10 family hiking trails to discover this fall in the Outaouais
Hiking and outdoor enthusiasts, take advantage of autumn to get outdoors with your family and explore the trails of the Outaouais. Make the most of the colours and cooler weather to admire the beauty of nature from new vantage points while introducing your children to hiking.
1. The trails at Mont Cayamant Park
Visit the municipality of Cayamant and discover the five trails (total length 8 km) managed by the PERO – Pôle d’excellence en récréotourisme en Outaouais. Mont Cayamant also has a 24-metre observation tower that offers a spectacular view of Lake Cayamant and the surrounding area. Although the trails are rated easy, the mountain has 563 stairs in the heart of the forest. It’s a great family challenge!
498 Chemin du Petit Cayamant, Cayamant, J0X 1Y0
Open all year
Leashed dogs are welcome.
2. The trails at the Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve
Go for a hike along the 12 kilometres of trails in the Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserv. Try Le Ouaouaron (“the bullfrog”), a 2.3-kilometre loop that traverses one of the oldest forests in Quebec, with trees over 400 years old. The trail is rated intermediate and has a positive gradient of 74 metres. Along the way, you’ll pass two lakes and a beaver lodge and dam. The trail can be completed in about 45 minutes.
300 Chemin Saddler, Mayo
The trails and welcome centre are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Adult: $8 | Senior (age 65+): $7 | Student (age 18+): $6 | Child (age 5 to 17): $5 | Family: $18
To avoid disturbing the physical environment and endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species, pets are not allowed on the site. | Prams and strollers are strongly discouraged, as the trails have a lot of stairs. If you have young children, you should carry them.
3. The trails at the Centre de plein air du Lac-Beauchamp
For a spur-of-the-moment family outing, take advantage of the proximity of the 15 kilometres of trails at the Centre de plein air du Lac-Beauchamp. Some trails take about 15 minutes to complete, while others take almost an hour. Near the trails, you’ll find the outdoor centre’s pavilion, a playground and a picnic area. It’s the ideal place to have a fun day in the great outdoors without having to venture far from home.
741 Maloney Blvd. East, Gatineau
The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. | The outdoor centre’s pavilion is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | The equipment rental office is open Saturday and Sunday only.
You can rent walking poles for a three-hour period at the equipment rental office. | There’s free visitor parking.
4. The trails at the Centre de plein air du Lac-Leamy
Located in the heart of the Hull sector, the Centre de plein air du Lac-Leamy is an ideal place to enjoy nature in an urban setting. Take advantage of the picnic area to share a meal al fresc with your family, and let your children blow off steam in the play area. You can bike around the lake on the recreational path, which is also great for strollers. The terrain is fairly flat, perfect for a leisurely stroll in the sunshine. Walk down to the beach and take a moment to admire the unobstructed view across the lake to the Casino du Lac-Leamy.
100 Atawe Road, Gatineau
The outdoor centre’s pavilion is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. | The equipment rental office is open Saturday and Sunday only, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Leashed dogs are welcome. | There’s free visitor parking.
5. The trails at Champboisé de L’Ange-Gardien
The property at Champboisé de L’Ange-Gardien has five kilometres of walking trails. Take a stroll along the banks of the Lièvre River in a beautiful wooded setting and breathe in the fresh air. Take part in a unique family activity as you search for the geocaching caches scattered around the site.
1521 Route 309, L’Ange-Gardien
The trails are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To avoid disturbing the physical environment and endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species, pets are not allowed on the site. | The site is managed by the Centre Nautique de la Lièvre.
6. The trails at Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park needs no introduction. In its 361 square kilometres of forest, you’re sure to find a trail you like! Some trails, like the Pink Lake trail, have lots of stairs; others, like the Wolf trail, require sustained physical effort; and some, like the Mackenzie King Estate trail, are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Find out more about the different options to suit your needs.
33 Scott Road, Chelsea
Until October 31, the Visitor Centre is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | As of November 1, it’s open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free. | There is a charge for access to some of the parking lots.
To avoid disturbing the physical environment and endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species, pets are not allowed on some of the trails. Before you set off, check whether the trail you intend to take allows dogs on a leash.
7. The trails at Parc des Montagnes Noires in Ripon
The trails at Parc des Montagnes Noires in Ripon are varied. The Belvedere Trail, a 4-km loop linking the parking area, the lookout and the 12-metre observation tower, is one of the most popular. It’s rated medium difficulty and takes just over an hour to complete. The park also offers a geocaching activity. Engage the whole family in a quest to find the seven caches, and sign the log book in each one as proof of your discovery.
39 Chemin de la Montagne Noire, Ripon
Sunday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Friday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday: 9 .m. to 6 p.m.
Adult (age 18+): $8.70 | Child (age 6 to 17): $4.35 | Child (age 5 and under): Free | Family: $21.74
Leashed dogs are welcome. | There’s no food service on site, so plan to bring your own meals and snacks.
8. The First Nations Trail at Parc Omega
Parc Omega is well known for its safari-style car trail, but did you know that it also has well-maintained hiking trails? Walk the First Nations Trail, a site unique in North America that pays tribute to the 11 First Nations and Inuit peoples of Quebec. Pass under the wings of the Thunderbird, a symbolic and protective figure for many of the First Nations. Take a leisurely stroll along the Allée des arbres qui parlent (“talking trees lane”) and admire the totem poles created by Algonquin artist Denis Charette.
399 Route 323 North, Montebello
The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission at 4 p.m.
Adult (age 16+): $40.88 | Senior (age 65+): $36.53 | Child (age 6 to 15): $30.44 | Child (age 2 to 5): $16.05 | Ticket price includes admission to the car trail. | Family discounts are available for certain ticket types.
To avoid disturbing the physical environment and endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species, pets are not allowed on the site.
9. The trails at Mont Morissette Regional Park
Mont Morissette Regional Park near Blue Sea has 13 km of marked walking trails. Set a family challenge and climb to the highest platform of the 18-metre observation tower for breathtaking views of a dozen lakes, including majestic Blue Sea Lake. Then make your way to the mountaintop hut and warm up by the wood stove.
Chemin du Lac Long, Blue Sea
Open all year
Leashed dogs are welcome.
10. The trail in the historical park at Coulonge Falls Adventure Park
Coulonge Falls Adventure Park is both an outdoor adventure park and an interpretation centre. Known for its via ferrata and zip line, it also has a 1.5-kilometre walking trail that showcases the history of the log drive in the area. Follow the trail at your own pace, read the interpretation panels along the way to learn more about this chapter in local history, and finish your walk by observing the majestic 48-metre falls.
100 Promenade du Parc-des-Chutes, Mansfield-et-Pontefract
The historical park is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Adult (age 17+): $8.70 | Senior (age 65+): $5.20 | Child (age 6 to 17): $5.20 | Child (under 5): Free | Additional charge for activities such as the via ferrata and the zip line.
Leashed dogs are welcome. | Admission fee includes access to a low ropes obstacle course for all ages and a children’s splash pad.
BONUS: Downtown Gatineau’s Culture Trail
Thanks to downtown Gatineau’s Culture Trail, you don’t have to choose between your love of nature and your artistic side. Introduce your friends and family to public art while spending time outdoors on a trail linking 40 urban artworks and 9 local tourist attractions. To see all the works, start your walk at the Maison du tourisme, Gatineau’s tourist information office.
103 Laurier Street, Gatineau
Until October 15
Leashed dogs are welcome.
Learn good forest habits with your family. Contribute to the conservation and restoration of local flora and fauna by staying on the trails. Take care, and enjoy your walk!
For even more family activities in the Outaouais, check out our fall bucket list.