Make friends with your bike and discover a region made for cycling with an epic bike ride from the city streets of Ottawa to rural paradise in Lanark County. The Friendship Trail is a brand-new cycling route that leads cyclists from Ottawa via The Great Trail (a.k.a. The TransCanada Trail) to Carleton Place and then on the new Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) through the scenic communities of Almonte and Pakenham, before looping back to Ottawa.
This Mississippi-Ottawa River Loop is called the Friendship Trail because it ties together so many communities, and is one of the loops on the much larger Voyageur Route running from Ottawa to Sudbury. Offering a multi-day cycling adventure highlighting the many small town experiences in Lanark County, the Friendship Trail is perfect for families, couples, or solo riders, and is a choose-your own adventure where you can make the journey as long or as short as you wish.
Traversing a region of stunning natural beauty and historical charm of Lanark County, the trail offers the perfect environment to explore the region at a slower pace. Cyclists can plan their route to coincide with events and plan overnight accommodations in Almonte or Carleton Place at historic bed and breakfasts such as Carnivic Lodge in Pakenham, charming waterfront inns like Menzies House and Riverside Inn in Almonte, or rustic cabin at Cartwright Springs in Pakenham. Soon, Carleton Place will boast a new hotel under the Comfort Inn brand that will add an option for an indoor pool to your stay along the trail.
Cycle past rural scenes like neatly planted fields or frolicking lambs, or through quaint small towns begging to be photographed. As you travel, stop and explore the many tourist attractions the region has to offer. Stop and get a closer look at the engineering marvel of Pakenham’s Five-Span Stone Arch Bridge, take a break for lunch at a waterside restaurant, or visit a brewery (or three). Don’t forget your camera to capture the moment! #LanarkCounty
The cycling culture is strong in Lanark County: A smooth, flat trail ride from Ottawa, Lanark County is a prime destination for both recreational and competitive cyclists. Pastoral countryside, expansive forest, and the charming small towns that pepper the region make the route attractive for cyclists for all ages and abilities.
In 2016, Mississippi Mills became the first small community in Eastern Ontario to receive a Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Each June, Mississippi Mills hosts the annual Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month, where everything cycle-themed is celebrated, including the popular Tour de Mississippi Mills, a 100-kilometre cycling adventure.
Bicycles can be rented in Almonte at Almonte Old Town Hall, in Carleton Place at the Carleton Place Visitor & Information Centre, or in Perth from Heritage Bikes.