A trip to Gatineau Park is a must for visitors of Ottawa and residents in Ottawa. It is absolutely breathtaking. We have brought many friends that were visiting us to the “Gatineaus” (as we call it) and they all can’t believe that this spectacular beauty is only 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa.
How many cities do you know of that have a 363- square-kilometre park within minutes of their city centre? We are very lucky to have this treasure so close by.
Gatineau Park isn’t actually in Ottawa. It is right across the border in Gatineau. You can drive there, take a taxi or take your bike.
Directions to the Park:
From Ottawa drive over the Chaudieres Bridge or the Portage Bridge. Turn left on Alexandre-Tache Boulevard. Keep driving and then turn right on the Gatineau Parkway. You can follow the signs to the trail or lookout of your choice or you can go to the Visitor’s Centre first. If you want to go to the Visitor’s Centre turn right on Lac Meech Road and then left on Scott Road.
Open every day except Christmas. From June until Labour Day (September) it is open from 9am – 6pm From Labour Day (September) until end of May it is open from 9am – 5pm
Make sure to pick up your maps & guides at the centre before you leave.
Activites in Gatineau Park:
There are so many activities throughout the winter and summer months. We are certain that everyone will find something fun to do.
- horseback riding
- cross-country skiing
- downhill skiing
- hang gliding
- para gliding
- mountain biking
Places of Interest:
Mackenzie King Estate – this estate used to be the summer home to William Lyon Mackenzie King who was Canada’s 10th Prime Minister. When he died he left the estate, which lies on 231 hectares, to Canada. You can explore the different chalets, the beautifully kept gardens, the ruins and the paths that lead to other parts of the Park. There is also a tearoom if you want to stop and grab a small bite to eat and a cup of tea. The Estate opens from the middle of May to the middle of October.
Pink Lake – it actually isn’t a pink lake but it is named after the Pink Family who settled here in the early 1800’s. The lake is an ecological treasure of the Park. Take some time to read the educational signs that explain what type of lake it is and why it is so important that we help preserve it.
Beaches – there are five public beaches in the park that are open from the middle of June to the beginning of September.
King Mountain – the King Mountain Trail is 2.5 kilometres long and has 10 different observation points. You will get a spectacular, unobstructed view of the Ottawa River Valley.
Lusk Cave – these caves are made of marble and you can explore them by foot.
Picnic Areas – there are over a dozen picnic areas around the Park. So, take a break and enjoy your surroundings. Some of the picnic areas include Etienne-Brule Lookout, Black Lake, La Peche Lake, Meech Lake, Mulvihill Lake and more. Just follow the signs.
Gatineau Park also boasts a total of 54 species of mammals and approximately 230 bird species. On your walk you may come across a deer or a beaver. If you look up you may see a woodpecker or a gray owl. The park is also full of little reptiles and amphibians including the wood turtle, a four-toed salamandar and a chorus frog.
One of our favourite times at the Park is in the Fall. The Fall Rhapsody is so hard to descibe because words don’t do it justice. The trees in the Park literally come alive with the vibrant colours of red, orange and yellow. It is absolutely breathtaking.
If you are here to get some exercise, take a dip in the lake or explore the amazing flora and fauna that the Park has to offer we are certain you will enjoy your day. There is so much to see that you may even need to come back again another day.