10 family hiking trails to discover this fall in the Outaouais

Published on September 26 2023

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!

Where

498 Chemin du Petit Cayamant, Cayamant, J0X 1Y0

When

Open all year

Cost

Free

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome.

Learn more

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.

Where

300 Chemin Saddler, Mayo

When

The trails and welcome centre are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost

Adult: $8 | Senior (age 65+): $7 | Student (age 18+): $6 | Child (age 5 to 17): $5 | Family: $18

Good to know

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.

Learn more

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.

Where

741 Maloney Blvd. East, Gatineau

When

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.

Cost

Free

Good to know

You can rent walking poles for a three-hour period at the equipment rental office. | There’s free visitor parking.

Learn more

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.

Where

100 Atawe Road, Gatineau

When

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.

Cost

Free

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome. | There’s free visitor parking.

Learn more

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.

Where

1521 Route 309, L’Ange-Gardien

When

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.

Cost

Free

Good to know

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.

Learn more

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.

Where

33 Scott Road, Chelsea

When

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.

Cost

Free. | There is a charge for access to some of the parking lots.

Good to know

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.

Learn more

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.

Where

39 Chemin de la Montagne Noire, Ripon

When

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.

Cost

Adult (age 18+): $8.70 | Child (age 6 to 17): $4.35 | Child (age 5 and under): Free | Family: $21.74

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome. | There’s no food service on site, so plan to bring your own meals and snacks.

Learn more

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.

Where

399 Route 323 North, Montebello

When

The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission at 4 p.m.

Cost

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.

Good to know

To avoid disturbing the physical environment and endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species, pets are not allowed on the site.

Learn more

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.

Where

Chemin du Lac Long, Blue Sea

When

Open all year

Cost

Free

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome.

Learn more

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.

Where

100 Promenade du Parc-des-Chutes, Mansfield-et-Pontefract

When

The historical park is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Cost

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.

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome. | Admission fee includes access to a low ropes obstacle course for all ages and a children’s splash pad.

Learn more

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.

Where

103 Laurier Street, Gatineau

When

Until October 15

Cost

Free

Good to know

Leashed dogs are welcome.

Learn more

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!

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For even more family activities in the Outaouais, check out our fall bucket list.

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