Shirley’s Bay (NCC Trail: Shoreline, 10, 12) in Ottawa – Trail Report

A very popular hiking area, the NCC’s Shirley’s Bay sector boasts over 7kms of trails with shoreline, wetlands, and treed sections. It is an ecologically significant area with it’s diverse terrain and, to the delight of birders, is along an important bird migration. Over 270 species have been spotted here!

Shirley's Bay NCC Trail 10

All The Trail Details

  • Distance from Ottawa: within the City of Ottawa
  • GPS Coordinates: 45.37061653586379, -75.85961456806923
  • Address: NCC P2, Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON K2H 8B2
  • Directions: You can park at NCC P2 on Carling Ave (easiest to hike from), NCC P1 on Rifle Rd (location of boat launch, picnic tables, washrooms), NCC P3 on Corkstown Rd.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Parking: Parking lots at each location (P1, P2, P3).
  • Trailhead: Clearing marked from P2. Starting at P1 requires a section of walking on the road.
  • Number of Trails: 3 (Shoreline Trail at P1, NCC 10 at P2, and NCC 12 at P3)
  • Total Distance of Trails: up to 7kms.
  • Elevation Gain: minimal.
  • Washrooms: Located near boat launch at P1.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons. Open 7:30 a.m. to dusk daily.
  • Features: Wetlands, shoreline, forest.
  • Activities:Hiking, snowshoeing, birding, geocaching.
  • Dogs: No dogs at Shoreline Trail (P1). Dogs permitted on-leash at NCC trail 10 + 12.
  • Suggested Stops: It’s Kanata, you’re a stone throws away from any amenity you want…
  • Nearby Hikes: Old Quarry Trail in Stony Swamp.
  • More Information: Visit the NCC website for more information and the trail map.

Land Acknowledgement

These are the lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin) people.⁠ It is important as avid hikers and stewards of the land, to acknowledge and understand the full story our surroundings along with the people that care for her, both past and present. As sourced from native-land.ca, if there are corrections please send to victoria@girlgonegood.com

Land management

This property is within the City of Ottawa and managed by the NCC. Did you know that NCC trails are divided into six major sectors? They are; Shirley’s Bay, Phiney Forest, Mer Bleue, Green’s Creek, Stony Swamp, and Pine Grove.

Kindly respect the trail guidelines by keeping your dog on-leash, carrying out all trash, and staying on the trail (no off trail roaming to protect ecological efforts and in respect of other hikers).

What to Bring

Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, here are the highlights for this particular hike:

  • Camera and binoculars: Shirley’s Bay is a well known location for birders and a fantastic spot to work on identification.
  • Bug spray and tick key: As with much of Ontario, there is a tick and lyme disease presence in Lanark County meaning that it’s best to follow tick protocols. 
  • Waste bag: What you hike in with, you hike out with. That’s the golden rule, and if you see anything that’s not part of nature (like food wrappers) kindly pick it up to throw out later.

Shirley's Bay NCC Shoreline Trail

A short 100m trail along the Ottawa River shoreline. Co-located at P1 with the boat launch, picnic area, and washrooms.

Shirley's Bay NCC Trail 10

Starting from P2, this popular and main attraction at Shirley’s Bay is a very well marked 4.2km loop trail through treed areas and wetlands with a few viewing points of the Ottawa River.  Creeks and bridges can be found along the way.

Shirley's Bay NCC Trail 12

Located at P3 on Corkstown Rd, this trail is 2.7km on a well marked trail.

Stops and Shops

Hard to recommend nearby stops and shops since it’s still within the city and there is an abundance of amenities nearby.

Wrapping Up

The last time I hiked this trail was with Megan from Ottawa River Lifestyle – a dear friend and my favourite local blogger. We parked at P1 and decided to walk along the road to hike trail 10. Keep in mind that the pathway on trail 10 floods easily in the spring. Kindly respect the trail and community by staying on trail, picking up trash, leaving no trash, following Leave No Trace guidelines, and any rules posted by the trail managers.

Did you hike this trail recently? If so, comment on conditions below!