It’s been one of those weeks. The kind that are held together with gum and duck tape. The kind where you’re running a tight ship…wreeeeck. Every have one of those?!
Somebody grab the defibrillator and reset life into a normal rhythm please. Ok, ok, that’s not going to happen. Times like that, you need to take control yourself.
So in this case, it meant declaring a day to self, getting out into the country and on those trails. Just so happens that Morris Island Conservation Area was a solid pick.
The Low Down
- Distance: An easy 70 km (roughly 50 min drive from Ottawa).
- Address: 156 Morris Island Dr, Fitzroy Harbour, ON K0A 1X0
- Directions: Hwy 417 West. Take exit 169 for Ottawa Road 20/Kinburn Side Road toward Chemin de Traverse/Pakenham/Kinburn. On exit, keep right (north) on Ottawa Regional Rd 20. Quick left (west) turn on county rd 17. In 6kms turn right on to Galetta Side Rd/Ottawa Regional Rd 22. Continue on Galetta Side Rd. Drive through Galetta and over a small bridge. Take a left at Loggers Way to your destination.
- Cellphone Range: Yes.
- Number of hiking trails: 5.
- Trail Distance: 2.5km (voyageur and miners) and 2.8km (causeway, chats falls, and island loop)
- Elevation Gain: 120m
- Dogs: Leashed.
- Crowds: Moderate.
- Washrooms: Outhouses onsite at trail head.
- Entrance fee: 3$ per vehicle
- Season: All year.
- More information: Visit Morris Island Conservation Area for more info.
In Good Company
Morris Island Conservation Area is one of those rare gem of a trail system that although you’re sharing it with other outdoor enthusiasts – it still easy to find that sense of self and calm. This is partial thanks to the multiple scenic view points.
If you want to chat with strangers you can, and if you’d like to keep your thoughts to yourself, you absolutely can.
Note: Did you know that Morris Island is considered a “living classroom”? Open to the public for day time activities like hiking, picnicking, canoeing, fishing and natural interpretation.
What to bring
- Picnic: Morris Island has plenty of prime picnic space with great views of the water.
Morris Island Trails
With a large 47 hectare site on the Ottawa River with multiple islands, Morris Island Conservation Area is a fun trail system to explore.
The trails are well maintained, about 1-2 person wide for the most part, and clearly marked with plastic tree signs. Large trail marker posts stand proudly at the major intersections.
On the main trails, scenic view points are indicated by red plastic red signs. Each lookout offers a bench to rest and soak in the calm. Some benches are even sweetly dedicated to loved ones.
The woodland is a mix that includes large evergreens that are gorgeous with a fresh coat of snow. The area is mostly a mix of woodlands, marshlands, and islands.
Bonus: With multiple lookouts on the Ottawa River, Morris Island Conservation Area is an excellent spot to catch the sunrise.
Now for those scenic view points…
Morris Island has a few accessibility features such as a small trail, causeway with fishing access, washroom, and picnic areas designed with wheel chair access in mind. These features are clearly marked on the trail map.
Stops and Shops
There are a few options when leaving like hitting up the historic and scenic town of Almonte. Although you can easily spend a day in Almonte shopping (shout out to Cheerfully Made and ThreadWorks!), sipping coffee (helllooo Equator Coffee) or strolling through either the river trail or the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area.
However if you’re looking for a stop on your way back to Ottawa, my recommendation in driving down Carp Rd to the quaint little town of Carp itself.
Got kiddos with you? Hit up the Defienbunker Museum. It’s an actual bunker rich with intriguing cold war era spy stuff.
Umm, side note, did you know they hold summer spy camps for kids?! Gawd. Where’s the adult version. Ha ha. #nerdalert For us big kids, they also host escape rooms and laser tag. True story.
Also stopped at The Hive in Carp and couldn’t help but pick up a sign that Winston Churchill.
Nourish Thy Self
And since you’re driving through Carp on the wait home, stop at Alice’s Village Cafe to fuel up with a great meal or delicious baked goods and coffee (oh hey now, they use Equator Coffee for the win).
The fun part is that they have open mic nights! Helloooo live music and local talent. Their cozy atmosphere is perfect for that chill music vibe with good friends. Fair warning though, is there are plenty of reservations then sitting is slim pickings.
Wrapping It Up
This area makes it easy to have a great weekend with so much to explore and even better to support oh-so-trendy local small businesses.
Have you go out to Morris Island? What’s your take on the river side conservation area?
Bonus: Explore resources for your free printables – lists of the best waterfalls, tower, vista, sunrise/sunset, dog friendly, accessible, family friendly, and coffee plus hikes around Ottawa and area!