Gatineau Park, Ottawa
camping only crosses my mind as rare and special occasions in my hometown. here, canadians love to go camping during summer and it's a typical canadian must-do activity. all you need to do is reserve a camping site (online booking), buy a tent (if you go with 2 people, buy a 4 pax tent, trust me.. speaking from my experience), pack some food for bbq, a book / a guitar (might come in handy as you can serenade to yourselve/someone etc), drive yourselve to the park, find ur reserved spot, set your tent, start ur camp fire, voila..
i was lucky to see many deers there, 3 to be exact, looking at me as if i'm the trespasser (or was i??), a loone (which is a very famous canadian duck, the one on the 1 dollar coin, that's why they call it the loony), grey bushy-tailed squirrels, chipmunks.. but i can't find moose there :) nor bears, porbably a good thing.
if you were to camp in the gatineau park, this cave adventure is a must for you. there was about an hour walk from our camp site to the cave, just follow the trail and it will lead you there. i have been told that to explore the cave you need a tour guide or something like that. well, i just went there without supervisory, no guide and no helmet, just my throbbing heart with exhilaration.
no doubt, the adventure is short but thrilling. do watch out for your head and steps, as you have to bend your knees through freezing water.
reminder : bring along torch light and some change of clothes.
If your heart if screaming to get away from the traffic jams and glass buildings take a bus/car across the river and go for a nice long stroll in the Gatineau park. Although there many places worth seeing in the park, it is almost impossible to get around there without a car. The distances are just too long for a hike and there is no public transportation. Renting a bike might be an option, or why not just walk around without any sightseeing objectives in mind.
I personally went for a 16 km hike to the Pink lake and back, and it was really worth it!
Just a 15-minute drive into Québec takes you to Gatineau Park’s 363 square kilometres of Canadian Shield wilderness. Sandy beaches on clear, cool lakes are perfect for picnics-and dips on summer afternoons. Many hiking trails await, from convenient short loops to overnight treks.
I went to the Lac Phillippe-Parent Beach in Gatineau Park for a relaxing afternoon of suntanning! The lake is gorgeous with white sand, paved trails, washroom facilities, lifeguards and beach volleyball courts.
Others in VT have shown you pictures of Kingsmere, the Gatineau Park home of Mackenzie King, our Prime Minister through World War 2, and the man who was in touch with his spirits-side. For all his quirks, he had a home in the midst of much beauty. He wasn't happy with just natural wonders and decided that he needed some ruins - so he bought some overseas and brought them to Kingsmere.
Do yourselves a favour: Get out of the city and go hiking (or even driving) in Gatineau Park, especially around the 2nd through 4th weeks of October. The panoramic views are stunning, and the colours are absolutely out of this world. If you can't understand the attraction of leaves, just trust me. It'll be worth your time.
Gatineau Park is definitely one of the gems of the Ottawa area. Drive an additional 10 minutes north on Highway 5 and you'll end up in the bohemian village of Wakefield, one of the prettiest little towns in Canada. This English speaking village is a must see and is home to the famous Black Sheep Inn playing incredible live music, Chez Eric which is one of the best places to eat within the Ottawa area and tonnes of hiking trails and little boutiques. The town also hosts the steam train which stops in Wakefield for a couple of hours each day. Wakefield is a definite must for both tourists and locals alike.
GATINEAU PARK is 363 sq. kms of land hills and lakes nw and across the Ottawa River.
Dricing is easiest, but you can also bike in, no public transport - a pity ;-(
=== Summer Activities include
>Birdwatching >Camping >Canada Day at Mackenzie King Estate >Canoeing >Driving in the Park >Horseback Riding >Equipment Rentals >Fishing and Boating >Sleepovers >Hang Gliding and Paragliding >>Hiking
>Horseback Riding >Mackenzie King Estate Visits
>Mountain Biking >Nature Interpretation
>Orienteering >Parkway Cycling and Sunday Bikedays >Picnic Areas >Swimming and Beaches
Located about 15 minutes away from Parliament Hill on the Quebec shore of the Ottawa River, Gatineau Park is a beautiful conservation park. Set in the magical landscape of the Gatineau Hills, the park is open to visitors year round and it offers numerous nature trails along with a 30 km scenic parkway. While you're there, don't forget to stop by the Mackenzie King Estate (see my things to do tip)!
Mackenzie King Estate within the Gatineau Park ===,
William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada's 10th prime minister. During a career that spanned some fifty years — half of that as prime minister — King guided Canada along the path from semi-colonial status to complete autonomy.
=== although it is not fat away from downtown Ottawa, ones needs a car to get there, alternatively, a resident VT Friend.
===historically and architecturally interesting.
Gatineau Park on the Quebec side of the rivers is only 15 minutes away -- if you don't get stuck crossing a bridge. Hundreds of kilometres of trails are open to walkers and mountain bikers, and in the winter to cross-country skiers. The park is very large, and it is possible to escape to a real wilderness experience. Wild animals such as beavers and deer are quite common. Others such as coyotes, black bears and timber wolves inhabit the park, but are less commonly encountered.
You can visit Canada at any time of the year. This picture shows the beautifull fall colors at Meech Lake. The lake is located in Gatineau Park, just across the River from Ottawa.