a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Nov, 2009

Exploring a bit of Barrhaven: the Nepean Quarry (aka the Barrhaven Quarry!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

Edited to add: Ottawa police are patrolling and ticketing at the Nepean Quarry. It is considered private property and I don’t recommend anyone go there.

After a good long stretch of yard work on Sunday we decided to explore a hitherto unknown (unknown to us anyway!) part of Barrhaven. I heard about an abandoned quarry so I wanted to check it out before all the leaves had fallen.

The trail was very easy, and quite pretty in parts:

Trail at Lytle Park to the Old Nepean Quarry in Barrhaven

… but it was noisy. (That’s what happens when you build a hiking trail alongside a highway!).

There were things to see and do along the way:

on the trail to the old Nepean Quarry in Barrhaven

off trail near the Nepean Quarry in Barrhaven

Sarah wields a cattail

Sending you wishes

blowing wishes

And this was the scene when we got there:

Nepean Quarry in Barrhaven

Nepean Quarry in Barrhaven


Not pictured:

  • The many dogs we met along the way, including a very cute fluffy white dog and a terrifying pitbull that raced across the length of a field to “greet” us. This seems to be where all the locals go to walk their dogs.
  • The garbage. Wow. Once we got to the quarry it was everywhere. I get that this is a teen hangout in the summertime (in fact Mark has been swimming here) but can’t they clean up after themselves?

The quarry itself was pretty, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a great destination unless you had a dog who loved the water.

It wasn’t until I did a bit of googling that I discovered that this quarry was called the Nepean Quarry and it was where sandstone blocks were mined, but not just any old sandstone. These became the principle building material in the construction of the parliament buildings.

Otherwise I couldn’t find a single other thing about the quarry. Weird. Maybe my google-fu is off?

To get to the Barrhaven Quarry (a.k.a. the Nepean Quarry):

  • Park your car at Lytle Park off Fallowfield Road
  • Cross the soccer field
  • Follow the path into the woods (it runs parallel to the highway) for about 1.5 (?) kilometers until you see a semi-destroyed/spraypainted no trespassing sign on your left
  • Follow that path to the quarry. The location is easy to find.

On the walk back to the car I fired up our iPhone geocaching app to see what kind of treasure hunting was nearby.

But more about that tomorrow.

24 Responses to "Exploring a bit of Barrhaven: the Nepean Quarry (aka the Barrhaven Quarry!)"

1 | Stefania (formerly The Veg Next Door)

November 2nd, 2009 at 9:04 am


Were those dogs off leash? Nothing like a dog off leash to ruin a perfect day in my books.

2 | andrea

November 2nd, 2009 at 9:09 am


Yes. Very much off leash. I usually don’t mind but seeing the pit bull racing towards us really freaked me out.

3 | andrea

November 2nd, 2009 at 9:15 am


p.s. interesting article here about how to react if you’re being attacked by a dog.

4 | Susan

November 2nd, 2009 at 10:47 am


Ah, the memories! I got a ticket at that quarry when I was 18 and went with a bunch of my friends. Seems odd that the police would ticket us for hanging out there when there’s a hiking trail? There was no drinking or other law breaking involved – the tickets were for trespassing.

5 | DaniGirl

November 2nd, 2009 at 11:48 am


“iPhone geocaching app”??? Three words that did more to make me covet an iPhone than any Apple advertising campaign could! (Alas, I barely use the features on my existing smart phone, I fear an iPhone would be wasted on me. And yet, i still covet one!)

6 | Loukia

November 2nd, 2009 at 12:04 pm


Your daughters are so beautiful, Andrea… and you’re a great photograher, too!

7 | Yoni

November 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 pm


Much closer way to go is to park at the playground on Cedarhill drive and then walk into the woods and basically walk at a 90 degree angle from the playground along the very beaten path and I’d say it’s about 300m in (stay to the left at the first path fork).

8 | Javamom

November 2nd, 2009 at 3:04 pm


Isn’t this a wonderful time of year to be outside? I love the cool, crisp and sunny weather. We are fortunate that we live in a neighbourhood with lots of mature trees, so whether we hit a park or walk to Kindergarten, it’s such a pleasure to experience the sights and smells of fall.

This post makes me think about our potential move to a town, away from this metropolitan city, probably as early as next spring. All that Canadian nature around is sure to entice us to walk and photograph much like you do!

Happy Fall Andrea.

9 | Sheila D

November 2nd, 2009 at 11:00 pm


From Yoni’s comment, I recognize where you walked. I used to go in that way several years ago, walking with a friend while my daughter took her piano lesson. We saw white tailed deer in there. Lovely.

10 | Exploring Barrhaven part 2: Geocaching near the Nepean Quarry >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 3rd, 2009 at 9:32 am


[…] the end of yesterday’s post I had just whipped out ye old iPhone and fired up the Geocaching […]

11 | Exploring Barrhaven part 3: The story behind Lytle Park >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 4th, 2009 at 1:08 pm


[…] my last posts we had been exploring the Nepean Quarry and had participated in a little bit of geocaching. My legs were killing me but the girls […]

12 | Where to get the best views of fall leaves in Ottawa ! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

September 29th, 2010 at 10:40 am


[…] The old Nepean Quarry would be a nice place for a fall walk. Mud Lake in the west end of the city would be pretty […]

13 | Chelmacs

August 16th, 2011 at 10:31 pm


Do you have gps coordinates for the quarry we’ve been trying to figure out how to get there for awhile, we are fellow geocachers, we have found most of them in the surrounding area but never found the quarry?

14 | andrea

August 17th, 2011 at 11:34 am


If you park at the lot there you need to cross the park and follow a little trail. The quarry is off trail, and not clearly marked, but it’s not actually that far from the parking lot. I recommend you have a look at Google maps – a good bird’s eye view will let you know where you’re going wrong.

Good luck!

15 | andrea

August 17th, 2011 at 11:39 am


I just checked. You can definitely see it on a Google Map. Search for (and park at) Lytle Park, Nepean.

Try this link.

17 | Jeff

September 7th, 2013 at 5:02 pm


A few things to note. There’s no parking anywhere near the park on Cedarhill, the quarry is private property, and due to the public drunkeness and disrespect of local residents by the tresspassers, the police are now regularly patrolling and ticketing.

18 | Allison

July 22nd, 2014 at 12:20 am


I found out about this quarry from some friends. Another friend and I are planning on going there tomorrow (July 23rd) as it’s gonna be really, REALLY hot. I just spent the time googling and found that it’s actually quicker to walk from cedarhill drive!

19 | Cat

May 5th, 2015 at 9:21 am


I have just started taking my dog there for a walk. I heard from a passer by that a house construction company has recently purchased that land. This makes me scared. I have no doubt that in time the quarry will be fill and all that land will be houses.

Im looking to protect against this from happening. Does anyone have any additional information about this location to help me with my case, in protecting the land?

20 | andrea tomkins

May 5th, 2015 at 9:33 am


Hi Cat!
I don’t have any additional information, sorry. I suggest you contact the City of Ottawa for more information. Or maybe the Councillor for that area could help shed some light on any potential development. Good luck!

21 | John Smith

June 8th, 2015 at 10:03 am


No one is welcome at the quarry. It is privately owned and no trespassing signs have been erected.

Police patrol the quarry regularly and ticket / remove trespassers on behalf of the property owner.

A good fyi.

22 | Jenna Stone

July 21st, 2015 at 11:36 pm


Is the water in the quarry lake water?

23 | John Smith

August 11th, 2015 at 9:35 am


Another person has died by drowning at this quarry, which is completely off limits to anyone at all times.


24 | Jarrett

August 28th, 2015 at 11:29 pm


And six years later the net nannies come out

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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