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Gatineau Park, Hull

5.0 stars


Camping at La Peche Lake

When we still lived around Gatineau Park, sometimes my husband and I would go for camping. There are quite a few of camping sites at Gatineau Park; Gatineau Park itself is fairly big, in fact it’s the biggest park in the Capital region (I believe). One camping site that we sometimes went to was at La Peche Lake. Here, at La Peche Lake, a campsite can accommodate for one tent per family for about 25 CAD per day/night if I remember it well. When you want to camp here, you ought to make a reservation first and usually they would ask for reservation fee for around 3 CAD and there will also be an administration fee, which I think for 5 CAD; you will be given the right to choose the site or the area which convenient for you. Here at La Peche Lake, you can also rent a boat and go for a swim at the beach; and the parking lot is quite big. [more ]

The Boat House

What would be obvious to find near a lake? A boathouse! At McKenzie King Estate there is a small boathouse built on the side of the lake. Made of wood, as you enter the boathouse, there is a small bench on the small verandah of the small boathouse where the view is just perfect for picture-taking opportunity (just don’t forget the insect repellent!). Inside the boathouse there are quite a few of black and white pictures with some descriptions of the boathouse, the history, the purpose, and of course about McKenzie King and his family. Just as you look up, you will find a boat displayed near the ceiling. There is an open section in the center of the boathouse connecting to the lake, so you can see the water. [more ]

Beware of Bugs & Insects at McKenzie King Estate

Who wouldn’t like relaxing and having fun time near the lake, right? With fresh breeze where you can even smell the pine scents, the view breathtaking, the lake is safe and not too deep for a skinny-dipping time, perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and sunbathing; I just can not imagine if anyone wouldn’t want such inexpensive leisure time. However, one should really consider it twice to even go to the lake area without insects’ repellents when it comes to McKenzie Estate in Gatineau, Quebec. The black tiny flies are pretty nasty; they will bite you, make you itch all over, and would leave bad marks on your skin. I love the lake of the McKenzie Estate but I really can not stay there for more than 10 minutes, seems like it doesn’t matter how thick and often I sprayed myself with insect repellent, they would still bite me with no mercy. [more ]

Great Forest Trails for Observing Birds

As I mentioned a couple of times before in some reviews that I typed, birds are everywhere in Gatineau Park and those who love bird watching and observing should really be informed of areas where exactly is the best to do so and also what to expect and such. In some forest trails such as Hickory, Larriault and Champlain trails, many to see are the nesting birds such as the woodpeckers, indigo bunting and a couple more. I have been informed quite often on indigo bunting and scarlet tanager, but I was never lucky, whenever I went for bird watching at Champlain trail, all I found were woodpeckers, and they were not nesting but making holes on the trees! But yes, if you would like to go for bird-observing, do head for Hickory, Larriaut and Champlain trails. [more ]

What You Can Expect Camping at Philippe Lake

While many campsites elsewhere might not have many services or helpful spots for campers or visitors to the sites, at Philippe Lake campsite areas there are many helpful spots for the campers and visitors to the park and surrounding areas. At Philippe Lake campsites, there are several safe beaches to go for a swim, boating and kayaking; some of these beaches have land area where kids can play while you are sunbathing. You can find boat and bike rentals, some places have boat landing and even internet station. Many garbage disposal here and there, so please don’t waste. There trails for joggers, bikers, and nature lovers and some of them are even accessible for the handicapped people. Some spots have free public showers and washrooms; some areas have playground for the children. If you are planning to stay long, no need to pack tons of clothes as there are a few of laundry places available. The most important of all, there are water taps here and there so it’s pretty good, and not to mention first aid stations are also available. Beside what I have listed here, there are a couple more services and helpful spots for you when they are needed; just be well informed first before arriving at the campsites! [more ]

Camping at Taylor and Philippe Lakes

Just like camping at La Peche Lake, before you go camping at either Philippe or Taylor Lakes, you ought to make a reservation and for this you will also be charged for administration and reservation fee which the fees are the same as what they charge you at La Peche Lake; 3 CAD for reservation and 5 CAD for administration. The camping fee at Philippe and Taylor Lakes are also about 25 CAD per night; however, since the campsites at these two lakes are somewhat bigger than the campsites at La Peche Lake, one campsite can accommodate more people compare to the campsite at La Peche Lake, but only by 1 extra person; and if you are a member of Quebec Camping Federation, you will get the privilege of discounted fee by 10 % if I am not mistaken, pretty good, eh? :) Oh by the way, you know you can also go for fishing while camping, but you also need the permit for it, which is not expensive to get; we got ours at Canadian Tire and I think it was only for 25 CAD or perhaps less.

Happy Camping! [more ]

Bicycling at La Peche Lake

As Gatineau Park is pretty huge, there are many trails for either joggers, nature lovers, and also for those who love cycling. Those who go for camping at Gatineau Park usually would also carry their bike so they could go for bicycling as well. If you wish to bicycling while camping at one of the campsites in Gatineau Park but you don’t have a bicycle nor remember to bring yours, need not to worry, just like kayak and canoe, you can also rent bicycles, however, if I am not mistaken not all campsites have bike renting place. Here is the list of prices to for renting a bike that you can find at La Peche Lake campsite; they are not that cheap though but checking out the trails in the forest is very enjoyable to do, just be careful!

Mountain bike for kids to adults
Per hour 6-8 CAD
2 hours 8-12 CAD
3 hours 12-18 CAD
5 hours 16-24 CAD

Beside single mountain bike, you can also rent carriage for your kid; if I am not mistaken I believe the carriage is like a moving tent, so it’s pretty good and tandems are also available for renting. [more ]

Renting Boat(s) At Gatineau Park

As I mentioned a couple of times before in some of my travel tips, you can rent a boat in certain places in Gatineau Park where there is a lake or a beach in the area. Boats such as canoe, kayak, pedal boat, rowboat, and tandem kayak are available and the prices are also with lifejackets, paddle, and marine safety kit included. If you are interested, here is the list of the fee for renting the boat(s); however, I believe there is always changes without prior notice upon the fees, so it is always best to check at the actual rental place (they have announcement board usually) either by coming to the lake or beach to see the place, or you can contact them first via phone call at 819-456-3016

Canoe, kayak, tandem kayak, pedal and row boat
Per hour is 10 CAD
2 hours is 16 CAD
3 hours is 22 CAD
5 hours is 32 CAD

Should you wish for an additional hour, you only have to pay like 8 CAD more. [more ]

General Rules Camping at Philippe Lake

If you are thinking to go for camping at Philippe Lake (and also neighboring lake), please do note the next general rules, hopefully they will make your stay more enjoyable :) I do have to say that I do not remember all the rules as it’s been a couple of years since our last camp there, but here are the important ones.

- Do get the permits and have your reservation before going for camping.
- I believe the starting hour to “check-in” is around half past 1 in the afternoon to half past nine in the evening; and the “check-out” time is around 10 or 11 am (I think!)
- You can bring your car to the campsite, however, there is also a rule about vehicles need to be parked at Parent Beach parking lot, so do check this regulation before arriving!
- No visitors allowed to visit above 8 pm
- You shouldn’t make too much noise starting from 10 pm ‘til the next morning
- No cutting woods from the forest (It’s a National Park!)
- If you damage something, you will be held responsible (obviously!!)

Happy camping! [more ]

What Birds to See at Des Fees Lakes

One of the best places to do bird watching activity in Gatineau Park is at Des Fees Lake and the nearby or surrounding area. Quite a few time when we were at Des Fees Lake we saw beautiful ducks with colorful feather like greenish or bluish which I believe they are the males, the females are also swimming nearby and they are not that attractive usually as they appear to have dull black feather and that’s about it. Sometimes a couple of swans would land nearby but once they spotted us they would go again. At Des Fees Lake, if you go for bird watching activity, most common birds to be seen and found there are from Wetland species such as the herons and ducks; however, there are quite a few of woodpeckers, cardinals, and some more other birds as well. [more ]

Bird Watching at Gatineau Park

Besides jogging, cycling, and any other sport activities, while at Gatineau Park you can also go for bird watching. Whenever I went for a walk, I always could hear whistles, noises, and beautiful singing of birds. Birds like woodpecker and ducks are the most common to be seen at Gatineau Park; they don’t really fly away whenever there is human around as if they are too familiar with human already. Many birds that can be found inside Gatineau Park, some of them are rare and unusual; however, those birds such as Horned grebe, Brant, Oldsquaw and many more are hard to find. If you like nature and bird watching, you should really be prepared before going to Gatineau Park. One thing is to watch out for the bears (yes, there are lots of them at Gatineau Park) and the other thing is not to miss your binocular! [more ]

Sport Activities In Gatineau Park

If you live in Ottawa and nearby, if you love sports especially outdoor sports, just drive across the bridge of The Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and head to Gatineau; which only about 10-15 minutes away from downtown Ottawa. In Gatineau, there is a huge national park (the longest and biggest in Canada) called Gatineau Park. Here, at the Gatineau Park, there are trails provided for outdoor sports such as cycling, skate boarding, roller blade, jogging, cross country hiking, bird watching and also skiing in winter time. In certain areas of Gatineau Park are even accessible for water sports such as swimming, canoeing, fishing, sunbathing or speed boating; and of course, when there are beaches areas, there usually people playing/throwing balls and Frisbee.

The trails are usually long and in some parts are a bit hilly, so you better pack some bottled water to keep you from dehydration especially in summer time; a sport hat or cap would also be nice for joggers. Some trails would lead you to creek, lake, and beaches while some more are actually a short cut to apartment or neighborhood complexes; but if you go deep, some areas are totally secluded from public whatsoever; so it is definitely almost like jungle in there.

If you go for jogging or taking a long walk in Gatineau Park alone, it is always recommended to bring your dog along as sometimes you could encounter meeting with wild fierce animal such as bears. Some tracks are not with asphalt so beware while walking and most while cycling; safety helmet is definitely recommended and try not to speed as there are too many huge roots and rocks; some area for cycling are too steep and definitely slippery when wet, so watch out.

Oh, and by the way, even though some parts of Gatineau Park is open all year round, in winter time is mostly restricted for winter sports and activities such as skiing, snowboarding and winter sport competition; usually when it’s winter, when you are not skiing yet walking in the park, some people who are there for skiing would get upset at you as you would just mess the skiing trails ;-) [more ]

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