Two-region journey on your snowmobile
Imagine: hundreds of kilometres of pristine snow to blast through.
Discover the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, aka snowmobile heaven! This region, the largest in the Outaouais, boasts an impressive 700 km of trails maintained by 7 snow-grooming machines.
The landscape is varied: most of the itinerary is through the woods, along logging roads and groomed trails offering an enjoyable mix of winding sections and straightaways. Along the way, you cross four lakes and one reservoir, the legendary Baskatong. Many of the outfitters around this vast body of water are set up to welcome snowmobilers.
From the City of Gatineau, park your trailer at the Gatineau Airport, located conveniently close to Autoroute 50. Look for the parking sign with the Association des motoneigistes de l’Outaouais (AMO) logo.
And now, head north to discover the Vallée and its treasures.
Just beyond Blue Sea is the Village Majopial resort and its restaurant, L’Huile d’Olive, with a menu featuring local products. Visit the amazing wine cellar, where you can play sommelier and select your own bottle!
The Auberge du Draveur, in the heart of the town of Maniwaki, is a favourite stop for snowmobilers—could it be the hot tub? The Domaine Decelles resort on Lac Ste-Marie is also popular with snowmobile groups: each room is like a mini-apartment, and the immense kitchen is ideal for feasts fit for a (snow) king!
The trail network is well supplied with rest areas and shelters where snowmobilers can take a break and warm up: the teepee-shaped bivouac at Foret de l’Aigle, for example, or the Refuge de l’Ours at Montcerf, with its cozy wood stove (shoutout to the Ours Blancs snowmobile club, which maintains the shelter!).
In the Pontiac
This breathtakingly beautiful region lies just west of Gatineau. One of its best-known landmarks is the Eardley Escarpment. This rock “wall,” part of the Canadian Shield, rises 270 metres above the Ottawa Valley and stretches more than 30 kilometres along the Ottawa River.
Another Pontiac highlight is the PPJ Trail, a disused rail bed repurposed as a multi-use recreational pathway. In winter, the 92-km trail is open to snowmobiles. Sights along the way include Quebec’s longest covered bridge, the heritage home of a lumber baron, and Coulonge Falls Park with its awe-inspiring canyon. Feeling hungry or thirsty? Stop in at the Ancienne Banque restaurant and microbrewery on Isle aux Allumettes, where you can sample craft beer brewed with locally grown hops.
Not far from the PPJ Trail and easily accessible by snowmobile is the historic Spruceholme Inn, built in 1875 and one of the Pontiac’s architectural treasures. Amenities include a sauna and a friendly restaurant, Bryson’s Bistro du Bûcheron.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Escapade Eskimo on Otter Lake, just off trail 311, is perfect for couples. The owners of this enterprise operate a vineyard, a sugarbush and an orchard, as well as a dogsledding operation. They’ve also built a comfortable, well-equipped lodge with two “rustic chic” bedrooms, a complete kitchen and a hot tub. Stay an extra day and go for a dogsled ride through the woods. It’s a great way to get around in winter—and it makes a lot less noise than a two-stroke engine!