In snowshoe and cross-country ski heaven!
Are you a snowshoe person or a cross-country ski person? Classic or skate skiing? Whatever your preference, the Outaouais has a trail for you! From one end of the territory to the other, from urban areas to the depths of the forest, there are hundreds, even thousands of kilometres to cover. Sunday hiker or competitive cross-country skier, all you have to do is choose your route for maximum fun. Check out our suggestions to make the most of our region’s winter offering!
Day trip with Aventure Hélianthe
Here, there’s no compromise! Sign up for an unforgettable snowshoe expedition in the heart of the Davidson Forest. Aventure Hélianthe offers day trips for the whole family. On your introductory winter outing, you’ll be accompanied by a guide as you explore the region’s backcountry landscapes. Afterwards, you can tuck into a hearty hiker’s meal, because these expeditions definitely whet the appetite! Once you’ve got a feel for the sport, you can come back whenever you like to explore the territory. Aventure Hélianthe also offers various outdoor survival and winter camping experiences.
314 Principale Street, Mansfield-et-Pontefract
Day trip with guide: adult $35, child (under 12) $10. Snowshoe rental: $10. Hiker’s meal: adult $20, child $10.
The introductory guided excursion is mandatory. Afterwards, you can purchase a season pass.
Leamy Lake, great for beginners
Make the most of the beautiful winter days without leaving the city! More than 15 kilometres of trails await you at the Centre de plein air du Lac-Leamy. The trails are suitable for cross-country skiers and snowshoers of all abilities, and will take you around the lake or along the Gatineau River. It’s an ideal place to introduce your toddlers to winter sports. With many lookout points and bird feeders along the trails, it’s also a lovely spot to go for a walk. Looking for a challenge? Take the longest trail (Leamy Lake Creek), which leads to the Relais plein air in Gatineau Park.
100 Atawe Street (formerly Lac-Leamy Road), Gatineau
The pavilion is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The trails are open from dawn to dusk.
Site admission and parking are free. If you have your own equipment, you don’t need to book a time to use the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Snowshoe rental (2-hour block): adult $12, child $8.50. Cross-country ski rental (3-hour block): adult $18, child $13. Free rental with an Accès Gatineau + card!
Equipment rental is done online via the City of Gatineau’s citizen portal (web page in French only), and a valid Accès Gatineau or Acccès Gatineau + card is required to make a reservation. The park is dog-friendly.
Nakkertok Nordic: A huge cross-country ski centre with a family vibe
Founded in 1971, Nakkertok Nordic is Eastern Canada’s largest cross-country ski club. Just 15 minutes from downtown, it offers a vast 80-kilometre trail network in the heart of the Collines-de-l’Outaouais. At Nakkertok South, in Cantley, access the main chalet and trails perfect for snowshoeing and skiing (classic or skate). With two illuminated trail loops, consider a little night skiing! At Nakkertok North, in Val-des-Monts, you can enjoy a more rugged classic ski experience, with small wood-heated cabins. For experienced skiers, the north and south sectors are connected by a challenging 24–kilometre backcountry corridor.
900 Gatineau Avenue, Gatineau
Non-member day passes and annual memberships (season passes) are available online. Day pass: Cross-country skiing Adult: $15 / Youth (13–17) & student (18+): $10 / Child (under 13): Free Family: $30 | Snowshoeing Adult: $7 / Youth (13–17) & student (18+): $5 / Child (under 13): Free / Family: $15
The club offers courses as well as friendly athletic competitions. Access to Nakkertok South is on the north side of Gatineau Avenue. Access to Nakkertok North is via Route 366, east of the junction with Route 307.
Parc des Montagnes Noires: a little slice of heaven!
Your list of winter destinations should include the Parc des Montagnes Noires (Black Mountains Park) in Ripon. In the Petite Nation, this peak is a paradise for outdoor activities! There are more than 10 kilometres of hiking and snowshoe trails, and cross-country skiers can practise their classic or skate skiing along 13 kilometres of shared recreational trails. The level of the trails varies from easy to difficult, providing fun for everyone. The Montagnes Noires are a huge natural playground; besides the magnificent pine– and maple-forested valleys, you’ll enjoy the panoramic views from the top of Mont Grand-Pic and the observation tower.
39 Montagne-Noire Road, Ripon
The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. The welcome centre is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free for Riponnais passholders. For residents of the Papineau RCM: Infant/toddler: Free / Child: $3 / Adult: $6 / Family: $17 | For non-residents: Infant/toddler: Free / Child: $4 / Adult: $8 / Family: $20
You can access the trails from five parking lots. You can warm up by the fire in the Des Pins shelter. The park also offers on-demand equipment rental (cross-country skis, Hok skis, snowshoes, tubes, sleds) at the Stéphane-Richer welcome centre.
Worth discovering: the Parcours Louis-Joseph-Papineau
You’ll be amazed by the superb trails of the Club de ski de randonnée des Montagnes Blanches (White Mountains Cross-Country Ski Club) in Saint-André-Avellin! In an enchanting setting, go for an invigorating outing on the ski and snowshoe trails, accessible to everyone and maintained by dedicated volunteers. From the Auberge Petite-Nation to Camp Sajo, nature lovers will be delighted by the 25 kilometres of woodland winter trails. Be sure to pause to admire the breathtaking panoramic views from the scenic lookouts.
The trailhead is behind the Auberge Petite-Nation – 35 Principale Street, Saint-André-Avellin
Free. The Club de ski de randonnée des Montagnes Blanches, whose volunteers maintain the trails, sells a fundraising trail map, available at the Brasse-Camarade convenience store near the trails.
No on-site equipment rental. Dogs on leash are welcome.
Gatineau Park: a world-class trail network!
Will one winter be enough to explore all the trails in Gatineau Park? It offers—brace yourself!—70 kilometres for snowshoeing and 200 for skiing! It’s one of North America’s most extensive cross-country ski networks, with 50 groomed trails ranging in level of difficulty from easy to very difficult. Classic and skate skiers alike will find their happy place in the heart of the picturesque landscape. As you glide (or tromp) through the forest, past frozen lakes and through snow-covered valleys, take advantage of the many lookouts, and warm up by the fire in the shelters along the trail. A must, just a few steps from the city!
33 Scott Road, Chelsea
A day or season pass is required to access the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Adult day pass: ski $20, snowshoe $10.
The park has access points in several sectors. To better plan your outing, consult the recommended cross-country ski trails, ask for suggestions at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, or design your own route using the interactive map. Need equipment? Ski and snowshoe rental is available at the Relais plein air.
Mountain views at Lac Sainte-Marie
In the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, the recreational pathways at Lac Sainte-Marie are transformed into cross-country ski (classic and skate) and snowshoe trails. Plan a nature hike with a magnificent view of Mont Sainte-Marie. The trail network (about 10 kilometres) includes easy and difficult sections.
76 De la Montagne Road, Lac Sainte-Marie
The trail map is available on Expedition LSM’s Facebook page. Please note that the golf course parking lot is not open to the public in winter. We suggest using the one at the end of Davos Road or the one on Lac-Sainte-Marie Road midway between Ryanville Road and De la Montagne Road.
Did you know that the Outaouais hosts two high-profile ski events every winter? There’s still time to register for the Gatineau Loppet or the Canadian Ski Marathon! This year’s challenges (for all levels) will be in virtual form, but just as exciting!
No equipment? No excuses! Drop by Sport Échange Outaouais, which offers rental, sales and service of new and used outdoor gear.
So, are you as pumped as we are? Strap on your skis or snowshoes and get out there to enjoy those beautiful winter days. And as long as there’s snow, there are still plenty of other places to explore in the region!