May 18 to 24: Three Observation Towers in Outaouais
The hiking season is now in full swing and it’s a common thing to borrow the traditional paths. Instead, think outside the box, and visit one the following three observation towers.
Mont Morissette Regional Park
Located in Blue Sea, Mont Morissette rises to a height of 400 meters and covers an area of 589 hectares. Thirteen kilometers of marked trails for hiking in the mixed forest await nature enthusiasts. Dive into the park’s history by stopping at the interpretive signs that recall the great moments of the fight against forest fires. At the summit, an 18 meters high observation tower offering visitors a spectacular panoramic view of a dozen lakes, including the majestic Blue Sea Lake. You can even climb its 80 plus steps.
A small shelter at the summit of the mountain also welcomes you in time for a little fire in the wood stove. It doesn’t get any more charming than this, right?
Luskville Falls Trail
Another beautiful little hidden gem of the region: The Luskville Falls Trail. These falls flow over the Eardley Escarpment, a natural habitat like no other. The lower part of the falls is almost vertical and, below that, a stream winds its way from the base of the falls. To add to the unique scenery, the trail follows the stream up to the fire tower at the top of the Eardley Escarpment. In the past, forest rangers used it to monitor for signs of forest fires on the horizon. During the climb, three lookouts give a striking view of the Ottawa River. This hike can sometimes be particularly difficult, due to the elevation of the mountain. Howe'ver, the elusive view is worth the effort!
Spring is the best season to visit the site, since the fall transforms into a huge waterfall after snowmelt, which comes late in the area.
Maniwaki’s Forest Fire Prevention History Interpretation Centre
Did you know? Several decades ago, the province of Quebec had more than 500 observation towers in use. Several of those were located in the forests around the Maniwaki area. It’s also world-renowned for it’s technical excellence in preventing and fighting forest fires.
You can now climb up an 80 feet high recently reconstructed tower at the Interpretation Centre next to the Chateau Logue. You will learn how the relationship of man, forests and fire has evolved over the centuries and how man has learned to use his imagination to better protect our common treasure, which is the forest.
While you are there, your family will enjoy a variety of activities such as a trip in a voyageur canoe, or rabaska, on a section of the Gatineau River or glide along the Désert River, which flows through town. You can also relax on one of the many deserted beaches and enjoy a picnic.
Photo Credit: QuebecPanorama.com | Bernard Déry