a peek inside the fishbowl

21 May, 2015

Family hike! Checking out two easy trails in Gatineau Park

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa|travel talk

One of the great things about where we live is our proximity to Gatineau Park. A visit doesn’t need to involve a 100 km bike ride or a daylong trail blazing trek, it can be much simpler. So on Sunday we decided to pop in the car and to check out two easy Gatineau Park hiking trails.

Sidebar: I recently stumbled upon a phrase which totally defines my approach to this kind of thing: Shinrin-yoku – which translates as “forest bathing” – a Japanese term for visiting a forest for relaxation and recreation. Isn’t that great? I am ALL ABOUT THE SHINRIN YOKU, yo.

We drove up to the Champlain Lookout and took a short hiking trail that’s in behind it. You’d hardly know it was there actually. We haven’t bothered with it on previous visits, but we were so glad we took an hour to do it this time around. It’s very scenic and quiet, and SHORT. At only 1.4K it’s pretty much a stroll in the park that can be achieved without too much perspiration.

Behold the moss! (I like moss.)

I am a fan of moss.

Trillium specimen

Trillium spotting is easy to do

Walking along the trail behind Champlain Lookout

Scenic lookout, from the tail behind Champlain Lookout

Visitors to Champlain Lookout will recognize the view, but it’s much quieter here. With no smokers or motorbikes revving up behind you. :|

I should point out that this area is part of the Eardley Escarpment and it’s home to some special flora and fauna that is exclusive to the area. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older but I do enjoy interpretive trails like this one. I get more enjoyment out of the experience when I know what I’m looking at, and plaques along the way are quite helpful and interesting. Also, there’s no getting lost!

How to get to the Champlain Lookout trail in Gatineau Park:

  1. Check the NCC website to find your preferred way to get to Champlain Lookout.
  2. Park in the large lot.
  3. The trail begins underneath the paved lookout area. You’ll take a set of stairs downwards. The trail is a loop that ends closer to the parking lot where you started. Easy peasy.

(Good to know: there are outhouses in the parking lot!)

On the way home we decided to check out the Waterfall Trail. It’s the other side of the Mackenzie King estate, which is also a worthwhile visit.

How old was this tree?

Stay on the trail kid!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen water in the waterfall before. It’s always been dry, so I was happy to see it alive and well again.

The waterfall at the end of Waterfall Trail, Mackenzie King Estate

It was a pretty nice stroll for a Sunday!

7 Responses to "Family hike! Checking out two easy trails in Gatineau Park"

1 | Claudette

May 21st, 2015 at 11:17 am


This is PERFECT. We may come back to Ottawa for a few days this summer to finish visiting the museums we missed last time, and Gatineau park is on the books for must see. Thank you for this!

C (formerly Javamom)

2 | Lynn

May 21st, 2015 at 11:43 am


These look amazing- I’m actually ashamed to say that we have never, not once, taken the kids to Gatineau Park. This is going on my Summer of Awesome list this year for sure.

3 | Ovenbird

May 21st, 2015 at 12:56 pm


Gatineau Park is such an amazing place. So wild, so close. The songbirds are back…and they’re loud and clear.
The health benefit research is in….everyone should Shinrin-yoku at least once a week. It’s free for the taking and there’s no excuse not to if you live in Ottawa-Gatineau.

4 | Brenda A

May 21st, 2015 at 2:01 pm


Lucky you to see water at the waterfall! We have struck out many times!

5 | Piggyback Rider

July 10th, 2015 at 3:47 am


What a beautiful paradise!
It has fantastic trails and overlooking view.

7 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Rediscovering Gatineau this summer (part 1) - a peek inside the fishbowl

July 10th, 2017 at 3:09 pm


[…] visited Gatineau in the winter to enjoy the festivities at Jacques Cartier Park, and of course, hiked in Gatineau Park and discovered some amazing and wild […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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