Hiking: the little-known trails of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau

Published on October 19 2020

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)

Quinn Falls

The Sentiers de la chute Quinn are located in the municipality of Montcerf-Lytton, near the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. You can start your hike directly at the falls, where there are several rest areas, or at Sentier La Plantation (at the other end). The Sentier au soleil is accessible from the many outfitters and campsites in the area.

The three trails follow each other from end to end, for a total of 10 kilometers. Depending on your walking speed, we calculate that the one-way trip can take between three and four hours. Starting from the falls, we set off on a beautiful wooded path with gentle drops. We continue our expedition on the Sentier au soleil, where the very bright rays caress our skin. On cool fall days, it’s all the more enjoyable! Finally, the Sentier La Plantation transports us to a wilder atmosphere and offers superb views.

Mont Morissette trails (Blue Sea)

Located less than 90 minutes’ drive north of Gatineau in the municipality of Blue Sea, Mont 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 Mont 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).

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