As the snow continues to fall in the Ottawa area, the kids may be excited to grab their sleds, throw on their snow pants and head to a hill. Maybe you have a small hill near your house to enjoy, or maybe you’re looking for a new adventure to try. It’s the season for sledding and there are a few great places in the Ottawa area that you can check out.
Before we share those with you, we did want to mention sledding safety. The City of Ottawa has information and disclaimers on its website that you should check out before you go. It’s important to note that the hills aren’t frequently maintained and that certain conditions (like ice) may make your sledding trip more hazardous than fun. Luckily, there are hills of all sizes for your family to check out all winter long because the family that sleds together… has a lot of fun together!
In addition to safety, there are new considerations to think about and plan for before hitting the toboggan hills this year. There are gathering restrictions in the City of Ottawa because of the pandemic, plus suggestions about crowded spaces, keeping distance, and wearing masks even when outdoors. Some hills and facilities may be closed.
The good news is, sledding is a Covid activity many families can enjoy outside while creating memories in the snow and staying active! Here are some hills to check out:
Where to go sledding in Ottawa
Apollo Crater Park
This man-made location is popular for those living in Orleans (it’s officially listed as Cumberland on the City of Ottawa website). It’s a storm pond drain area with a gradual dip that will still provide plenty of thrills. There’s no direct parking, so you’ll need to find something along the street.
This one is a popular hill is in the NCC land off of Bearbrook Road. It features a nice tall hill with wide-open runs for good speed, but it’s also safely protected from the river with a high embankment. It’s lit at night so early sunsets are not a problem, and there’s both parking and outhouses in the parking lot nearby. Find other NCC hills on their website.
If big thrills are what you’re after, we recommend Carlington Park…if you dare. A retired ski hill, Carlington has the steepest, fastest runs in town, plus a cool old chairlift to explore. Local sledders often carve out jumps and twists and turns for extra fun. Park at the nearby Dulude Arena on Clyde and prepare for a (well rewarded) hike up.
Walter Baker Park
If you’re located in the west end, the big hill in Walter Baker Park rules the sledding world and should not be missed. It’s a big man-made hill with one of the longest runs in town, and if you’re skilled on the sled, you can take your toboggan halfway across the park before stopping. We especially love the steep start that makes it a perfect launching place for multi-passenger sleds—so don’t just wait at the bottom, climb on up and hop in the back. Parking is plentiful at the Kanata Rec Centre next door, and the hill is lit so you can keep sledding until long past dinnertime.
This is another popular location (you’ll find it just off Riverside) and is one of the tallest hills around, and with its central location, you’ll want to pause and take in the gorgeous view from the top before heading down. There are multiple runs so choose your level of steepness carefully, and pick a run far from the (wrapped) trees and posts for younger riders.
Craig Henry Park
Located in the heart of Nepean, Craig Henry Park offers a smaller hill that’s a great choice for young families that don’t want to trek out to the ‘burbs. The hill isn’t too hard to climb for little legs but still offers a fairly long and nicely open run to the west. Parking is available onsite at the high school but there’s no evening lighting.
Queenswood Heights Centennial Park and Community Centre
Families with younger children may want to check out the hill at Queenswood Heights Centennial Park and Community Centre (near the ball diamond). There’s a gradual slope with quite a bit of space at this smaller man-made hill in Ottawa’s East End.
For more sledding hill locations (including an interactive map) visit the City of Ottawa Website.