a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Apr, 2022

Sheila McKee Nature Trail

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

I’M BACK AGAIN. This is the most I’ve blogged in awhile, eh? I also have two other posts on the back burner so stay tuned for those. 

I’ve had the AllTrails app downloaded on my iPhone for a while now. We were using it here and there but I’ve decided that we need to explore our local trails more often so the app has moved up in priority. We tend to gravitate to the same woodland rambles (Jack Pine Trail, Lime Kiln et al.) but there are many more we need to hit up!

Enter: Sheila McKee Nature Trail.

I actually had this one bookmarked already. I tend to do this when I hear about a pretty trail in the Ottawa area but then I promptly forget about it. So when Mark suggested we go for a walk in the woods “to that trail with the little waterfall” something tweaked in my memory.

Sheila McKee Nature Trail is a 25-minute drive from where we are, past the Marshes golf course and through Kanata North to Dunrobin. We spied turkey vultures and raptors and lots of geese hunkered down in flooded fields. It is a pretty drive.

Be warned, however, that if you ask your GPS to direct you to Sheila McKee Nature Trail you may actually end up at Sheila McKee Park. This is not where the trail starts. You need to drive a minute or two further down the road. The trail has its own little parking lot. Look for the brown sign… although AllTrails will show you where you are in relation to the trail, so there’s that option as well.

The waterfalls at Sheila McKee, as far as I can tell, are created by streams of water dripping from the side of the small escarpment that runs along the waterfront (sorry, I don’t have the geographical/topographical lingo here). It must depend on the season but it seems the falls are just a very steady drip that freezes dramatically in the winter months, as opposed to a cascade of water one would normally associate with waterFALLS, hence the term. ;)  I would love to know for sure so if you’ve witnessed cascading water, I hope you let me know.

This is the path down to the Ottawa River:

Sheila McKee Nature Trail

… and then there are stairs. (Apparently these are deadly in the winter.)

Sheila McKee Nature Trail

Sheila McKee Nature Trail

What no one seems to have mentioned in any post that I’ve read about Sheila McKee Nature Trail is the incredible number of skipping stones on the shore. There were countless flat rocks… everywhere. I have never seen so many. When I exclaimed about it, Mark dryly suggested they’ve had a few thousand years to get that way. (THANK YOU MARK, for pointing out EROSION.) :D

We have decided that the next time we come it will be in the summer with a picnic lunch and a flask of something cold and delicious.

Skipping stones! At Sheila McKee Nature Trail

Skipping stones! At Sheila McKee Nature Trail

Sheila McKee Nature Trail

At just over 2K it’s not a long trail, but sometimes that’s all ya need. I also appreciated the fact that it is dog-friendly.

I do recommend it! If you’re not convinced, here are a couple other posts about Sheila McKee Nature Trail.

Related to this: I am very keen to start a summer collection of mushroom and fungi photos with the help of my Seek app. I have yet to find a better freebie app that can ID area plant life. Let me know if you know of a better one! I wonder how many mushrooms I can find this year? (I hope 50+. That’s my goal.)

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7 Responses to "Sheila McKee Nature Trail"

1 | Sally Dowe Marchand

April 18th, 2022 at 5:12 pm


Looks like a nice little ramble. Thanks for the recommendation.

2 | Forsythia

April 18th, 2022 at 5:21 pm


No photo of the falls? ?

Water level is so high! Much more beach in summer / fall.

3 | Vanessa

April 18th, 2022 at 5:42 pm


I hadn’t heard of this trail before! I’m eager to explore it soon.

4 | Stacey K

April 19th, 2022 at 3:30 pm


Our family uses Google Lens for IDing plants. You open the app, take a picture, then the app does a google search for you using that image.

you need internet connection to use it (but you can use photos that you took at a different time)
I would NOT use it for positively identifying edible mushrooms
Because it is a Google search, results can vary depending on the image (shadows, colours, etc).

I find it handy, and you can use it for everything, not just plants.

5 | andrea tomkins

April 24th, 2022 at 1:25 pm


Hmmm. I will try it!

6 | Jenn Hagen

April 19th, 2022 at 7:13 pm


I like the PlantNet app for ID purposes – there is a Cdn version. Gives habitat info and uses your photos to help ID. I’ve not checked if it does ?

7 | andrea tomkins

April 24th, 2022 at 1:25 pm


Good to know! Thanks Jenn!

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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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