Petrie Island Nature Trails

There are 7 km of walking paths on the islands – some are loops, some require retracing steps. All are easy and offer spectacular views of the Ottawa River and quiet backwaters. They are designed for casual walking and everyone is asked to respect others who come to enjoy nature. Walk slowly and quietly in order to better observe wildlife. Bill Holland Trail is closed to bicycles; a rack is provided at the trailhead.

Bill Holland Trail – 2.4 km
This is the longest trail on Petrie, named for a local naturalist who did research here. It follows the gravel road beside the picnic area and continues along an old causeway, explaining the presence of rocks, which do not occur naturally anywhere on the island complex. Featured here are excellent views of the wetlands, quiet beaches lining the Ottawa River, evidence of beaver activity, and turtle nesting areas. Sections of the Beach Loop (off the Bill Holland Trail) and this main trail may be flooded in spring. Please exercise care in sandy areas, as they are prime real estate for turtle nests.

River Loop/Beaver Loop
These trails are found near the west end of the Bill Holland Trail.  The River Loop follows the north side of the island along the Ottawa River.  Both marsh and beach are found.  The Beaver Loop goes south of the main trail, and provides views of the inner channel. The Beaver Loop’s eastern bend goes through a rare stand of Hackberry trees.

Panorama Loop
There is a new trail branching off toward the river just before the Bill Holland Trail gate. The rocky hill features a sumac grove, many wildflowers, and sweeping vistas of the Ottawa River.

Turtle Trail – 300 metres

A 15-minute walk that starts along an inland pond, a favourite turtle basking area, especially spring to late summer (stop at the viewing platform). You may wish to cross the gravel road at the western end of this short trail and explore a stand of trees, the eroded Ottawa River shoreline on the north side of the island and the wildflower garden. The gravel road leads west to the Bill Holland (longest) Trail. There is a new nursery area on the right side of the road near the trail operations hut.

Muskrat Trail – .8 km

This 15-minute walk starts at the parking lot nearest the picnic area and brings you to a point of land centrally located among four bodies of water separating the various islands. A good spot for seeing water birds, this trail also features an amphibian observation pond with footbridge and display.

Sunrise Trail – .3 km

The Sunrise Trail continues from the causeway to the beaches along the downstream side of the island. From the end of the trail you can follow a path through the park back to the picnic area or walk along 1 km of sandy beach which offers sunrise and sunset views and fine vistas of the Ottawa River.

Petrie Island Nature Trails are just one of the many nature trails and hiking trails you can find throughout Ontario by using the search features of


Nearby towns and cities:
Trail feature tags:

Petrie Island Nature Trails characteristics

Length: 7 km of trails
Difficulty: Moderate (Trail classifications)
Trail surface: Natural
Trail use: Hiking, Cross-country skiing, and Snowshoeing
Accessibility Notes: not wheelchair accessible
Fees: parking fee.

Flora & Fauna:

Not yet reported.

Amenities: picnic tables & washrooms

Attractions: swimming

Friends of Petrie Island

Find it: 727 Trim Rd, Ottawa

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):
Latitude: 45.5048580
Longitude: -75.4906440