Hiking: the little-known trails of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau
Looking for new hikes and interesting, uncrowded routes? You’ll love the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, with its abundance of scenic and little-known trails. Boasting wooded landscapes, lakes and rivers as far as the eye can see, the region is an incredible playground for outdoor enthusiasts. This fall, you can venture south of the Baskatong Reservoir into a lush natural environment much appreciated by hunting and fishing enthusiasts, or towards Mount Morissette, whose 400-metre peak dominates the area.
Here are our trail suggestions, all located less than 2½ hours from Gatineau–Ottawa.
Sentiers des chutes de la montagne (Grand-Remous)
On the way to Grand-Remous, make a stop at the Savoyard covered bridge (built in 1931). Its 102-metre span over the Gatineau River offers a breathtaking view of the Grand-Remous rapids.
The Sentiers des chutes de la montagne (“mountain falls trails”) consist of three loops with a total length of 8 kilometres. The trailhead is at the Sentier du lac de la montagne (“mountain lake trail”). This is where you can leave your car before beginning your climb. Put on your hiking boots and prepare to marvel at the countless lookouts over the Gatineau River!
The first trail is an ascent over rocky terrain to a summit from which you can see the burner chimney of the old Grand-Remous sawmill. The second trail, aptly named the Sentier du bûcheron (“lumberjack trail”), is a gentler loop through the forest. The third and final loop leads to the impressive mountain waterfall and the smaller but equally pleasant lake waterfall.
While you’re in the area, a stop at La Pointe à David is a must. Located on a peninsula in the heart of Lake Baskatong, this outfitter offers long sandy beaches where you can go for a free walk. Want to spend the night? Several rooms are available at the inn.
Domaine Pine Grove trails (Philomène Bay)
Also south of the Baskatong Reservoir, there are five short trails at Domaine Pine Grove, located on a scenic peninsula overlooking Philomène Bay. The trails traverse varied terrain ranging from marshland to woodland clearings and waterfront.
Because of hunting season, the trails are closed until November 22.
Sentiers de la chute Quinn (Montcerf-Lytton)
Les Sentiers de la chute Quinn sont situés dans la municipalité de Montcerf-Lytton, à proximité de la réserve faunique La Vérendrye. Vous pouvez entamer votre randonnée directement à la chute, où l’on trouve plusieurs aires de repos, ou au Sentier La Plantation (à l’autre extrémité). Le Sentier au soleil est accessible depuis les nombreuses pourvoiries et campings du coin.
Les trois pistes se suivent bout à bout, pour un total de 10 kilomètres. Selon votre vitesse de marche, on calcule que l’aller simple peut prendre entre trois et quatre heures. En partant de la chute, on s’élance sur un beau chemin boisé offrant des dénivellations douces. On poursuit notre expédition sur le Sentier au soleil, très lumineux, où les rayons viennent caresser notre peau. Lors des journées fraîches d’automne, c’est d’autant plus agréable ! Finalement, le Sentier La Plantation nous transporte dans une ambiance plus sauvage et offre de superbes points de vue.
Mount Morissette trails (Blue Sea)
Located less than 90 minutes’ drive north of Gatineau in the municipality of Blue Sea, Mount Morissette Regional Park is the perfect place to contemplate the forested landscape of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. From the mountain’s 400-metre summit, you can take in a panoramic view of a dozen lakes, including majestic Blue Sea Lake. With a protected area of nearly 600 hectares, it has 13 kilometres of hiking trails.
As you set off into the forest, don’t miss the heritage fire tower, erected in 1930 (Trail 1). There are also an 18-metre observation tower and a mountaintop lookout. After your climb, rest your legs and warm yourself by the fire in the beautiful four-season shelter at the summit.
The three trails at Mount Morissette are diverse enough to suit all abilities. Trail 1 leads directly to the summit, while Trail 2 makes a big loop around the mountain through a magnificent hardwood forest. Keep your eyes peeled—you may come across beavers at work! Trail 3 is considered the most difficult: a good six kilometres through dense forest, full of challenges for more experienced hikers!
It’s hunting season: be smart, be safe!
Most hiking trails remain open during the hunting season, but it’s advisable to wear an orange safety vest. Extra caution is advised between November 7 and 22.
Check whether your trail is open by consulting the PERO website (in French only).