The most beautiful winter hikes in the Outaouais Chalets à Rabais

The most beautiful winter hikes in the Outaouais

They say the air is good on this great playground that is the Outaouais region: 33,000 square kilometers to fill up with oxygen. From Montebello to Fort-Coulonge via Chelsea and Maniwaki, the superb landscapes are very changeable.

By force of circumstances, over the past year, even more Quebeckers have taken up outdoor sports. Although many of you probably already practice hiking – and perhaps even religiously – I would bet that many of you had not really experienced this activity in winter, by putting on your crampons.

I share with you a few places where you can practice alpine or winter hiking in one of my favorite regions: the Outaouais, as well as in Ottawa.

1-Regional and national parks, wildlife reserves & outdoor centers

There are no less than twenty protected sites in the Outaouais, where everything is in place to save nature, this precious wealth. Let us note among others: the Route des Zingues which winds between lakes Gagnon and Preston, or the summit of Mont Morissette, where a refuge with wood stove and a belvedere await you, or the wildlife reserve of Forêt-la-Blanche. , one of the oldest forests in eastern North America.

2-Gatineau Park, Outaouais

Managed and protected by the National Capital Commission, this park covers no less than 361 km² of hills and forests. No wonder it’s nicknamed the green lung of the region! Did you know that it is in fact the second most visited park in Canada, rich in its biodiversity and close to the city? Unlike other national parks, this park has many entry points, and some roads cross it to reach the northern and western sectors. Be sure to visit the following attractions and historic sites: the Mackenzie-King estate, the Étienne-Brûlé lookout and Lake Philippe.

Protect fragile natural resources

The Gatineau Park is clearly a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with respect for the environment. Interesting to note that the latter follows a conservation plan that dealt with six main priorities (protecting biodiversity, protecting endangered species, limiting habitat fragmentation, protecting areas of ecological continuity, limiting pressures linked to human activities and continuing to research to promote an ecosystem management approach based on ecological integrity).

Hiking

There is in fact 183 km of hiking during the summer season in Gatineau Park. On the other hand, in winter, 10 kilometers of walking trails – varying in difficulty from easy to difficult – are offered free of charge and mechanically groomed once a week. Every Friday, a team publishes an update on the condition of the trails along with the recommended starting points for the weekend. Dogs on a leash are allowed on these trails.

Lauriault Trail

4.5 km

Less than an hour

Difficult level

Old chelsea

P6 (Itinerary) – Starts at the Mackenzie King Estate, where quaint chalets and ruins stand out against the snowy backdrop.

Capital trail

1.6 km

Less than an hour

Easy level

Gatineau

P8 (Itinerary)

Trail of the Pioneers

1.3 km

Less than an hour

Level

Gatineau

Equipped with interpretive panels telling the story of the colonization of the Outaouais and illustrating the diversity of the park’s forest.

Entrance to the park (Itinerary)

Sugar factory trail

3 km

Less than an hour

Easy level

Old chelsea

Visitors Center (Itinerary)

Note that there are also 60 km of snowshoe trails as well as 200 km of cross-country ski trails offering as many incredible views!

3-Greenbelt, Ottawa

Are you familiar with Canada’s Capital Greenbelt ? Farms, forests, dunes, and wetlands – such as swamps and bogs – can be found on this 20,000 hectare large conservation area. Which makes it the largest publicly owned greenbelt in the world! Created around the 1950s, the initial purpose of the space is still to protect these natural areas that support biodiversity: forests, wetlands, streams and dunes, against the urban sprawl of the rural lands bordering the capital. Note that these natural areas promote the human and ecological health of the region. In addition to being able to practice outdoor activities in this environmental jewel, we discover heritage sites.

16 conservation and recreation areas make up Canada’s Capital Greenbelt. For example, along the Lime Kiln Trail at Rocky Swamp, you may see historic ruins, or spot barred owls and black-backed woodpeckers walking the Jack Pine Trail.

Hike more than 20 kilometers for free on scenic trails. Here are some trails:

Blue sea

7.2 km

1 to 2 hours

Home to plants typically found in much more northern climates.

P22 (Itinerary)

Route of the Ottawa River

4.1 km

West Sector / Shirleys Bay

1 to 2 hours

Many birds can be observed there all year round.

P2 (Itinerary)

Go play outside! It is saving!

 

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