14 Best Hiking Trails in Gatineau Park [2024]

  • Date: 23/03/2024
  • Time to read: 14 min.

Gatineau Park has some of the best hiking trails in the entire Ottawa region. It’s in the Quebec Province which is just a 20-minute drive from Ottawa.

Especially during the summer season, many locals and tourists venture out for day hikes, bike rides, and exploring caves.

Up in the mountains, you will find everything from amazing views of nature to old ruins that have been there for more than hundreds of years.

The article covers about 14 Best Hiking Trails in Gatineau Park that you really need to know if you are planning or want to hike a trail.

Best Hiking Trails in Gatineau Park

Luskville Trail

Time 2-3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance 2.6 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Hard
Elevation300 m (from Sea Level)

Luskville Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Gatineau Park. The trail is quite challenging but it’s worth hiking as it offers the best mesmerizing views of the park as you hike along it.

Eardley Escarpment is a steep climb and trying to hike it, is a real challenge (just kidding) but once you have reached the top which is 300m from the sea level, you will be amazed by the eye-soothing view of the Ottawa River.

When I got there I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to stay there and watch that amazing view of Nature.

To my surprise, there was a fire tower that provided decent views of the Ottawa River, although they were not that good. Throughout the entire hike, there were many waterfalls, sadly I visited the place during the summer so the view was not what I expected.

If any of you are planning to go for a hike, I recommend you go during the Autumn(Spring) Season or after a shower(rainfall).

The real fun begins when you start to descend (coming back to the starting point of hiking). Firstly, your legs will remind you that you have done something amazing (just kidding) so don’t forget to take frequent breaks during the descent.

Huron Trail (Étienne Brûlé Lookout)

Huron Trail (Étienne Brûlé Lookout)

Time4-5 Hours (Approx.)
Distance5.5 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Relatively Easy (a bit of Hard)
Elevation103 m

Huron Trail is also a perfect hiking trail in Gatineau Park, being filled with a lot of scenery it always remains an ideal place for hiking during the summer.

Throughout the trail hiking, you will come across many small Brookes and a lot of benches that will remind you to take a small break before you reach the Étienne Lookout point.

Étienne Brûlé is basically a Lookout Point that offers a fantastic view of the Ottawa River valley that you have never seen before from anywhere.

During the summer, the lookout point is packed with crowds as it becomes a popular picnic spot to relax and enjoy in nature. The place has a lot of picnic tables that you can use while enjoying your delicious food, plus the view of the Ottawa River makes it more memorable.

Yellow Box Trail

Yellow Box Trail

Time2-3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance 2.6 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Moderate to Hard
Elevation483 m

Yellow Box Trail is not an official Trail to hike at Gatineau Park but it’s really worth adding to this list because it has the best scenery in the entire park.

As this is not an official trail, so you need to be more cautious. Make sure you have a map of the entire trail because it’s neither well-marked nor well maintained, if somehow you get lost in the woods, you are all on your own (Just Kidding).

The trail has two loops or you can say two ways and exactly at the midpoint of the trail you will come across a yellow box and that’s the exact reason why it’s named as “Yellow Box Trail“. Stop there to have some memorable pics and leave a message(If you want) before going with the next loop for a hike.

The hiking on the Yellow Trail is quite difficult (not that easy) and taking a few breaks is advised if you are doing it for the very first time. There are a lot of steep climbs which make sure that you get early to bed at night (pun intended).

During the entire hike, you will come across many scenery views that are truly amazing & fantastic so make sure you have a camera (phone will also work fine) with you to capture it.

Pink Lake

Time 1 Hour (Approx.)
Distance1.5 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy to Moderate
Elevation 132 m

Pink Lake Trail is literally the most popular Hiking Trail in Gatineau Park. It is relatively easy to hike the trail as it has a ton of beautiful views of nature along with the amazing turquoise color of the lake.

The lake was named after the pink family who came there and settled down back in the 1800’s. A lot of people might think that the water of Pink Lake is Pink, but in reality, Pink is just the name of the Lake, its water is actually deep blue and a bit greenish in color because of the algae that is growing underneath it.

On top of that, it’s the only lake in North America that is a meromictic lake which means its top and bottom layers of water don’t mix. This helps the algae to grow fast which in turn provides a greenish color to lake water.

The Hiking trails loop around the lake which gives the hiker some of the best panoramic views of the Lake water and ecosystem (fishes and other water creatures) in it. I forgot to mention, swimming in the lake is prohibited so don’t you dare to do it.

Parking Facility is available but make sure you go through the Gatineau Park Parkway schedule before making your plan.

Mackenzie King Trail

Mackenzie King Trail

Time1 – 2 Hours (Approx.)
Distance2.4 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy
Elevation275 m

Mackenzie King Trail is truly a historic gem as it has been home to the longest-serving Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King for more than 50 years. In his honor, the name of the trail was held after him. Lauriault Trail was one of his favorite trails to hike.

Throughout the trail, you will find many historical ruins as well as many scenic views of nature. It also has a few picnic spots, public water fountains, and a washroom facility for visitors.

You can find parking for your vehicle at P6 which can easily be accessible from the Lauriault Parking. Usually parking on Tuesday is free but from mid-May to mid-September there are parking fees of $13 – $15 per vehicle.

Carbide Willson Ruins Trail

Carbide Willson Ruins Trail

Time2 – 3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance1.8 – 2.4 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy to Moderate
Elevation125 m

Carbide Willson is a well-maintained and marked trail in Gatineau Park. As you begin your hike, you will come across many amazing lakes and also a shady trail that leads to Carbide ruins.

Cabide Ruins was a fertilizer plant (monocalcium phosphate) that was set up back in 1911, and somehow it got destroyed by fire. You can still see some ruins of the place but they are not preserved and nature is slowly taking over it. Climbing on the ruins is prohibited but taking some cool pictures along with it is not.

The trial was named after Thomas Leopold “Carbide” Willson who was a pioneer in the North American electrochemical industry, with more than 70 patents in his name.

You can park your vehicle at P11, with a parking fee of $13-15 per vehicle (during the summer season).

Grandview Trail

Grandview Trail

Time2-3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance3.9 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Moderate to Hard
Elevation163 m

Grandview Trail is basically the first loop of the Yellow Box Trail so, technically it’s not a trail. I have added it to the list because of its amazing scenic views.

So if you are looking for a short and nice hike with stunning views of nature then Grandview Trail is all you need to visit. If you start a bit late in the evening you might be able to catch the sunset view on your way back from where you begin the hike. Washroom facilities are not available on this trailhead so be prepared for that.

Champlain Trail and Lookout

Champlain Trail and Lookout

Time0.5 – 1 Hours (Approx.)
Distance0.6 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Moderate
Elevation305 m

Champlain is a well-marked trail that you can hike to reach the top of the Eardley escarpment. It’s a peaceful picnic spot and a perfect place to hang out with your family and friends.

The trail is relatively flat and doesn’t have that much of steep terrain. There are many places along the way where you can stop to catch your breath and gaze at the amazing creation of Mother Nature.

Champlain Lookout is a perfect spot on this trail to stop and watch as the sun sets down. You can also click some great pictures here, that you can post on your social media profiles.

Wolf Trail Gatineau Park

Wolf Trail Gatineau Park

Time2-3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance2.6 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Hard
Elevation 330 m

Wolf Trail is considered to be a hard trail to hike that’s the reason why most people don’t like it. It’s a well-marked & maintained trail with dense bushes so, make sure you carry a bug spray along with you.

There is a 220m steep climb to the Tawadina Look which offers a eye soothing view of the Ottawa River once you reach the top. Plus, it’s a perfect spot to watch the astonishing view of the sun setting down(Sunset).

There is also a picnic area where you can have lunch with your friends. Don’t forget to take frequent breaks to catch your breath and admire the beauty of nature in between your hikes.

Plus, it’s a dog-friendly trail which means you can take your dog during the hike but make sure it has a leash on all the time. The picnic area is the only area on the trail where you can’t take your dog.

Remember, if you are going on weekends then make sure you reach the place a bit early otherwise the entire parking lot will be filled in ‘No’ time. Then you will be forced to park your vehicle at P13 at a parking fee of $13 (per vehicle).

King Trail

King Trail

Time1 Hours (Approx.)
Distance1.1 mile
Difficulty Level (To hike)Hard
Elevation345 m

If you want to hike a trail that is filled with a lot of scenery then King Trail is a perfect hiking trail for you. As per my knowledge, there are more than 10 lookout points from where you can enjoy the stunning views of Ottawa River and Gatineau Park.

At a height of about 345m, you will come across King Mountain which is the highest point in Gatineau Park. Although, the hike is not as simple as it seems to be but once you have reached the top, you will be amazed by the mesmerizing view of the Ottawa River Valley.

Usually, the parking is free but sometimes the facility can be unavailable as the Gatineau Parkway is reserved for cycling, skating, and other stuff. So, you need to check whether there is some ongoing event or not in the park or not.

Skyline Trail

Skyline Trail

Time2 Hours (Approx.)
Distance3.2 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Hard
Elevation100 m

Skyline Trail is a must to hike if you want to watch the sunrise with a beautiful skyline. The entire trail is well marked so don’t need to worry about being lost in the woods.

The beginning of the trail is quite muddy and slippery so make sure to watch out for your steps. Besides that, there is a densely forested area throughout the trail which gives you a spectacular view of the Ottawa River.

The elevation of the trail is around 100m from the sea level and hiking it feels like running a marathon.

Tomato Hills Trail (via Eardley Escarpment)

Tomato Hills Trail (via Eardley Escarpment)

Time2-3 Hours (Approx.)
Distance5 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy to Moderate
Elevation313 m

Tomato Hill is considered one of the easiest trails to hike. It’s a great trail along the Eardley Escarpment with a lot of scenic views of nature to enjoy.

You have to start the hike from the car park which is located at the edge of the Eardly-Masham road. As you hike, you come across some of the breathtaking landscapes that are sure to make you feel more refreshed and connected with nature.

Forget to mention, it’s not an officially designated trail so there is no parking lot. You can either park your car at the Chemin Eardley Masham or somewhere else.

Lusk Cave Trail

Lusk Cave Trail

Time4.5 – 5 Hours (Approx.)
Distance5.2 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy to Moderate
Elevation 219 m

Lusk Cave Trail is an easy trail for hikers as compared to other hiking trails. It follows the shores of the Lusk and Philippe Lake before ending up at the Lusk cave.

Lusk Cave is the main tourist attraction of the trail that attracts thousands of tourists because you don’t need any permission to enter and explore the cave.

Be careful if you are planning to explore inside the cave there may be feet of water inside it. Make sure you have all the swimming and safety essentials if you are planning to explore the very end of the cave because the water there may be 1 meter deep. You can easily skip the exploring part if you don’t want to do it.

You can park your vehicle at the P20 Parking lot which is free to park and you don’t need to pay a single penny.

Lauriault & Waterfall Trail

Time2 Hours (Approx.)
Distance2.4 miles
Difficulty Level (To hike)Easy
Elevation93 m

Lauriault Trail is also one of the easiest trails to hike in Gatineau Park. The hike begins at the Mackenzie King Estate which is located at an elevation gain of 98m.

The whole hike is filled with tons of scenic views which you definitely need to admire by taking small breaks. You can also take your dog during the hike on this trail but make sure it has a leash on all the time.

For Parking, you can park your vehicle at the P6 Parking lot.

List of Dog Trails at Gatineau Park

There are a lot of trails on which you can hike along with your dog but you need to make sure they have a leash.

  • Skyline Trail
  • Champlain Trail
  • Carbide Willson Ruins
  • Yellow Box Trail
  • Tomato Hill
  • Huron Trail
  • Mackenzie King Estate
  • Lusk Cave
  • Wolf Trail
  • Carbide Willson Ruins
  • Huron Trail

There are so many trails to hike which might confuse you over which one you should choose. Gatineau Park Pink Trail is a perfect place for everyone whether you want an easy hike or a challenging one.

If you are looking for an easy hike then Pink Lake Trail is all good for you but if you are looking for something challenging then you should go with the Wolf or maybe Carbide Trail.

Tips for Hiking at Gatineau Park

  • Pets Policies: Very few trails in the Gatineau Park allow the pets to hike along with you. Because of the delicate ecosystem, most of the trails inside the Gatineau Park do not allow the pet(usually Dog) to hike with their owner.
  • Water: If you want to fill your water bottles you have to go to the entrance of Gatineau Park.
  • Parking Facility: There is a parking fee of around $10 -15 per vehicle that you need to pay either at the entry or exit booth.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Make sure you have checked the weather forecast of the day before you begin your hike. Avoid hiking in extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, and thunderstorms.
  • Dress up properly: Don’t forget to wear moisture-wicking clothing that will help you to dry and be comfortable. Having appropriate footwear is a must so that you can hike the trail without any worry.
  • Camping: During summer, you can camp in both groups as well as private campsites in Gatineau Park. You can either bring your own camping gear or you can rent it out from nearby rentals. Remember, you can only camp in between from May to October, so make your trip accordingly.
  • Follow Trail Markers: Pay close attention to trail markers and sign boards they are there for a reason otherwise you might end up being lost in the woods.
  • Leave No Trace: Make sure you leave No Trace behind which simply means you need to pack out all your trash or mess that you have created and dispose of in the dustbin.
  • Respect Wildlife and Plants: You need to keep a safe distance from wildlife(deer, moose, and a lot of other animals) and avoid disturbing plants and their habitats.
  • Enjoy and Appreciate Nature: Take your time to hike and appreciate the beauty of nature around you. Don’t forget to capture the best memories and fantastic views of lakes on your phone as you hike along the way.

Things You Need to Have For Hiking

  • Bug Spray: Believe me, you don’t want to forget these ‘Bug Spray’ if you are going hiking in Gatineau Park. It will help you to protect yourself from bugs as you hike in the dense forest.
  • Water Bottle: You do need to have a good and big enough water bottle that can last during your whole hike otherwise you will be dehydrated.
  • Sun Protection: If you are planning to hike during the daytime(maybe in the evening), then you should consider having sunscreen.
  • Small Towel: Having a towel is a must to wipe out your sweat when you take a small break to catch your breath during the hike.
  • Food & Snacks: Make sure you have some energy drinks and a few snacks so that you can fuel up yourself wherever you want.
  • Trash Bag: It is the most important thing you need to have so that you can carry all the mess(trash) that you have created with you and dump it at the right place.

Wrap Up: Gatineau Park Trails for Summer Hiking

There are so many hiking trails in Gatineau Park ranging from the easiest to challenging one to hike. If you looking for an easy trail to hike that is filled with amazing views of nature then you should go with the ‘Pink Lake Trail‘. But If you want something challenging and a bit hard to hike then you can either go with the Yellow Box Trail or the Skyline Trail.

The Carbide Ruins are perfect for looking back in time and have some unique sightings while the Wolf Trail is a spot to check out whether you are physically fit or not(just Kidding).

So, pack everything you need for the hike in a Bag and head straight to explore the hiking trails of Gatineau Park (especially during the Spring).

FAQs related to Summer Hiking at Gatineau Park

Do you have to pay to Hike in Gatineau Park?

No, you don’t need to pay anything to hike in Gatineau Park. However, you do need to pay fees to access some trails and parking lots, during a specific period of time in a year.

What is the most scenic trail in Gatineau Park?

The Wolf Trail is considered to be the most scenic trail in Gatineau Park as it offers great views of not only Gatineau Park but also of the Outaouais River. Besides that, it does offer a fantastic view when the sun sets down.

How long is the Wolf Trail in Gatineau Park?

The length of the Wolf Trail is 9.4 km (5.8 miles) which takes around 3 to 4 hours to hike.

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