Hiking in Gatineau park is always a fall highlight for us. Its free, the colours are spectacular and the exercise is inevitably rewarded by a drink at the Chelsea Pub.
If you can find yourself a free, sunny mid October day, I feel like there's no better way to spend it.
Depending on your energy levels you can do one or even 2 short hikes. While Pink Lake is certainly the most popular short hike, my favourite Fall combo is the Skyline trail followed by a picnic lunch and then King mountain. Both trails are about 60-90 minutes and offer stunning vistas over the Ottawa Valley and the city.
To access the Skyline trail, park at P7. Follow the trans Canada trail up to Wattsford lookout. From there head to the trail immediately behind you to the well-marked beginning of the Skyline Trail loop. It's a pretty easy loop with great colours and views. Getting up to the start is definitely the most challenging part of the hike. Keep in mind the trail can get pretty muddy if there has been a somewhat recent rainfall.
We usually have a picnic at the Penguin picnic area, since it's right around the corner and, as you probably guessed from its name, a large area devoted to picnicking! Sadly, there are no penguins.
King mountain is a bit more challenging, but it offers so many amazing vistas that it's totally worth the effort. While it's only 1.9 kms long it has 10 lookout points! It always takes longer than we think because we spend a good amount of time lounging and enjoying the views.
Once you've burned all those calories is time to drink them back at the Chelsea Pub. We really love the Chelsea Pub. It has a great beer selection, an extensive patio, a light, glassy indoor bar and a cozy restaurant. They carry the Dubbel and milk stout from Microbrasserie Charlevoix which are unavailable in Ontario and happen to be 2 of our favourite beers! They always have a good variety of seasonal beers too! I particularly liked the West coast IPA from Gainsbourg Brewery from my beer flight.
And there you have it- another glorious day in the Ottawa Valley!
Cheers to that!