Gatineau Park is the gateway to Ottawa-Gatineau's richest network of hiking trails, clear lakes and tree covered hills. Just 15 minutes away from downtown Ottawa and in clear view from the Parliament Buildings, the park without a doubt remains one of the biggest attractions in the city.
With spring in bloom (soon, we hope at least), now's the time to return to these hills so close to the city. Here's 12 outdoorsy activities you need to do in Gatineau Park this summer:
Take a hike around Pink Lake
This fairly easy trek takes you around what is arguably the most beautiful lake in Gatineau Park. The 2.5km walk gives you access to pristine viewpoints of the turquoise waters and the surrounding cliffs.
Climb to the top of King Mountain for some unreal views
Stare off into the distance over the Ottawa Valley from this scenic viewpoint that stands tall over 300 metres above sea level.
Explore the Lusk Caves
Formed from a melting glacier, this unique site near Lac Mousseau is another one of many scenic hikes in Gatineau. Just don't forget to bring a swimsuit and an extra pair of shoes.
Zipline through the trees at Camp Fortune
Soar through the trees nearby one of Ottawa's most popular ski destinations at their huge network of ziplines. Prices are $35 for adults and more information can be found here.
Or explore the scenic trails on the ski hill
Just because there's no snow doesn't mean you can't head to the hills. Climb to the top of Camp Fortune to enjoy some views of Gatineau Park turning green in the spring and wander through the trails that wind through the forests. Just watch out for mountain bikers, though.
Hike to the Carbide Willson Ruins and its waterfall
A former experimental facility and now a scenic ruin perched next to a waterfall. Take the 30 minute walk from Lac Meech and don't forget to bring your camera!
Camp at an adorable 4-Season Tent Near Lac Phillipe
These rustic cabins can accommodate 4 people and start at as little as $75.60 per night in May. No tent, no excuses. More info here.
Bike to the Champlain Lookout via the Champlain Parkway
Take the parkway along some of the best-paved roads in the park, or take the scenic drive uphill. No matter how you get there, the view is always worth it at the end.
Explore the ruins of Former Prime Minister Mackenzie King's private estate
Walk in the footsteps of a Canadian Prime Minister and roam around his favourite lot in Gatineau Park. The ruins are also next to Lac Kingsmere, which is one of the most beautiful, secluded lakes in the park.
Visit Luskville Falls
Take the scenic drive to the town of Luskville and trek up to the falls that stream down the rocky slopes of the Gatineau Hills. If you continue upwards to the top, you'll be gifted a stunning view of the Ottawa River from above.
Go swimming at Morrison's Quarry
Located just outside Gatineau Park beside Lac Brown and Lac Carman, this gorgeous quarry near Wakefield had to be included in this list. Swim in the clear waters on a typical humid summer day or brave the bungee cord on top of the quarry -- the highest in Canada.
Spend a day at the beach at La Pêche Lake
After an hour's drive to the west of Gatineau Park you'll arrive at a small sandy beach that's both one of the nicest and least crowded in the spring and summertime.
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