Stony Swamp Conservation Area in Ottawa – Trail Report

The Stony Swamp sector of the Greenbelt is amazingly not a trail system that I grew up hiking. To me, it seemed too popular and I liked going outside the city best. But lately, with the focus being on all-things-local, a new appreciation for NCC’s trails within the city. I mean really, how lucky are we to have this much greenery within city limits?!?! I’d like to see more, but that’s a conversation for another day. 

Within Stony Swamp conservation area you’ll find Old Quarry, Jack Pine, Lime Kiln, Beaver, Chipmunk, Sarsaparilla trails.  Each of those trails will be covered in this trail report.

stony swamp old quarry

The Low Down

  • Distance from Ottawa: located within city limits.
  • GPS Coordinates: Unknown.
  • Address: See ‘directions’ below.
  • Directions: To find the trailheads of each, use NCC Greenbelt P <insert parking
    lot number>. Example, for Old Quarry Trail it’s P5 and in google maps
    it’s NCC Greenbelt P5. Parking lot numbers are provided in the trail descriptions below and the NCC Greenbelt Trail Map.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Parking: Large parking lot. Maintained in winter.
  • Trailhead: Located at the parking lot.
  • Number of Trails: 1 main trail (with a few connection trails).
  • Total Distance of Trails: 5.5km loop.
  • Elevation Gain: None.
  • Washrooms: Outhouse at trailhead.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons. Dawn till dusk. 
  • Features: Ecological significance, forestlands, marshlands.
  • Activities: Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, birding.
  • Dogs: Not permitted. See the Ultimate Guide to Hiking with Dogs in Ottawa and Region.
  • Suggested Stops: Anywhere?!?! It’s the city, plenty of shops and cafe in the area.
  • Nearby Hikes: Monaghan Forest.
  • More InformationVisit the National Capital Commission (NCC) for more information and trail map.

Land Acknowledgement

These are the ancestral 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 managed by the National Capital Commission and is apart of Ottawa’s greenbelt. NCC states “The Greenbelt comprises 20,000 hectares of green space, including farms, forests and wetlands. It was created in the 1950s to protect the rural land bordering the Capital from urban sprawl. It has since become the largest publicly owned greenbelt in the world. Most of the Greenbelt (14,950 hectares) is owned by the NCC. The Greenbelt protects natural areas like forests, wetlands, streams and sand dunes that sustain biodiversity. The natural areas in the Greenbelt support human and ecological health in Canada’s Capital Region.”

The Greenbelt is divided into six sectors which include Stony Swamp, Mer Bleu, Green’s Creek, Pine Grove, Shirley’s Bay, and Southern Farm and Phiney Forest.

Check in with NCC for winter trail use and guidelines, trail etiquette, and their conservation efforts.

What To Bring

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

  • Trash bags: As every hiker knows, we must hike out what we hike in. however there are still times where trash is found on the trails and we can help out by picking it up. Not only does that help to keep out trails clean but also positively supports the environment.

Stony Swamp - Old Quarry Trail (Trail 23)

For some odd reason, I’ve been hiking most trails counter clockwise lately?! Anyways, this trail is best hiked clockwise starting from the outhouses (it’s easier to follow the trail signs I find). Walking through the mostly red pine forest, you can do a full loop hiking trail 23 way points in this sequence trailhead, A, C, D, E, G, H, D, C, B, trailhead.  Don’t worry, it’s easy enough to follow and there are map at the way points.

I know, you might think, hey now, why don’t you post a picture of the trail map?! Well, in a word, copyright. And secondly, trail maps change when land managers need to give certain sections a break from overuse/overexposure from us humans. So it’s always best to get your trail map straight from the source, which in this case is the NCC.

The trail is well maintained, aaaaaand wide enough to pass each other and still maintain physical distancing for the pandemic. #winning

Stony Swamp - Jack Pine Trail

More details and pictures will be added once I’ve hiked this trail in full again and can report back with what you need to make this a great hike!

Stony Swamp - Lime Kiln Trail

More details and pictures will be added once I’ve hiked this trail in full again and can report back with what you need to make this a great hike!

Stony Swamp - Sarsaparilla Trail

More details and pictures will be added once I’ve hiked this trail in full again and can report back with what you need to make this a great hike!

Stony Swamp - Beaver + Chipmunk Trail

More details and pictures will be added once I’ve hiked this trail in full again and can report back with what you need to make this a great hike!

Stops and Shops

Anywhere?!?! It’s the city, plenty of shops and cafe in the area. Google or Siri is best in this case!

Wrapping Up

This was the first trail hiked for NCC’s #WinterCapital Trail Network Challenge. Are you taking part? The #WinterCapital challenge is on until April 15th 2021. You can register online then connect through strava (or other tracking apps) to complete 25, 50, 100, or 200kms.  I’m working towards the 25kms this year, and who knows, maybe the 50kms if there’s enough time!

It was also hiked for our own The Eco-Activist Series challenge this year. There are 10 challenges in all for you to take if you’re interested in exploring more of the region and having a little fun at the same time. Check out The Challenge Series for more information.

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!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cherie

    Old Quarry is one of our favourites, mostly because it is so close and easy to access. It’s usually not busy and offers short a 2.5km hike as well as a longer 10km hike. We also tend to find friends along the way, ducks, beavers, muskrats, turtles, blue herons, porcupines and lots of deer.

    1. GirlGoneGood

      Thanks for sharing Cherie! It is a lovely trail for sure, and even better that you’ve noticed wildlife friends along the way. I’ll have to return again in the summer.

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