Nature. It’s so close. So inviting. And—as everyone now knows—so good for you! The Outaouais has a huge selection of hiking trails and circuits. And since it’s our job to think about your wellbeing, here are five of our favourite destinations in the region. Slip on your walking shoes and let’s go!
PINK LAKE TRAIL – GATINEAU PARK
Gatineau Park isn’t called the green lung of the Outaouais for nothing: no fewer than 165 kilometres of nature trails make it a hikers’ paradise. Plus, it’s conveniently close to the city!
One absolute must at the park is a walk around Pink Lake which, despite its name, isn’t pink but rather green and breathtakingly beautiful! Enjoy views of the lake by taking the footbridges and trail that make it easy to enjoy this exceptional site. And learn more about the features of this so-called “meromictic” lake. Curious? Now you have to go!
LUSKVILLE FALLS TRAIL − GATINEAU PARK
This trail is for veteran hikers who like climbing in steep terrain! Also in Gatineau Park, the Luskville Falls Trail stretches through 4.5 kilometres of spectacular ecosystems. The journey includes a 290-metre ascent up the rocky slopes of the Eardley Escarpment. There is no shortage of magnificent places to stop for a break, including the falls, of course. Take a moment to have a snack and cool your feet in the water. It’s a great place for a gorgeous view of the Ottawa Valley!
FORÊT-LA-BLANCHE ECOLOGICAL RESERVE
Less than 10 minutes from the Buckingham sector of Gatineau lies one of Québec’s few ecological reserves that are open to the public. Lucky us! In Forêt-la-Blanche, one of the last old-growth forests in Québec, you'll find trees more than 400 years old. Enjoy a long hike or take a shortcut for a quicker jaunt. Various lookouts provide a great view of the region's waterfalls and lakes. The reserve has an interpretation centre and panels to help you identify the fauna and flora. An oasis still in its natural state!
PARC DES MONTAGNES NOIRES DE RIPON
Take the time to soak in the beauty as you spend a memorable day hiking in Parc des Montagnes noires de Ripon. With seven trails totalling 17 km and easy, intermediate, and difficult circuits, this 800-acre forest area has something for everyone. The path to the summit leads to a lookout perched 426 metres above sea level with an incredible panoramic view. Open year round, the park has a visitor’s chalet at the entrance and three shelters in the park.
PARC DES CHUTES COULONGE
Perfect for a day with family or friends, Parc des Chutes Coulonge in the heart of Pontiac is a destination sure to inspire repeat visits. Step back in time to the days of the Rivière Coulonge log drivers on a self-guided hike with interpretive panels and an exhibition on period tools and methods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can round out the experience with aerial activities, including a treetop obstacle course and giant zip lines over the river.
We hope this little list of favourites has piqued your interest in hiking in our beautiful region! Feel free to share it and spread the fun. We wish you many delightful discoveries. Happy hiking!