Photo: Ivan Calderon

Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa

Run, swim, patio, repeat

Trail / Hike


Half day

When’s the last time you packed your bathing suit to go for a run? Enjoy iconic river views and a secret swimming spot on this 7km run along the Ottawa River starting from the Rockcliffe Park Pavilion. Then treat yourself with a cold drink on a floating patio.  

Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa

Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa, ON, Canada

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Planning your run

Making the most out of this riverside route

Where to get started

The Rockcliffe Pavilion is the starting point for this 7km run, and a well-known wedding and photo-op destination in Ottawa. The pavilion is easy to get to from the Rockcliffe Driveway off Princess Avenue. Start from the pavilion and run north along the Ottawa River before turning back south past McKay Lake and through some quiet residential streets.

The perfect photo op(s)

Take a breather (and take out your camera) at Rockcliffe Lookout along the way for some of the best views Ottawa has to offer. Winter or summer, the stop will afford an impressive view of the Gatineau side of the river. If you want to spend more time in the trees, switch up your route and head back to the Ottawa River Pathway. The well-maintained trail winds all the way from Kanata to the east end.

Train for a tri

On those really hot days consider getting in some “triathlon” training by jumping into McKay Pond. Dubbed Ottawa’s secret swimming hole, McKay Pond, located on the southeast corner of the larger McKay Lake, has been frequented by members of the Rockcliffe community for decades. Swimming is allowed daily from June to September between 7:00am and 2:00pm so make sure you get out there early.

Post-run patio session

If you fancy a bite that comes with a side of impressive river views, stop off at the Boathouse Restaurant after your run. An Ottawa staple, this restaurant boasts an impressive sun-soaked patio where you can enjoy a cold (and well-deserved) beverage while looking at the Ottawa River. The outdoor patio floats right on the water to give it a  cottage-boathouse feeling.

Essential Gear

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