Hiking is a popular recreational pastimes, as a get-away from the hustle and bustle of urban living, while enjoying the beauty and wildlife of nature. Hiking season runs mid-May until October, thorough the snow-free season. Of course, with unpredictable weather, trails may be closed anytime during the season. The provincial or national park wardens will inform you of any closures or cautions.
Day hike, where you expect to return home before evening, doesn't require as much equipment as an overnight hike. You should wear a good pair of hiking boots (sturdy running shoes will do), and clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions. Because weather conditions can change quickly in the outdoors, it is safer to overdress, in layers, than to be under-dressed. For a day hike bring water, food, sunscreen, a map, a compass, a rain coat, knife, matches, and of a hiking buddy.
For an overnight hike, you'll also need a tent, food bags, a change of underwear and socks, and standard camping supplies. Check with your hiking partner to prevent packing duplicate gear, to minimize gear weight.
Hiking can be done almost anywhere, but the best scenery and terrain is in the provincial and national parks, as well as parkland managed by the National Capital Commission (the NCC). These parks provide marked and mapped trails to avoid getting lost.
Gatineau Park Gatineau Park encompasses roughly 35,000 hectares in Quebec's Gatineau Hills, an oasis of wilderness on the doorstep of Canada's National Capital. The hills themselves are roots of the ancient Laurentian Mountains. These forests are home to a remarkable diversity of wildlife, including deer, bears, and even timber wolves, yet they are also the backyard playground for a metropolitan population of over one million people, five minutes away. Winter activities in the park include snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, camping, hiking and more. In the summer months, you can enjoy cycling, mountain biking, camping, swimming, rock-climbing, in-line skating, running and more. For more information call (819) 827-2020. Gatineau Park Visitor Centre 318 Meech Lake Road Old Chelsea, Quebe
Lac Beauchamp Park Boul. Maloney Gatineau, Quebec (819) 669-2548
Parc Oméga Montebello, Quebec (819) 423-5487 or 1-888-423-5487 For a completely natural adventure, follow the park's 10-km road path in the magnificent 1,500 acres of woodland and visit free-roaming animals such as bison, numerous types of deer, wild boars, beavers, raccoons, bears and endless varieties of wild birds. You can purchase a bag of carrots at the park's main gate - the animals that come to greet your car will appreciate the gesture. To get to the park, follow Hwy. 148 east out of Hull to Montebello. Turn north on Route 323. Information: (819) 423-5487 or 1-888-423-5487 (toll-free).
Rideau Trail This trail runs from Ottawa to Kingston. A scenic and historic trail maintained by the Rideau Trail Association (613) 860-2225