Gatineau Park is a large conservation park two hours away from Boisbriand, close to the capital city, Ottawa. The park has many walking and hiking trails and is a popular spot for bikers. It’s a great place for locals and tourists alike to get in touch with nature. We visited twice because we enjoyed the scenery and the trails. It was a perfect way to spend a sunny day for us.
Gatineau Park Part I
What makes Pink Lake unique is that it is meromictic. The upper and lower layers of the lake never mix because it is like a big bowl, protected by cliffs that block the wind. Because of this, there is no oxygen in the bottom of the lake and the only life in the bottom is pink anaerobic bacteria that are photosynthetic. Thus, the bottom of the lake is pink and the top of the lake is green because of the algae.
We looped around the lake on a beautiful sunny day, weaving in and out of the woods and the opening to the lake. The scenery was great, and the highlight was when we saw a lone baby turtle swimming all by itself. It was too small (about two inches) and too far away, rippling in the water, for the camera to pick up without a special zoom lens. Such an adorable sighting, this is the kind of thing you see out in nature that is just priceless.
Our next adventure was a short hike up to the summit of King Mountain. This was a very short steep climb to the top, an extremely easy hike for a nice view of the countryside.
Champlain Lookout and Trail
The Champlain Lookout is one of the most popular lookouts at the park. We started with the viewpoint before walking the short trail into the woods, overlooking another viewpoint.
Étienne Brûlé Lookout
Lastly, we ended our time at the park that day at Étienne Brûlé Lookout, a nice place to picnic.
Gatineau Park Part II
Wolf Trail and Blanchet Beach
Returning to Gatineau, we hiked a longer trail this time on Wolf Trail. This was rated a difficult hike, but we were surprised to find it easy. Most of the hike was flat except for the steep climb to the summit, which was not strenuous at all. It was misleading because we thought we were going to get a workout, but despite so, it was still a good time.
Afterward, we visited Meech Lake across the street to check out the tiny beach flocked with people. The scene was like a typical New England style, beach-going sight.
Mackenzie King Estate
The old estate of Canada’s longest-serving prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, is a lovely property that has been transformed into a tearoom. Surrounded by nature, the cottage has wooded walking paths leading to a waterfall. It’s a popular spot for weddings and photo shoots and is visited by many people annually.
If you’re visiting Ottawa, Gatineau Park is an easy visit if you want to escape the city and bond with nature. None of the hikes or the walking trails are difficult, so this is suitable for all ages, as well as families with young children. Whether you want to do an easy hike or just get in some steps, this is a nice place for it.