Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: The Lime Kiln Trail

by DaniGirl on October 28, 2009 · 8 comments

in Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

I think I’ve discovered the most beautiful place in the entire city of Ottawa to have as a setting for a family portrait! On the weekend, the big boys and I, together with my cousin and his son, took a hike that I’ve been meaning to check out for years, the Lime Kiln Trail off Moodie Drive.

May I please take a moment to say how grateful I am to live in a city that offers such an extensive and impressive and — best of all, FREE! — well-tended hiking trails? I love Ottawa, and what the hell, I love the National Capital Commission, too!

The Lime Kiln Trail is part of the Stony Swamp conservation area in the west end of the Greenbelt. We’ve hiked the Jack Pine Trail with Simon’s preschool (another lovely walk that I’ve been meaning to revisit) and I’ve always wanted to check out the ruins of the old Lime Kiln on the other side of Moodie Drive.

It’s a super-easy hike. In fact, we kept walking right past the ruins, wondering if the trail would loop back, and only turned back after another half hour when the trail got too swampy. It’s so unbelievably gorgeous right now, but I imagine it’s a great hike in just about any season.

The ruins themselves are quite cool. According to the interpretation panels, the Lime Kiln was built in the 1880s but was abandoned and only rediscovered in the 1970s. In 1999, it was somewhat restored. Now, it comprises mostly the stone foundation walls, making for a very exciting discovery for young explorers, tucked deep into the forest and far from the road. (Well, not too far. I think the ruins themselves, comprising a couple of separate buildings, are about a kilometre from the P10 parking lot off Moodie Drive.)


277b:365 Lime Kiln Hike

We completely forgot to bring birdseed for the chickadees, but that didn’t deter them. I swear, these are by far the friendliest, bravest wild birds we’ve ever encountered. We’ve stood for ages on Hogsback with hands outstretched and palms filled with birdseed, and still had no chickadees brave enough to land. Maybe they’re stocking up in anticipation of a long winter, or maybe they’re just more used to being hand fed along the Lime Kiln Trail, but we only had to hold up a hand and be still for a moment and we had birds practically pushing each other out of the way to land on our — and on the kids’ — fingertips.

277:365 My little chickadee

If you go: the P10 parking lot closest to the Lime Kiln Trail is on the west side of Moodie Drive, in between Fallowfield and Hunt Club. It’s about a 20 minute walk to the ruins along a very well marked trail. Follow the blue triangles!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Guillermo October 28, 2009 at 7:49 am

Just 5 minutes from home! No excuses… got to go!

Thanks for the tip….

2 _Don October 28, 2009 at 8:43 am

This is a great spot. I’ve been there a few times. Its only a five minute drive from the office in Bells Corners. Great for a lunchtime visit.

Continue down Moodie, hang a left onto Hunt Club, and a right. There is another smaller area there with a boardwalk onto the swamp. And it loops. Not quite as long, but good for seeing Chickadees and Blue Jays.

3 andrea from the fishbowl October 28, 2009 at 8:51 am

It is a great spot. I wrote a piece for SavvyMom about it last year, or was it the year before? We love it too!

4 colleen October 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

I love Ottawa.

5 Karen Hooper October 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for sharing. RT @DaniGirl: An excellent family adventure! #Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: The Lime Kiln Trail

6 Laura October 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm

I have heard about this from other parents but after reading your post and seeing the gorgeous photos – we are going to check it out. I had no idea it was so close to home. Thank you.

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