This 36 square kilometre park is maintained by the National Capital Commission (NCC) and covers much of the Gatineau Hills (actually a branch of the Laurentian Mountains). The park is renowned for the views of the Ottawa Valley, several lakes, a historic site, a ski hill, lots of hiking, biking and cross-country nature trails. The park has over 100 varieties of wildflowers and 10 species of trees which create a vibrant palette of fall colours.
The park is home to the Camp Fortune ski area, and also includes over 200 kilometres of trails suitable for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, many with chalets along the way. Park access if free but several historical sites, beaches (in summer) and cross-country ski trails (in winter) have an admission/parking charge. Camping available at a number of lakes in the park; call for reservations. Day and season passes available.
318 Meech Lake Rd, Chelsea QC
Gatineau Parkway access from Alexandre Tache Boulevard, midway between Chaudiere and Champlain bridges
About 8 km from start of Gatineau parkway, right-hand side
Sometimes called “Pinks Lake”, this lake is unusual both for its depth and its lack of oxygen, which causes its unusual aqua-green colour. Fewer than 1 in 1000 lakes share this property.
These caves are popular for cavers in the national capital area.
Mackenzie King Estate
72 Barnes Rd, Chelsea/Aylmer J0X 1N9
819-827-2020 fax: 827-6048 1-800-465-1867
This is the restored home of Canada’s 10th and longest-serving prime minister, and includes two cottages (Moorside and Kinswood) complete with walling trails, formal gardens, a teahouse, a collection of ruins assembled by King. Open mid-May to mid-October Mon-Fri 11 am to 5 pm, and Sat-Sun (and Statutory holidays) 10 am to 6 pm. Admission $6 per car, $20 for minibus, $30 for a bus. For reservations or guided tours call 613-239-5100 or 1-800-465-1867.
Champlain Lookout, Belvedere Lookout
Enjoy a stunning panoramic view toward the upper Ottawa Valley, from atop the Eardley Escarpment. Watch for hawks and other birds of prey who like to use the updrafts from the prevailing winds to climb high searching for food.
Ski-Fest (late January), Keskinada Loppet ski race (mid Feb), Salon du livre de l’Outaouais (Book Fair) (late March), Canada Day (July 1), Labour Day at Mackenzie King Estate (early September), Fall Rhapsody (late Sept – mid October),