Length: 1 km loop
Time: 20-30 minutes
Located in Orleans, Ontario on the city owned Petrie Islands is the one kilometre Basswood Trail. There are two options for parking on this short hike... one free, one paid. The free parking is located just north off the cause-way near the Petrie Island sign while the paid parking is found at the end of the road towards the beach ($2.00 for five hours).
As always, I managed to get free parking so that is where I am starting the hike. The trail head is located at the south end of the lot near the canoe launch. The terrain is quite easy and could be wheelchair friendly with a little help. The biggest obstacle are the roots from the large birch and alders that line the path.
As you make you way along the trail you'll get some great views of the Ottawa River. During the warmer months these shores are lined with fishers looking to catch their next great story. It's also a great spot to take in the the fall colours that the National Capital Region has to offer.
For birders, Petrie Island is a home to many wetlands, forests and meadows that are home to over 100 different species of birds. If you have binoculars, there are a lot of opportunities to use them.
At the 700 metre mark of the hike you'll be approaching the paid parking spots. From here, the trail heads away from the water and into a flood plain forest and back towards the free parking.
Basswood Trail is the perfect spot for a quick lunch hour walk or an evening dog trot with lots of spots for the pooch to take a quick dip. In the summer months it's also home to one of Ottawa's busiest public beaches so why not spend the afternoon and enjoy a swim yourself.