One of my favourite fall activities is hiking in Gatineau Park. It’s really the best place for hiking around Ottawa and only a 15 minute drive from downtown. The best trail is the Wolf Trail (trail 62) since it’s one of the longest at 8.3 km and there is a decent amount of elevation with great views. In total it takes about 3 hours.
When I was training for my hike to the Grand Canyon I did this trail a lot because it was really the most challenging trail around Ottawa. If you’re in reasonable shape you’ll find it pretty easy but there are some tougher bits and make sure to follow the trail. The parking lot is small so if you want to hike it, especially in the fall when the leaves change colours and it’s beautiful be sure to arrive before 9am or you’ll have a hard time finding a parking spot. Remember it is prohibited to park on the road. Parking is in lot 13 and there are washrooms by Meech Lake. If you want you can make this trail even longer by connecting trails 40 and 38 from parking lot 12 which is a little bigger and easier to find parking. Once last year when we tried to do the Wolf Trail the lot was full so we went over to lot 12 and discovered we could connect over to it. This makes the trail about 4 hours long and adds some extra difficulty. As always you should remember to bring lots of water and maybe even some snacks to take a break with a beautiful view. Also wear hiking shoes because the terrain is rocky and can also be very muddy. I recommend starting by going to the right when the trail splits to begin your loop. This way you do the most difficult bit first and it’s easier to go up this way than down.
Stay tuned for my guide to Old Chelsea, the town beside Gatineau Park with cute cafes and restaurants!