Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is the outdoor playground for Canada's National Capital Region (Ottawa and Gatineau). It offers amazing possibilities for outdoor recreation, within a 20 minutes drive of either city. This includes: skiing (cross-country and downhill), hiking, canoeing, camping, rock-climbing, mountain biking, roller-blading, wildlife watching and leisurely strolls.

Get in

Gatineau Park starts just north of the city of Gatineau.



The park offers a wide variety of outdoors activities. Two very good maps are available that show the network of trails for both summer activities (biking, hiking, beach access) and winter sports (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing). The maps can be bought at the Capital Infocentre at 90 Wellington Street in Ottawa or the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, at 33 Scott Road, Chelsea. They are also available at the right time of year on the park website [link below]


There are many lakes in the park with beaches where you can go for a swim and a picnic. They tend to be crowded on hot weekend days.

There are 4 very good beaches at Lac Philippe. The 3 north beaches tend to get busy during peak summer weekends. You can also rent canoes on an hourly or daily basis to explore the lake. A good paddle, hike or bike ride to the south end of the lake will take you to a more secluded beach, and is also the trailhead for Lusk Caves (see below).

A small, quiet lake next to Lac Philippe, Taylor Lake has more private campsites, and offers a more peaceful and secluded camping experience.

There are beaches and swimming at Meech Lake, but the beaches are smaller and more crowded than those at Lac Phillipe.

A bit further than any of the other lakes from the city, but well worth the drive. Again there's a beautiful beach, with lots of sand, picnic tables, and rest rooms. Canoe rentals are also available and well worth it to explore the vast lake. You can easily spend days paddling around the whole lake, exploring nooks and crannies, streams and rivers. The lake is also home to the only canoe-camping in the park, and the sites offer the best in away-from-home camping. All sites are only accessible via canoe, and are far enough away from the beach to offer a very tranquil setting.


There's lots of great canoeing in Gatineau Park, on any of the lakes listed above, or some of the rivers surrounding the park (Ottawa River, Gatineau River). Canoes can be rented at Philippe Lake.


The park is packed with excellent hiking trails. Everything from a 20 minutes leisurely stroll in the woods, to all day hikes through valleys, across streams and around lakes. A trail map is a great help to help you navigate the wealth of trails available. The classic guide to the trails is "Historical Walks - The Gatineau Park Story" by Katherine Fletcher. This book also contains historical information about early settlers and how the park developed.


There are very few places inside the park that sell food. However, the villages of Wakefield and Chelsea close to the Philippe and Meech Lake areas of the park offers excellent dining options.



There are three places to camp in the park.


The nearby villages of Chelsea and Wakefield have a number of inns and bed and breakfasts which are reasonably priced.


The Mill Inn in nearby Wakefield offers top-range accommodation.


Gatineau Park Information and Ski Conditions: +1 819-827-2020 or +1-800-465-1867 (toll-free).

National Capital Commission Gatineau Park Website.

Stay safe

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