It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wanting to change things up a bit from our usual weekend routine of kayaking or hiking, we decided to go cycling. As we live in the Plateau sector of Gatineau, it is unbelievably easy to bike in minutes to Gatineau Park. Entering Gatineau Park from the pathway entrance just across from Tim Horton's on St. Raymond, we headed towards the Pioneers trail and the Gatineau Park Welcome Centre, located at P3. From here, heading East we continued on Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau, which runs near the road and has some short hills and plenty of turns and curves through the trees.
A quick right turn at an intersection and we are brought down another path that travels underneath Boulevard des Allumetieres to cross to the other side. From here, the trail eventually rejoins and follows along closely to Allumetieres until you exit on St. Raymond. A little detour through a residential area and we are back on the path, this time the Pioneers Pathway. Featuring a few hills and a wooden bridge over a creek, this trail passes through a relatively dense forest area, where the sun interacting with the tree leaves produced beautiful light rays to pass through.
Finally, the trail reaches one more intersection that leads us to the pedestrian overpass over Allumetieres, and towards home in the Plateau... and more bike trails through nature.
I can't stress it enough, Gatineau Park is a jewel, and a paradise in nature. Whether it is to hike, walk, kayak, cycle or anything else, the scenery is beautiful and stunning and the park is immaculate. You never leave for home disappointed so come on out, discover your paradise and enjoy!
Here are some pictures of our experiences out on the cycling trails. This trip was a loop that we did and was about 10km in distance, but at several points, there are plenty of options to stretch it even further and head off into new directions.
Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau
Heading up to the pedestrian overpass to cross over Allumetieres.
The view from this angle on the bridge looks like something you'd see in Montreal or Laval... are we still in Gatineau?
Heading onto the Sentier des Fées in the Plateau.
A perfect day out on the lake. Lac La Peche, located about 20 minutes West of Wakefield, is the largest lake in Gatineau Park. It is also possibly the most peaceful and relaxing to kayak. The beach is expansive, with plenty of room, making it easy to launch your kayak, canoe or small boat.
Today, the wind was fairly strong, which had the effect of creating strong enough waves to push you around in the water. Luckily shortly after lunch the winds died down and it was much more enjoyable.
This visit we decided to head to the left after setting off from the beach. We reached a small shore, perfect to get out at and stretch.
There are several points across the lake that look nice to visit, from the twin rocks that are popular for people to fish or jump in the water, to the sandy shorelines across to the other side.
Just like Lac Philippe, you are able to rent kayaks and canoes at the lake, so if you want to experience it but don't have your own, the opportunity is there.
Overall, the perfect setting to stay cool in the summer. The beach is quite large, the lake is definitely inviting and the blue and green panoramic landscape is relaxing to take in.
The only downside of this lake, whether coming to enjoy the beach or the water, is the gravel road that lasts about 8km, and takes 15-20 minutes to drive to reach the parking and the beach. While I understand that not every road can be paved, when they charge $12 vehicle access fee to reach the lake, it's not excusable. The dust flying as cars drive the road and though the parking is a bit much, and you are sure to have the rear of your car covered in dust by the time you arrive. Hopefully one day the NCC does the right thing and use the access money collected to pave the road.
Here are some pictures from our time out on the lake.
The twin rocks.
Heading to the shore to stretch.
The Pink Lake trail is definitely an emerald jewel in the Gatineau Park. From its sparkling green water to the many lookout and observation points, this trail has it all.
Easily accessible from the Gatineau Parkway, you are able to park at either the Pink Lake lookout or the Pink Lake trail parking lots. From here, the fun starts, and as the trail is a loop that circles the entire lake along its border, you have the choice to go clockwise or counter-clockwise. We chose the former for this visit. Exploring in this direction takes you to the best lookout points right from the start.
Pink Lake is very unique. Due to its sheltered location, provided by the surrounding trees and hills, the water is protected from most of the wind. This has the result of greatly limiting the movement of the water, and in fact, the water below 15m depth is void of any oxygen, a phenomenon that started over 10,000 years ago. The water receives its characteristic green hue due to the high algae content.
The following interpretation boards, posted along the trail help explain this unique geological location.
Needless to say, it's quite the sight to see and experience. As the lake is a sensitive area, visitors are asked to stay on the trails (which are very easy to follow), to help the regeneration process essential to the continued survival of the lake.
Walking the trail, you will come across plenty of lookout points, lots of stairs and sloping terrain, and plenty of benches to sit down and admire nature. The trail is more intermediate due to the climbs and stairs, but not as challenging as the King Mountain trail.
Overall, the Pink Lake trail is without a doubt among the top three trails of the park. The water, the scenery, the surrounding forests all combine to create a standout experience through nature.
Here are some photos from our visit to Pink Lake.
Finally the heat wave is over, and we can once again enjoy nature and the outdoors without working up a terrible sweat. Heading out around 10am, we forgot that it was Sunday Bike Day, meaning the parkways in Gatineau Park are closed to vehicle traffic. Our original destination would have been the Pink Lake trail, but not currently being accessible by car, we decided to go to the Discovery Trail instead, located along Meech Lake.
This trail can be accessed from the O'Brien's Beach parking lot (just minutes past Camp Fortune).
This trail starts off with some long hilly, but smooth terrain, before arriving at a small bridge crossing a stream off of Meech Lake. You can also catch a glimpse of the Lake and Kayakers in the distance... that was us just a few weeks earlier.
Continuing on, you will arrive at a signpost, at which you can head left and visit the Carbide Willson Ruins (see last year's report here: https://www.slopeedge.net/forum/topic/862-gatineau-park-carbide-willson-ruins/).
Overall, this is a relatively easy trail to enjoy. There are some climbs to do, but the terrain is all smooth and well maintained. The nature is stunning and the alternative views of Meech Lake by the small bridge are worth the visit.
More photos of the visit:
With the surprise arrival of warm summer like weather (finally...), the choice was simple, it was a perfect day to break out the kayaks.
Living only minutes from Gatineau Park, after a quick loading of the car, we were off to Meech Lake. Last year we parked at the P11 - O'Brien Beach lot. While it may be good for swimming, it was not the most ideal location to launch kayaks from as the beach is a bit small, and the fairly lengthy, narrow and hilly path to get from the parking to the water made transporting the kayaks very difficult, even with wheels underneath.
This time, we made the decision to park at the P12 lot, located approximately in the middle of the lake, and between both beaches. This lot has a small launch point, with the parking directly across from it. No hassle or pain this time thankfully.
Pushing off, we aimed our paddles for the far end of the lake. Passing plenty of spectacular scenery and picturesque vistas, we arrived near a marsh area where we found an artificial construction by the local beaver population.
Just an absolutely stunning place to kayak and enjoy nature. You can't help but fall in love with Gatineau Park.
Perfect day, perfect weather, and perfect blue bird skies. Couldn't ask for more. As before, I highly recommend Meech Lake for a kayaking or canoeing location, and for an easier time, definitely park at the P12 lot, it will make the experience much smoother to get your boat to the water.