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  1. It had been 3 years since we last explored these trails. With another hot and summery day upon us, it was time to stay cool by hitting the trails during the heat wave. It's truly amazing how nature and the trees can help regulate the heat. You really do not feel as hot when under the tree canopy. Arriving shortly after 11am (as the Gatineau Parkway roads are closed till 11 for the Sunday Bikedays), we parked at the lot by the Waterfall Trail. A short little slope down and to the left we find the tunnel, which passes under the parkway. After emerging on the other side, a fairly short hike brings us right to the Bridal Veil Falls. Heading back up and now to to the Lauriault Trail, the long trek begins. The terrain is relatively easy to cross, although there are some mild to hills along the way to go up and over. Eventually you arrive at a clearing and lookout point, perfect to see the surrounding region from up above. Heading back into the forest, the path takes us up one more hill and then back down some stairs into the Lauriault Parking lot. Here the trail gets a bit tricky if you aren't familiar with it (as it isn't marked where to go next). In actuality, you need to immediately cross the parkway road to the other side and the path resumes there. If you do not cross, you will find other paths that arrive at a small lake and picnic areas, very pretty, but with no real exit as they just loop back into the parking. After crossing the road, the trail continues, following the direction of the signpost towards the Waterfall Trail and Parking. This final stretch of the trail is relatively easy, with just a few hills, and before you know it (well it was longer than that), you arrive near the tunnel and the parking once again. A great trail to discover with a few sights to see along the way. Happy hiking! Here are some more photos from this hike.
  2. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wanting to change things up a bit from our usual weekend routine of kayaking or hiking, we decided to go cycling. As we live in the Plateau sector of Gatineau, it is unbelievably easy to bike in minutes to Gatineau Park. Entering Gatineau Park from the pathway entrance just across from Tim Horton's on St. Raymond, we headed towards the Pioneers trail and the Gatineau Park Welcome Centre, located at P3. From here, heading East we continued on Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau, which runs near the road and has some short hills and plenty of turns and curves through the trees. A quick right turn at an intersection and we are brought down another path that travels underneath Boulevard des Allumetieres to cross to the other side. From here, the trail eventually rejoins and follows along closely to Allumetieres until you exit on St. Raymond. A little detour through a residential area and we are back on the path, this time the Pioneers Pathway. Featuring a few hills and a wooden bridge over a creek, this trail passes through a relatively dense forest area, where the sun interacting with the tree leaves produced beautiful light rays to pass through. Finally, the trail reaches one more intersection that leads us to the pedestrian overpass over Allumetieres, and towards home in the Plateau... and more bike trails through nature. I can't stress it enough, Gatineau Park is a jewel, and a paradise in nature. Whether it is to hike, walk, kayak, cycle or anything else, the scenery is beautiful and stunning and the park is immaculate. You never leave for home disappointed so come on out, discover your paradise and enjoy! Here are some pictures of our experiences out on the cycling trails. This trip was a loop that we did and was about 10km in distance, but at several points, there are plenty of options to stretch it even further and head off into new directions. Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau Pioneers Trail Heading up to the pedestrian overpass to cross over Allumetieres. The view from this angle on the bridge looks like something you'd see in Montreal or Laval... are we still in Gatineau? Heading onto the Sentier des Fées in the Plateau.
  3. A perfect day out on the lake. Lac La Peche, located about 20 minutes West of Wakefield, is the largest lake in Gatineau Park. It is also possibly the most peaceful and relaxing to kayak. The beach is expansive, with plenty of room, making it easy to launch your kayak, canoe or small boat. Today, the wind was fairly strong, which had the effect of creating strong enough waves to push you around in the water. Luckily shortly after lunch the winds died down and it was much more enjoyable. This visit we decided to head to the left after setting off from the beach. We reached a small shore, perfect to get out at and stretch. There are several points across the lake that look nice to visit, from the twin rocks that are popular for people to fish or jump in the water, to the sandy shorelines across to the other side. Just like Lac Philippe, you are able to rent kayaks and canoes at the lake, so if you want to experience it but don't have your own, the opportunity is there. Overall, the perfect setting to stay cool in the summer. The beach is quite large, the lake is definitely inviting and the blue and green panoramic landscape is relaxing to take in. The only downside of this lake, whether coming to enjoy the beach or the water, is the gravel road that lasts about 8km, and takes 15-20 minutes to drive to reach the parking and the beach. While I understand that not every road can be paved, when they charge $12 vehicle access fee to reach the lake, it's not excusable. The dust flying as cars drive the road and though the parking is a bit much, and you are sure to have the rear of your car covered in dust by the time you arrive. Hopefully one day the NCC does the right thing and use the access money collected to pave the road. Here are some pictures from our time out on the lake. The twin rocks. Heading to the shore to stretch. Enjoy!
  4. The Pink Lake trail is definitely an emerald jewel in the Gatineau Park. From its sparkling green water to the many lookout and observation points, this trail has it all. Easily accessible from the Gatineau Parkway, you are able to park at either the Pink Lake lookout or the Pink Lake trail parking lots. From here, the fun starts, and as the trail is a loop that circles the entire lake along its border, you have the choice to go clockwise or counter-clockwise. We chose the former for this visit. Exploring in this direction takes you to the best lookout points right from the start. Pink Lake is very unique. Due to its sheltered location, provided by the surrounding trees and hills, the water is protected from most of the wind. This has the result of greatly limiting the movement of the water, and in fact, the water below 15m depth is void of any oxygen, a phenomenon that started over 10,000 years ago. The water receives its characteristic green hue due to the high algae content. The following interpretation boards, posted along the trail help explain this unique geological location. Needless to say, it's quite the sight to see and experience. As the lake is a sensitive area, visitors are asked to stay on the trails (which are very easy to follow), to help the regeneration process essential to the continued survival of the lake. Walking the trail, you will come across plenty of lookout points, lots of stairs and sloping terrain, and plenty of benches to sit down and admire nature. The trail is more intermediate due to the climbs and stairs, but not as challenging as the King Mountain trail. Overall, the Pink Lake trail is without a doubt among the top three trails of the park. The water, the scenery, the surrounding forests all combine to create a standout experience through nature. Here are some photos from our visit to Pink Lake. Happy trails.
  5. Finally the heat wave is over, and we can once again enjoy nature and the outdoors without working up a terrible sweat. Heading out around 10am, we forgot that it was Sunday Bike Day, meaning the parkways in Gatineau Park are closed to vehicle traffic. Our original destination would have been the Pink Lake trail, but not currently being accessible by car, we decided to go to the Discovery Trail instead, located along Meech Lake. This trail can be accessed from the O'Brien's Beach parking lot (just minutes past Camp Fortune). This trail starts off with some long hilly, but smooth terrain, before arriving at a small bridge crossing a stream off of Meech Lake. You can also catch a glimpse of the Lake and Kayakers in the distance... that was us just a few weeks earlier. Continuing on, you will arrive at a signpost, at which you can head left and visit the Carbide Willson Ruins (see last year's report here: https://www.slopeedge.net/forum/topic/862-gatineau-park-carbide-willson-ruins/). Overall, this is a relatively easy trail to enjoy. There are some climbs to do, but the terrain is all smooth and well maintained. The nature is stunning and the alternative views of Meech Lake by the small bridge are worth the visit. More photos of the visit: Happy trails.
  6. With the surprise arrival of warm summer like weather (finally...), the choice was simple, it was a perfect day to break out the kayaks. Living only minutes from Gatineau Park, after a quick loading of the car, we were off to Meech Lake. Last year we parked at the P11 - O'Brien Beach lot. While it may be good for swimming, it was not the most ideal location to launch kayaks from as the beach is a bit small, and the fairly lengthy, narrow and hilly path to get from the parking to the water made transporting the kayaks very difficult, even with wheels underneath. This time, we made the decision to park at the P12 lot, located approximately in the middle of the lake, and between both beaches. This lot has a small launch point, with the parking directly across from it. No hassle or pain this time thankfully. Pushing off, we aimed our paddles for the far end of the lake. Passing plenty of spectacular scenery and picturesque vistas, we arrived near a marsh area where we found an artificial construction by the local beaver population. Just an absolutely stunning place to kayak and enjoy nature. You can't help but fall in love with Gatineau Park. Perfect day, perfect weather, and perfect blue bird skies. Couldn't ask for more. As before, I highly recommend Meech Lake for a kayaking or canoeing location, and for an easier time, definitely park at the P12 lot, it will make the experience much smoother to get your boat to the water. Enjoy!
  7. This visit was to Lac La Peche, known as the largest lake in all of Gatineau Park. If you find Lac Philippe or Meech large, this lake is almost double the size. Upon arriving, the sandy beech is expansive and stretches across a large portion of the water. There is a fee that must be paid along the access road, however at this time of the year, and due to the beach being officially closed, access is free. For those arriving without their own kayak or canoe, rentals are available, in the same way as they are at Lac Philippe. The late summer's sun creates a vast landscape, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. The entry point into the water is located approximately in the middle of the lake, so you are perfectly positioned to start exploring in either direction. I am not sure why but the sand along on the beach was brighter and softer than most of the other beaches in the region we have visited. Perhaps it is due to the slightly more remote location that it has remained relatively untouched compared to the other closer beaches. So if you like going to places where the sand shines, this may be your place! The water is calm and quiet. The beach season is officially over yet that doesn't stop people from coming out to enjoy the lake and nature. Heading off in the direction of the opposite shore line. You couldn't ask for better weather and a more perfect location to kayak. A beautiful day out in the water, with warmer than seasonal weather at this time of year. We may find ourselves kayaking into end of October without issue at this rate. However, the end is coming and so it is important to enjoy every opportunity from this point onward. For those first timers coming up to the lake, the last 15 minutes of the drive is on a gravel road, so a kind suggestion of covering your kayak's cockpit is recommended to avoid dust from entering. Happy kayaking!
  8. A beautiful clear Saturday afternoon called for a visit to Gatineau Park to do some hiking. The park is famous for its endless trails and the multitude of choices of where to go and how to get there. This trip was to visit the Carbide Willson Ruins. Located to the North of Meech lake, the ruins can be found after the 3km hike. The trail is not very challenging to get to the ruins, however, there is a long hill halfway there. Surprisingly, the trail is quite popular and well traveled. Definitely, one of the more popular locations to visit. Starting from the P11 parking lot by Meech lake, the trail heads up the hill to the North. The forest canopy providing plenty of cover and shade as you make the trip. Eventually, you reach a long downhill section, which culminates with a bridge over the lake. Looking South from here you can see Meech lake and the cottages that flank the shoreline. Continuing along the path, you will eventually reach a directional sign post. Oddly enough, to get to the Ruins, you need to head in the Un-Marked direction (in other words, to the Right). Very shortly after, you will arrive at the Ruins. With waterfalls and cascading streams, the building is something out of a movie. Tall and imposing over its domain, it is slowly being taken back by nature. Trees, vines and leaves shoot up from the inside of the building, which no longer has any windows, doors, floors or roof. The site is spectacular. A small bridge crosses over the water to the other side. A curious round building. The Carbine Willson Ruins were originally constructed as a factory to produce Calcium Carbide fertilizer. The structures took approximately 1000 bags of cement and were built in the early 1910s. No matter how you look at it, the site is immensely impressive. Beyond the ruins, the trail continues North and eventually hits more junctions, heading off in all directions of Gatineau Park. Definitely something unique and different to experience, the Carbide Willson Ruins are another treasure of Gatineau Park, waiting for you to discover. No doubt, the Ruins will be even more spectacular when surrounded by the coming fall colours. Happy hiking!
  9. Another beautiful day that warranted some kayaking. This time, the destination was Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. Camp Fortune was along the route leading to the lake, making me reflect on this summer and start looking forward to the winter coming up in a few months time. Located about 5 minutes drive past Camp Fortune's Skyline sector, Meech Lake offers a quiet beach setting, as well as several hiking pathways to enjoy and discover, including the Carbide Willson Ruins (perhaps next weekend's hiking adventure...) The beach is accessible from the paid parking lot ($11) by a short gravel path. This lake does not offer any rentals so you need to bring your own when visiting. The path to access the water is made up of a few small hills but is easily traversed if you have a set of wheels to roll your kayak. Once you reach the water, you are treated to one of the most picturesque settings of the region. Flanked all along one side of the lake are houses and cottages bordering the water. Despite this, the water is not crowded and there are fewer people kayaking than there is typically found at Lac Philippe. To cross from the starting point to the opposite end of the lake is roughly 7km distance each way. Opting for a shorter trip in the water, Ana and I decided to just head out to the half way point instead. Dreaming of skiing, or losing oneself to nature... A seemingly popular spot for teenagers to sit and enjoy nature. The ripples and reflections on the water surface. A private dock. Ana enjoying the endless landscapes and seemingly endless waters. Overall, a beautiful day and another great kayaking adventure. If you have your own kayaks, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out this amazing lake. Happy Kayaking!
  10. Kayaking is such an enjoyable sport. Thanks to the abundance of lakes and rivers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, there is no shortage of places to visit and discover. Kayaking is also an easy sport to get into and is less difficult than it may appear to be. What does help is lakes that are free of powered boats. One such place is Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park. Located about 35 minutes from downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, Lac Philippe is a large lake, featuring two beaches, pedal boat, kayak and canoe rentals, and camp grounds. If you are coming with your own kayaks or wish to rent, the best place to park is by following the signs for the boat launch, shortly after passing the first beach. From here, you are able to park quite close to the water and the launching point is not busy or crowded. Immediately you can see the vastness of the lake, that seems to extend indefinitely. On this visit we decided to head to the left, in the direction of the Breton Beach. Passing a well built beaver lodge. The lake has several points for you to stop and enjoy the nature. A small island is also present in the lake, definitely an inviting location to visit, just be sure to bring some shoes. With a lake this pristine and enjoyable, it is extremely difficult to stop kayaking and call it a day. Yet the day does eventually end and it becomes time to head back to shore. Building up some speed for a big finish onto the beach. Before heading home, you should also visit the Lusk Caves and trail, another great adventure and a nice hike that you can enjoy. Visit our other post here to learn more.
  11. A great day in nature on Gatineau Park's Pioneer trail. This hiking path is easily accessible from the Gatineau Park parkway entrance off of Boulevard des Allumetières near Hull. A large parking lot and information centre and map await upon your arrival. The Pioneer trail is not the longest trail and doesn't present much challenge as it has a relatively flat profile, but it is a great place to enjoy nature without having to go very far from the city. With a length of approximately 1.5km, the trail in the form of a loop takes about 30-40 minutes to walk. All along the path are interpretation panels, allowing you to learn about settlers in the Outaouais region and the Park’s forest diversity. The love tree, carved with care by plenty of couples who have walked this path together. The whistling wind and the brushing of the leaves, you really feel at peace and with nature in Gatineau Park. The ever expansive forests that seemingly never end bring out anyone's sense of curiosity and exploration.
  12. A sunny late summer Saturday always signals the perfect time to go exploring and hiking. Having been interested for some time to see what all the fuss over the Lusk Caves was about, Ana and I ventured out to the Philippe Lake area to hike the trail and check out this unique attraction in Gatineau Park. The Lusk Caves were created some 12,500 years ago from melting glacial waters. This melting water was forced into cracks of the Marble rock, eroding them more quickly than the other type of rock present, which led to the creation of the unique tunnels that are explorable today. To this day, water continues to stream through the cave, continuing this erosion and gradually shaping the cave. Exploring the cave is an experience all on its own, clearly a fact recognized by the amount of people visiting. The Lusk Stream flows through the cave and as a result, exploration consists of passages of water, some dry and shallow, others with water levels as high as a metre or more. There are brief sections that are visible from above, along the Lusk Cave trail, but the majority is in the dark, so flashlights are a must. Starting from the Parent Beach area, we chose the Trail 50, which passes along the beaches and shores of the Philippe Lake area. You can experience various micro climates, some areas cool and refreshing, while others hot and humid. This trail is relatively easy to cross, as it is mostly flat with some slight hills and rolls. For the final third of the trail to the cave, the terrain becomes more hilly but still easy to navigate. A famous deer from Disney's Bambi movie made a brief appearance along the trail. After walking for about an hour, over a distance of approximately 4km, you arrive at the exit of the Lusk Cave. The exit is notable as it is almost entirely submerged under water. People exiting have just enough room to pass with their heads out of the water. Continuing past this point, and ascending the stairs, we head towards the main entrance to the cave, located 150 metres away and higher up in the mountain. The trail now takes us past several points where the rock opens up, allowing a view from above into the cave and those passing through it. With the sound of running water becoming ever louder, we finally arrive at the entrance to the Lusk Cave. Here, plenty of people have set up camp and are preparing to venture through. Here is a map, prepared by the NCC, showing the layout of the Lusk Cave, and illustrating the water levels found within. Whether the goal is to explore the Lusk Cave, or to simply enjoy the hike along the trail, this area is definitely worth a visit. The hike from the Parent Beach parking to the cave and back is 8.6km and takes about 3 hours to complete. From beautiful scenery, to amazing geological features, you will return home relaxed by nature, and exercised by adventure.
  13. The Champlain Lookout trail takes you around the edge of the Eardley Escarpment, showcasing stunning views and vistas. With a length of approximately 1.2km, it is not the longest trail, but definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. Several sections are on the edge of steep cliffs, bordered by wood fences, further adding to the awe inspiring landscapes and experience. Interpretive panels explain the unique geology as well as unique and rare species found in this area. The ever elusive milk snake for example can on occasion be spotted along this trail near rocky formations. Crossing several small streams passing through rocky formations, there is plenty to enjoy on this trail in Gatineau Park. Accessed from the Champlain Parkway’s lookout, the trail should be considered intermediate in difficulty. With two perfect viewing points, including one that juts out from the mountain on a platform, don’t forget to bring your camera. Once finished, be sure to also enjoy the view and scenery by the parking, with the expansive stone wall, popular for picnic lunches and gazing off into the distance.
  14. The Sugarbush Trail is the perfect trail for those looking for an easy hike through the forest. Absent are any steep hills or natural obstacles, just pure fresh air and nature at its best! This trail is located just next to the Gatineau Park Visitor's Centre in Chelsea. The Sugarbush Trail starts with a short crossing over a river and brings you into a dense forest of tall slender trees. Under the tree canopy, the shade and pure air is very refreshing. As you continue along the path, the tree canopy occasionally gives way to more open areas. I highly recommend the Sugarbush trail for those unsure of where to start their hiking in Gatineau Park. It is easy and can be enjoyed by people with reduced mobility as there are with no steep hills or obstacles such as rocks or tree roots. The trail has a length of approximately 2km and can be done in about 35 minutes. It is very easy to find with ample parking available. Of course, with the Gatineau Park Visitor's Centre nearby, it's perfect to plan your next adventure in the park.
  15. Another day in Gatineau Park, another trail to discover. Today it was time to venture down the Lauriault Trail. This trail is accessed off of the Waterfall Trail, previously visited last week. The Lauriault Trail is about 3.5km in length, over relatively intermediate terrain. Nothing overly steep, or challenging. Weaving through the trees, while crossing several water streams, the halfway point of the trail arrives at a lookout point, giving a grand view of the surrounding region from above. Continuing on the trail, you come across the Mulvihill Lake, the perfect place for a picnic lunch or gazing into the water. This area is calm and peaceful, with a platform extending out over the water. The return trip on the opposite side of the loop is just as eventful, with more sloping terrain and passages to cross. You also see the stream that feeds the waterfall, which surely must rage during the springtime with all the melting snow. The entire adventure took about 1.5 hours to complete, and definitely furthers one's appreciation of Gatineau Park, and how fortunate we are to have such a national treasure closeby. The Waterfall being part of the circuit, should also be visited when you get to that section. Don't forget to pack a lunch for when you stop by Mulvihill lake!
  16. The Waterfall trail is located along the Gatineau Parkway. While not the longest hike in Gatineau Park, it certainly has its own charm. Featuring the Bridal Veil falls (named by former Prime Minister Mackenzie King) which culminate this experience, it is another must see destination in Gatineau Park. The trail is about 1.5km in length (to the falls and returning), mainly flat, with only the approach and descent to the falls offering any additional challenge. The trail leaves the parking and passes under the Gatineau Parkway through a tunnel. From there, you pass through some wetlands and over a few wood bridges. I recommend you visit the falls either in the spring, as the snow is melting or after a heavy rainfall, as the waterflow will be much higher. Once you have visited the falls, the nearby Lauriault trail offers a longer trip back to the parking, and adds another 2.5km to your hike. This trail is in the form of a loop, taking you past the Mulvihill lake, the perfect place for a picnic lunch close to the water. Learn more about the Waterfall and Lauriault trails here.
  17. The King Mountain trail, located on the Eardley Escarpment of the Canadian Shield offers a hike unlike any other. With incredible views and interpretive panels that explain the unique ecosystem and historical sites along the trail, it definitely ranks as something you need to experience yourself. It is located near the intersection of the Gatineau and Champlain parkways. The trail is approximately 2km long, in the form of a loop, with a vertical of about 70 metres. The trail contains several areas of rocky formations to traverse, but nothing is overly challenging, and takes an hour or so to complete. Along the way you will discover a unique microclimate on the mountain, passing from a relatively dry area to one that is noticably more humid. Passing serveral different types of forests, as well as many types of trees, the interpretive panels allow you to learn about the natural wonder and treasure that is Gatineau Park. You will also visit the a National Historic Site, when you come across the First Geodetic Survey Station National Historic Site. Found at an elevation of 344 metres, it was the first triangulation point, established in Canada for land surveys. The King Mountain trail is an adventure you need to experience. From amazing vistas and views, to the unique path through the mountain it takes, it certainly leaves you wanting to come back to experience more!
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