For the most part, I've tended to focus on the Stony Swamp section of the NCC greenbelt trails. I like them because they are very close to my house and I can sneak out for a nice 5-6K loop after work or if I don't have time to do a longer run. There are three trails that I typically run:
1) Jack Pine Trail: You can park at P11 off West Hunt Club or P9 off of Moodie. There are a number of trails in this section, but they are all sort of contained within a loop of around 6K. The trail is pretty flat, with some very gentle rolling sections. You'll see a variety of terrain in this spot. There are spots underneath tree cover as well as lots of open sections, including one alongside a nice marsh in the Spring/Summer (it dries up by the fall). The trail is mainly dirt, but there are also sections where you are running on flat rock and there are a couple of nice bridges as well (the pic in my avatar is from there). The less exposed sections are typical greenbelt trail with exposed rock and tree roots. It's not overly technical, but there are enough obstructions that you still have to pay attention to where you are and you have to watch your footing. I really like this trail because of the varying scenery within the same short run.
2) Old Quarry Trail: For this one you park at P6 off of Eagleson Road, right across from the Hazeldean Mall. This is another loop between 5-6K, but I'd say the terrain is more consistent than the Jack Pine Trail. There is one section where you run on a boardwalk alongside a marsh and at times in the summer it can be deafening from all of the frogs calling. That's pretty neat actually. The trail winds it's way through the forest and you'll also have a section on a gravel access road. This trail is nice in the summer because with the exception of the access road, it's very shaded and you can escape the sun. At dusk this can be a double edged sword though, as it can make it tough to pick up the roots and subtle changes in the trail. Like the Jack Pine Trail, it's not overly technical, but there are definitely sections that can put you on the ground if you aren't careful. Been there and done that, LOL. One highlight of this trail is the wildlife. I'd venture a guess that I see deer 65% of the time I run this trail (they are often within 30 feet of you) and I've also seen garter snakes, porcupines and wild turkey's. It doesn't feel quite as isolated as Jack Pine, but it's still a very nice trail to run.
3) Trail 24: This one you can access via Richmond Road at P6. I don't know if this trail has an actual name to be honest! Anyway, this is a shorter trail than the other two, but it is also the most difficult of the three from a terrain point of view, at least on the trail section. The trail section is narrower, it winds allot and there are buckets of rocks and side hills to tangle you up. It's also very scenic though and there are parts of the trail that just sort of pull you through the forest in a meandering way. I usually find this one too short to run on it's own (it's only 3-4K if memory serves me correctly), but it does let you connect up to the Old Quarry Trail via a larger access road/trail. If you do them both, then you are looking at a roughly 10K loop, which makes for a nice run.
As with most of the greenbelt trails, you could access all these sections as one continuos journey if you wanted to. You would have to go into other greenbelt sections that I haven't ventured into yet, but the connections are there and you just have to cross the odd road to do it. I suspect you could easily do a really nice 20K loop in the West End if you wanted to. Along with more time in the March Highlands (that's a REALLY NICE area) and Gatineau Park, I think I should put that on the to do list for 2013.
This is a great thread!!!!