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The following questions and answers are the most common queries we receive from hikers interested in following the Rideau Trail. If you do not see an answer that helps you, please email us and we will do our best to respond.

Comment long est le sentier Rideau et combien de temps prend-il pour le marcher d’un bout à l’autre?

La distance du sentier Rideau, sans inclure les boucles secondaires, est d'environ 327 kilomètres (203 miles) de Kingston à Ottawa avec un dénivelé de seulement environ 600m (2000 pieds). La plupart des randonneurs complètent la distance en sections, mais il est possible de parcourir toute la distance en environ 9 à 16 jours. Notre site Web est rempli de ressources qui vous aideront à planifier votre randonnée.

What are the activities in the RTA?

For a full list of the activities, please consult the RTA’s printed newsletter, monthly e-letter or the local clubs section of our website. Most activities organized by the Rideau Trail Association are weekend outings appropriate for the season such as day hikes, bike rides or afternoon paddles. In the winter, outings can include cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Some years, a series of hikes may be scheduled with the purpose of completing an end-to-end hike of the entire Rideau Trail from Kingston to Ottawa. Members who succeed in completing this distance are awarded a badge and certificate. Sometimes an End-to-End may occur during the winter months. Other outings include trail maintenance outings where the emphasis is on work and occasionally a barbeque, skating party or potluck supper. At all times, the emphasis is having a socially enjoyable time.

When are hikes held?

Most hikes in the RTA are held on weekends, but there are other outings during the week in some clubs, usually on Tuesdays evenings and Wednesday mornings. Refer to current outing pages for each club.

Do I have to be a member of the RTA to hike on the trail?

No. Non-members may hike on the Rideau Trail. It is strongly suggested that hikers do not travel alone and that before getting on to the Rideau Trail, a copy of the trail maps is obtained. Maps may be ordered from the RTA or map be self-printed. The trail is marked with orange triangular markers that point the way from Kingston to Ottawa. If hiking towards the southern end (Kingston) these markers display a yellow tip. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and bring sufficient food and water for the day. If you enjoyed your hike on the Rideau Trail, you are encouraged to become a member.

What is the age range of participants at RTA outings?

Ages vary from 20s to 70s. Before joining an RTA outing, you are encouraged to ensure that you meet the personal fitness requirements and find an outing with an appropriate difficultly level. The RTA occasionally hosts family-friendly hikes that are appropriate for children with limited hiking experience. Be sure to check our club schedules to find one in your area!

How can I join the RTA?

You can easily join the Rideau Trail Association by registering online. Memberships may also be taken out at the annual Association or Club meetings. Member benefits include a subscription to our quarterly newsletter, exclusive members-only emails, discounts at select outdoor equipment stores, voting rights at our AGM and more. Prospective members may choose to go along on a few of our outings organized by our local clubs or experience the Rideau Trail on their own before joining, to see what the RTA is all about.

How can I tell if my membership is still valid?

Members who receive copies of the quarterly Rideau Trail Newsletter by mail can check the mailing label on the back page which includes the expiry date for their last-paid membership. Members may buy a yearly membership, which covers from April 1 to March 31 of the following year or a two-year membership.

Where can I get a map of the Rideau Trail?

PDF and KML versions are available on our website. From time to time, re-routing of the trail becomes necessary and our Trail Alerts page should be regularly consulted.

Where can I camp on the Rideau Trail?

For full information on camping and roofed accommodations on the Rideau Trail, please visit our Overnight Accommodations page which includes info on campsites, B&Bs & more.

May I travel the Rideau Trail on my bicycle?

Yes and no. For a variety of reasons ranging from carefully negotiated agreements with public and private landowners, public safety and trail conservation, most of the trail is only suited for travel by foot. However, portions of it do allow for bicycles. For example, the sections along the Trans-Canada Trail, Cataraqui Trail, the K&P Trail and the Ottawa River Pathway are suitable areas. Likewise, wherever public roadways form part of the trail, cycling is permitted, but in general only pedestrians may use the Rideau Trail. Want more info? Check out our blog post all about cycling from Kingston to Ottawa!

Where can I take my ATV or dirtbike on the Rideau Trail?

The Rideau Trail is only intended for travelling by foot. This is because where our trail crosses private land, we are granted access for foot traffic only. Abuse of this agreement can result in the landowner's withdrawing their permission to use their property for hiking. There are a few all-purpose trails in eastern Ontario, where ATVs, snowmobiles & dirtbikes may be used. Parts of the Trans Canada Trail is all-purpose, but the Rideau Trail is for hiking alone.

When is the hunting season along the Rideau Trail?

The hunting season in Ontario depends on several factors including: the area, the type of game, and even the type of hunting equipment used. Generally, the hunting season along the Rideau Trail includes a good part of the fall and a good part of the winter. Please see the Ministry of Natural Resources website or call 1-800-667-1940 for details. It's a good idea to wear hunter orange clothing if you are hiking where and when hunting may be permitted. Any of the RTA-organized hikes held at this time of year will take hunting access in mind when choosing a venue.

12. Comment puis-je planifier une randonnée d’un bout à l’autre du Rideau Trail?

La randonnée d’un bout à l’autre requiert beaucoup de planification pour une personne seule. D’abord, il faut obtenir une copie des cartes du Rideau Trail pour connaître le degré de difficulté du terrain pour chaque segment du sentier et la distance qu’on peut raisonnablement parcourir chaque jour. Les parties les plus stimulantes (et les plus intéressantes sur le plan visuel) du Rideau Trail sont la moitié sud allant de Kingston à Perth et à Smiths Falls.

Les possibilités de camper le long du sentier lorsqu’on veut faire une randonnée d’un bout à l’autre sont limitées. Donc, certains randonneurs optent pour l’hébergement dans un gîte près du sentier. Pour des informations complètes sur le camping et les établissements d'hébergement sur le Rideau Trail, veuillez consulter notre page d'hébergement pour la nuit qui inlcus des infos sur les campings, les gîtes et encore plus.

Il faut être en mesure de faire face aux particularités saisonnières sur les sentiers. Exemple : apporter des vêtements de protection contre la pluie et un produit insectifuge en été, et porter un pantalon pour traverser les zones broussailleuses. Certaines personnes préfèrent la randonnée seulement par temps frais, afin d’éviter la chaleur et les insectes en été et les zones mouillées au début du printemps. Il faut apporter suffisamment de nourriture et d’eau, et parfois du matériel de camping.

La randonnée d’un bout à l’autre sur des segments du Rideau Trail pose un sérieux problème. Il faut prévoir le transport au point de départ et le retour. Ainsi il faut habituellement être accompagné d’un ami qui peut laisser son véhicule au lieu où se terminera l’itinéraire, pour pouvoir revenir au point de départ à la fin de la journée.

Nombreux sont les randonneurs qui mettent plusieurs mois ou plusieurs années pour faire le sentier d’un bout à l’autre. Ils le font par segments, selon le temps dont ils disposent. Une autre option est celle de participer à diverses randonnées organisées par la RTA, qui sont annoncées dans notre bulletin trimestriel. Cela résout la question du transport car, à partir du lieu de rencontre de l’un ou l’autre des trois clubs, on peut organiser (prévoir des frais) un système de navette pour les randonneurs qui n’ont pas de véhicule et ceux qui ne souhaitent pas conduire. À la longue, de telles randonnées effectuées par segments peuvent couvrir une grande partie du Rideau Trail, et les parties restantes des sentiers peuvent être parcourues à d’autres moments. Certaines années, on organise une série de randonnées spécialement dans le but de couvrir tout un sentier au cours de weekends désignés.

Les randonneurs membres de la RTA qui parcourent des sentiers d’un bout à l’autre peuvent demander la reconnaissance officielle de leur exploit. Chaque année en juin, les certificats sont remis à l’assemblée générale annuelle de la RTA. Pour en savoir plus sur la reconnaissance du parcours de sentiers d’un bout à l’autre, lire notre page Insignes.

Can I bring my dog or other pet to an RTA-organized outing?

No. Dogs or other pets, with the exception of certified guide dogs accompanying a visually impaired participant, are not allowed at RTA events due to problems with park regulations, wildlife, landowners, and also other participants during the event or during transportation to and from the event.

Can I bring my dog or other pet on the Rideau Trail?

On-leash pets are permitted only on certain sections of the Rideau Trail. As a general rule, these are limited to sections on public land (i.e. municipal trails, provincial parks & Rideau Canal locks). Completing an end-to-end with a pet is not possible. The Rideau Trail crosses through many private properties where the RTA has negotiated access for hikers only as dogs or other pets may upset or agitate farm animals and wildlife. We thank hikers for respecting this rule as hiking through private land with an animal (even well-behaved and on-leash) can result in a landowner withdrawing permission for RTA hikers to access their property, requiring a great deal of effort by RTA volunteers to re-route the trail.

15. Puis-je emmener mon chien ou un autre animal au parc de la Gatineau ou dans la ceinture de verdure (terrain de la CCN) pour une randonnée en dehors du réseau de la RTA?

Oui, dans bien des cas. La CCN fournit des renseignements sur les animaux de compagnie dans sa liste de questions sur la réglementation concernant les animaux.

How can I reach the National Capital Commission (NCC) which administers Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt?

Contact information for the NCC is on their website. It’s a good idea to bring along the NCC 24 hour emergency number (613-239-5353) if you will be entering Gatineau Park or the Greenbelt. This is true even if you don’t carry a cell phone since you may be with, or encounter someone who does.

Kingston

Central

Ottawa