One thing I noticed after moving to Ottawa was how keen Canadians here are about winter sports and activities, no matter how freezing cold the temperature is outside.
Ice skating, skiing, and snowshoeing are some of the most popular activities, but in my own experience, the most hilarious is definitely sledding down a hill covered in snow.
In previous years I visited some sledding hills in Ottawa but I just watched my children have fun because I was too afraid of the heights and speed. This year, however, I felt braver and I decided that it was time to try sledding, and it exceeded my expectations.
It’s incredibly fun, and lots of laughs are guaranteed. I think it’s the perfect activity to bond and make memories with your family, loved ones, or friends.
Did you know that there are more than 50 sledding hills in Ottawa? So, there’s no excuse for not going sledding. The only thing you need is a sled.
The city of Ottawa has a list of 55 hills approved for sledding. For this post, I made a list of 15 sledding hills, taking into account that they have no restrictions and have parking available.
Since one can reach high speeds, it is important that there are no obstacles at the bottom where you land. Always check out the bottom is clear of obstacles or people before jumping on the sled.
If you don’t like high speed or heights, but you don’t want to miss the experience of going sledding, you can try one of the small sledding hills in Ottawa.
These hills have gradual slopes and are perfect for enjoying family moments if you have little kids.
Gérald Poulin (Gloucester)
Very small man-made hill with a very gradual slope. Unlit. Parking available.
Address: 1899 Du Clairvaux Road
Marcel Lalande Park (Cumberland)
Very small man-made hill. Clear of obstructions. Parking at the nearby school. Unlit.
Address: 2157 Northlands Drive
Queenwood Heights Centennial Park & Community Centre (Cumberland)
Very small man-made hill with a gradual slope and wide-open runoffs.
Address: 1485 Duford Drive
Marchand Park (Gloucester)
Small natural hill with a gradual slope. Parking available. Unlit.
Address: 1157 Kenaston Street
Stonecrest Park (Nepean)
Small man-made hill with a gradual slope. Parking available at the centre.
Address: 1485 Duford Drive
Walters Park (Cumberland)
Small man-made with a gradual slope. Parking available at the nearby school. Unlit.
Address: 841 Clearcrest Crescent
Westboro Kiwanis Park (Ottawa)
Small man-made hill. Medium length run. Parking available at Dovercourt CC. It has indirect lighting from rink lights.
Address: 411 Dovercourt Avenue
Grasshopper Hill/Kilborn Park (Ottawa)
Small man-made hill with very gradual slope and clear long run. Parking available. Unlit.
Address: 1609 Kilborn Avenue
Bayshore Park (Nepean)
Small man-made hill. Fairly steep short slope with a long clear landing. Parking available. Unlit.
Address: 175 Woodridge Crescent
If you are fearless and you are looking for a real thrill, try the larger sledding hills. Some of them are steep and will make you literally fly!
Craig Henry Park (Nepean)
Large-medium man-made hill with a gradual slope. It has a long clear run to the west. Parking available. Unlit.
Address: 135 Craig Henry Drive
Loyola Park (Gloucester)
Large natural hill multi-levels. Steep and gradual slopes with long clear runoff. Street parking. Unlit.
Address: 956 Loyola Avenue
Walter Baker Park (Kanata)
Large man-made hill with a moderate slope and very long runoffs. Parking at Kanata Recreation Complex. Lit in the evenings.
Ski Hill Park (Gloucester)
Very large multi-level natural hill with gradual slopes and turns. Caution: avoid sledding close to the trees on the north-west side of the hill that is protected by hay sacks. Parking provided. Unlit.
Address: 1995 Naskapi Drive
Carlington Park (Ottawa)
Very large hill with long gradual runs. This is one of the most popular hills for sledding. It’s steep, and that guarantees the fastest runs. But if you don’t want to jump from the crest, you can do it from a middle point, which is what I did and it was super fun.
Caution: Avoid sledding on the east side of the hill. There is a playing field fence at the bottom.
Address: 937 Clyde Avenue
Green’s Creek (Gloucester)
This is also one of the most popular sledding hills in the city. It’s a very large multi-level and natural hill with a straight run clear of obstructions. Sledders usually carve jumps and turns to add some extra fun and thrills. It’s lit in the evenings and there is parking provided.
Address: 1046 St Joseph Boulevard
There is another popular sledding spot in Ottawa: Mooney’s Bay. The city of Ottawa recently prohibited sledding there because large crowds were forming and that isn’t permitted during the pandemic.
Update from 2022: As of December 27th, 2021 the hill at Mooney’s Bay is closed after the tragic death of an 11-year-old girl while tobogganing there. The city of Ottawa has reminded people that this hill is not suitable for tobogganing due to the presence of obstacles, like trees and metal signs, at the bottom.
A bonus: I recently discovered a new sledding hill that meets the conditions to call it safe. It’s in Apollo Crater Park located in Orleans. The park has the shape of a crater, so there are lots of room to go tobogganing.
I’d say it’s a medium-size hill, not very steep and there are no obstructions at the bottom. This park is also an off-leash dog park, so if you have a pet you can take it with you. You can park on the street.
Address: 600 Apollo Way
It’s better to go sledding after a good snowfall. It makes the experience super nice and smooth. On the contrary, when the snow has hardened, tumbling down the hill can hurt.
If you don’t like excessive tumbling like me, sled on straight surfaces and avoid hollows that cause jumps and hard bumps. That’s how I broke my daughter’s sled. It was hilarious though.
The best position is sitting. You’ll be more in control. If you lay on your back, the sled can turn, and you’ll be descending headfirst.
Have you gone sledding this winter? How was your experience? Do you have any recommendations? Please feel free to share. Take care.