Welcome to the Crazy Horse Trail, created and operated by the Friends of the Carp Hills under an agreement with the City of Ottawa. You can find information about the trail on this page or go directly to specific sections using the links below.
CAUTIONS: Use the trail at your own risk. People have got lost. Download a map to your smart phone or print a map and take it with you. The trail is rugged and strenuous in places with many exposed rocks and wet areas. Hikers should be relatively fit and use appropriate footwear; i.e. hiking boots with good ankle support. There is poison ivy on some portions of the trail and ticks are present, particularly in the spring and fall.
We do our best to maintain the trail, but trees come down regularly, vegetation rapidly grows into the trail during the summer, and trail markers fall off. Contact us if you want to report an issue.
Trail Guides and Map
We have prepared a downloadable, two page Trail Guide (PDF) with a code of use, safety points, and a map of the Crazy Horse Trail. You are asked to observe the trail use guidelines and respect this natural area. Lichen and mosses on rock outcrops can take years to grow, so please stay on the trail: take only photos and leave only footprints or ski tracks.
We’ve also developed an Interpretive Guide (PDF) to the trail, which provides information about the natural history and ecology of the trail. Learn about what you are seeing as you traverse the Precambrian Shield terrain.
An Abridged Interpretive Guide (PDF) is also available for download.
The trail runs close to some private property boundaries. Please respect the property boundaries.
The trail is currently 6.2 km in length, which includes the loop around the beaver pond and return. It is accessed on the northwest side of March Road at the intersection with Huntmar. Parking is available on the wide shoulder by the trailhead. The first 760m is on a narrow strip of City-owned land that runs parallel to a rough and uneven road allowance shared with snowmobiles. Private property and houses run on the left and right sides. The trail overlaps with the road allowance at the end of this section; please respect the private property boundaries and let snowmobiles pass.
After the first 750m, the trail turns left (southwest) onto a 200 acre parcel owned by the City. The trail is currently marked with orange tree markers. Two new side loops have been added marked with yellow trail markers. Scenic lookouts are marked with blue markers. We’ve added a bridge across the channel on the loop around the beaver pond.
Dogs on the Trail – Be a Considerate and Responsible Owner
The Crazy Horse Trail lies on City of Ottawa land. Dogs are allowed on the trail. While they should be on leash, this can be difficult if not impossible when you’re snowshoeing or skiing. The usual common sense approach to dogs on public land apply: be a considerate and responsible dog owner.
- Your dog must be under control at all times.
- If your dog is off-leash it must be friendly to people and other dogs. Some people are afraid of dogs or don’t want to be jumped on by your dirty-pawed dog. If you see other people approaching, grab your dog and hold it until they pass. It’s the polite thing to do.
- Your dog must remain on or near the trail with you to protect the habitat.
- You must pick up and haul out the poop. It’s unsightly for other trail users and it washes into the wetlands. (See notes below.)
- Your dog must not chase wildlife.
For some people these guidelines mean that your dog must stay on leash.
There are many justifications used by dog owners for not picking up dog poop. But there are studies that show how dog poop has deleterious effects on wildlife and the environment:
- It’s not just your dog leaving its waste; it’s many dogs in a day doing so. This volume of waste with alien microbes from non-native animals is introduced into an ecosystem that is not set up to handle it.
- Dogs can transmit diseases such as Canine Distemper Virus to wildlife.
- Dog waste fouls the water.
- It’s unsightly and smelly for trail users.
- Your dog can get sick from eating other dogs’ poop or from lapping up fouled water.
For reference, we’ve loaded a two page summary of research on: Impacts of Dogs on Wildlife (PDF)
Why Did We Create the Trail?
One of the objectives stated in our Manifesto is to facilitate recreational enjoyment of the Carp Hills on City owned property near the village of Carp with the goal of diverting people from use of private land.
Under an agreement with the City of Ottawa, we have opened a narrow, backcountry trail for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers called the Crazy Horse Trail in honour of the old bar that used to stand adjacent to the trailhead.
Informal ski trails in the Carp Hills were created and used by backcountry skiers with little impact on the land. The Crazy Horse Trail maintains this tradition. We do not intend to groom or widen the trail, which would take away from the unique character and heritage of the Hills. We ask snowshoers and XC-skiers to share the trail with respect for each others’ tracks. Only a few sections are too narrow to allow side-by-side ski and snowshoe tracks.
Trail access in the spring and fall is currently very wet. With a grant from the City of Ottawa’s Rural Community Builder Grant Program, we have added about 36 metres of boardwalk parallel to the snowmobile trail to make the wet areas more traversable. We will continue to improve main trail markings. We would like to provide ecological interpretative information at special sites along the trail.
Trail maintenance and improvement depend on volunteers. We thank everyone who has donated their personal time to help with clearing and marking. If you’d like to help in the future, please contact us.