The Macnamara Nature Trail provides a window into the natural world of the Ottawa Valley. Located in the southeast corner of the City of Arnprior, its boardwalks, viewing platform and benches let visitors explore this unique environment without disturbing its wild character.
The Trail includes two loops, the Main Trail (4 km), the Nopiming Loop (1.2 km), and three optional spur trails. The longest spur trail (500 m) leads to a rocky point overlooking Goodwins Bay where the Macnamara marsh meets the Ottawa River.
The Macnamara Nature Trail was “re-discovered” nearly a century ago by Charles Macnamara when he found a beaver lodge and lobbied the Ontario government to declare the area a game sanctuary.
Among the many plants found along the trail is the Showy Lady’s-slipper, a spectacular orchid with one petal enlarged to serve as a landing platform for insects. The pink to red pouch, open at the top, is designed to attract pollinators. It blooms between late June and mid-July.
As you walk the trail you will see many other wildflowers including the blue vervain, Joe-pye weed, swamp milkweed, jewelweed, boneset and blue cohosh. There is also a diverse set of trees and shrubs – bitternut hickory trees, striped maples, hobblebush shrubs, leatherwood, and multitude mosses and fungi. There are a dozen different fern species along the trail including the Walking Ferns clinging to rocks, visible from the Walking Fern Staircase.
The Macnamara Trail Guide, (Interactive pdf), provides provides details of the flora, fauna, geology and human history of the Trail.
Along the trail you will find exposed marble outcrops. The ruin of an old lime kiln tells the story of local settlers who used fire to transform this marble into lime.
The Macnamara Nature Trail is on private property, and is made available by its owner, Nylene Canada Incorporated, for the protection, study, and enjoyment of nature, through an agreement with the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club. The Trail is managed by the Club with the help of club members and community volunteers. Activities such as hunting, camping, harvesting wild plants, using motorized vehicles or bicycles are prohibited. So is wandering off the Trail. Dogs are not permitted on the Macnamara Nature Trail. Respecting these rules is critical to protecting this natural environment. Anyone who breaks these rules will be asked to leave and could be charged with trespassing.
The Macnamara Nature Trail is on private property, made available for the protection, study, and enjoyment of nature by its owner, Nylene Canada Inc., and managed by the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club. Activities not consistent with this purpose are not permitted on the trail or in the Nopiming Crown Game Preserve. These activities include hunting, logging, harvesting wild plants, ATVs, snowmobiles, mountain bikes, and bringing dogs onto the trail. Dogs are not permitted on the Macnamara Nature Trail. Accordingly, anyone found not respecting the rules including bringing dogs to the trail will be asked to leave. If they refuse to do so, or if they are repeat offenders, they may be charged with trespassing as the Macnamara Nature Trail is private property
How to Get There
The Macnamara Nature Trail is accessed from McNab Street off Madawaska Boulevard. The Macnamara Trail parking lot is on the right, past the entrance to the Nylene Canada plant
Download a pdf of our interactive Macnamara Nature Trail Guide with links to numbered stops. This guide does not include the Nopiming Loop, which was added in 2019. We are working on an update.
Macnamara Trail Map 210520
Macnamara Trail map showing the Nopiming Loop trail extension.