Gatineau Park, Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais Regional County Municipality, QC, Canada
Driving time from Ottawa
5 minutes to 1 hour
Parkland to explore
Paved and unpaved trails
Gear up to go
They say the shoes make the runner, and the semi-technical trail system in Gatineau can demand some extra support and added traction when you find yourself battling the terrain (including streams, dirt, loose rocks, climbs and descents). Setting out with grippy, comfortable trail runners to protect your feet and to get some traction is a definite must for runners of all skill levels.
Tip: If you’re looking people to run trails with around town, check out the MEC Ottawa run crew.
A climb with a view
The Skyline Trail is a 6km loop that hugs the southern and eastern edges of the Gatineau hills. It’s off-limits to mountain bikers, which means the trail isn’t carved out from bike treads. Skyline is a good choice for those after a quick but solid workout, as it takes you 350m above sea level to the Skyline Lookout.
A bit tougher
Just over 8km in length, the Wolf Trail is located near Chelsea, Quebec and is designed for intermediate to advanced runners. It features a true forest setting, with moderate to steep climbs as it winds up the Eardley Escarpment. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Ottawa River, and it’s well-maintained in all seasons (although we recommend the shoulder months of spring and fall to avoid crowds and extreme temperatures).
Rumour is that one of Canada’s toughest half and full marathons happens in this park: the MEC Gatineau race, part of the Ottawa race series. It’s hilly, scenic and happens in fall, so you’ve got all summer to practice on routes in the park. This race sticks to pavement, but any hill training sessions you get in on the trails will undoubtedly pay off.
Stop by the estate
After your run, consider stopping by Gatineau Park’s other claim to fame – the Mackenzie King Estate. This 231-hectare estate, once the summer home of William Lyon MacKenzie King, is a nice place to catch your breath after a day out on the trails. The estate has wooded paths, restored cottages and interactive exhibits to check out.