outdoor winter adventures in the Ottawa Valley. Only a short drive from Ottawa, the region is packed with opportunities to get out on the frozen water and await a nibble on your line. With more than 900 lakes and four world-class river systems, you can easily spend a couple of days exploring all the region has to offer. 

Local anglers will often tell you it’s one of the best things to do in Pembroke. There are many species of fish actively swimming under the ice on the Ottawa River, but the most common you’ll find include crappie, pike, walleye and sauger. 

In need of a satisfying meal after that outdoor winter adventure? Opt for one of these restaurants in the Ottawa Valley when hunger comes calling. 

Special thanks to the staff at the Quality Inn & Suites in Petawawa, ON for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Ottawa Valley