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 their 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. CHEO has a really good summary with tips for sledding safety. 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!
Where to go sledding in Ottawa
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.
If big thrills are what you’re after, we recommend Carlington Park in Westboro…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.