Begin at the Hunt Club Community Centre off McCarthy Road. You will see a field with a baseball diamond, and the woods ahead.
Take the path on the third base side of the baseball diamond (west side) into the woods for 250 metres. At the intersection where there is a stack of fallen trees, turn left.

An alternate entrance is on McCarthy Road:


You will see an entrance into the woods on the west side of McCarthy Road, 100 meters  to the north of Plante Drive.

“Dutch Rush” grows in abundance here.

This is one of the most heavily wooded stretches of the path and can get quite dark depending on the time of day.

About 500 meters along, the path forks at a small boulder. Take the left fork. The path at this point gets a little smaller and twists more, so take heed if you are on a bike. 

The McCarthy Woods were evaluated by biologist Dan Brunton as "the largest, most natural example of mature maple forest in Ottawa."  He has other good things to say about it, including its having a high number of native plant species.  He also says it functions with the adjacent meadows and thickets to provide good habitat for hawks and owls.

In the core of the woods, the trees are large and the canopy high overhead. 

There are lots of wildflowers.  Toward the South and West edges, the woods give way to thickets of hawthorns and then meadows where field birds, such as Savannah Sparrows sing.  We heard a Brown Thrasher singing from a treetop, too -- unusual within the city limits.  Apart from the small planes taking off from the airport, the meadow is another oasis of quiet in the city.

The suddenness with which the pathway opens up into the wide expanse of meadow, makes it hard to believe that you are actually in the middle of the city. 

There is also a point where the Parliament Buildings can be seen in the distance.

Stay on the main path, heading west towards the buildings visible in the distance.

As you approach Riverside Drive you will hear cars and know this leg of the path is almost done.

At Riverside Drive there is an easy exit with a small dip when you should dismount your bike and stop with care. There is a decent pub and sushi restaurant across the road.

The walk ends here.