Gatineau Park

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Gatineau National Park - Only 30 Minutes Away From the Capital

Published by Mina Trandafilovski — 5 years ago

If you are coming to Ottawa, whether it be for a vacation, semester exchange, or year-long exchange, you absolutely cannot leave unless you see Gatineau Park. Gatineau Park is located in Quebec, Canada, and it is only 30 minutes away from Ottawa, Ontario. It is part of the National Capital Region.

If you are obsessed with nature, then Gatineau Park is the place to visit. If you are more of an urban person, then Gatineau Park will make you a nature person.

In the summer, as well as during the autumn (while it is still somewhat warm), there are usually shuttles that leave from Ottawa that will take you to Gatineau Park. However, it is much better, and much more efficient if you, a friend, or a group of friends can rent a car and go see Gatineau Park for yourself. This way, you will spend as much time as you want, seeing the things that you want, instead of just following a group schedule or the shuttle schedule.

Gatineau Park is a giant, beautfiul forest, with beautiful walking trails, amazing natural habitat, and tons of lakes! In the summer, it is perfect for hiking, and even swimming! The water is clear and clean, and the beaches on the lakes are great places to tan, hangout, and swim! The water can be a bit cold, but it is warm enough to swim in July and August. There are also many gorgeous lookouts, so you can see Quebec's beauty in all its glory.


However, Gatineau Park is known around the world for being the perfect fall destination. As Gatineau Park itself is millions upon millions of trees, it is fascinating in the fall, as the whole park is beautfiul shades of red, yellow, and orange. It really shows foreigners how beautiful Canada is in the fall. It also makes you feel very, very cozy. It is perfect.

Parking at Gatineau park can cost up to $10CAD. This is relatively cheap for parking. If you can round up a group of friends and go camping overnight, I recommed that you do! It is a great escape from the city!

Note: Make sure that you actually pay for the parking ticket, or you will get a parking fine - which costs around $55CAD.

If, however, camping is not your style, then I have good news for you! There are tons of cottages along the shores of the lakes all throughout Gatineau Park. The good part? You can rent a cottage out for the weekend! I have not yet rented out a cottage myself, yet. Though, I assume that the rental can get pretty expensive. To lower the costs of renting out the cottage, go with a large group of friends! It will be much cheaper, and much, much more fun!

Before you get to the beaches, there are also a few small, and adorable Quebec towns that you cannot miss! My favourite towns are Chealsea, Quebec, and Wakefield, Quebec. They really show you the good-natured and helpful spirited people of Quebec. Go to one of the small family-owned restaurants for lunch, and experience the unique French Canadian traditions, customs, and culture!

Here arre my favourite beaches to visit in the summer:

  • Lac O'Brien
  • Plage Blanchet
  • Lac Phillipe
  • Lac la Peche
  • Lac du Poisson Blanc


If you are planning to go on a hike, it is important that you wear appropriate hiking clothing, and that you are dressed for the weather. Summers in Ottawa-Gatineau can get very, very hot and humid, and it is important that you dress lightly, in order to avoid suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Wear light colours, and comfortable shoes - running shoes are usually fine for Gatineau Park. It is also a smart idea to wear a hat to protect your head. Wearing a hat is an effective way to prevent heat exhaustion.

Lastly, weather you are hiking or going to the beach, it is important that you bring sunscreen, some snacks, and lots of water. The sun can get very strong, and the sunburn can be very bad, and very painful. It can also lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. It is also important to eat, as being full and having nutrients in your body help you better withstand the heat and the sun. Keep drinking water. Dehydration is the leading cause of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, which can lead to hospitalization. Keep that water bottle full at all times!

Relax, and get a nice tan! And do not forget to pack your sunscreen!

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