BY: MICHAEL LYONS
The idea of a microadventure was coined by author Alastair Humphreys, who suggests that “instead of exotic foreign adventures, I am committed to trying to encourage people to get outside, get out of their comfort zone, go somewhere they’ve never been, go on a microadventure. An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective.”
Whether you’re looking for a cabin to stay in—or a yurt—or you really want to rough it, Gatineau Park has an opportunity for every level of camper.
In Gatineau, literally an hour or two from downtown Ottawa and Hull, there are three campsites with hundreds of site options. This means folks in Ottawa have amazing opportunities for a weekend getaway, or even just a quick overnight trip to be back in time for work the next morning.
1. The Bonnechere River and Valley Trails
The 23-kilometer route will take you through 19 forest communities, through winging paths of wetlands, trees and the shorelines of Little Bonnechere. If you envision a summer day and country roads, this is the microadventure for you.
2. Madawaska Highlands (Opeongo Hills)
Visited by Samuel de Champlain in 1615, these trails carry historical significance worthy of a true explorer. Small waterfalls, rolling hills and clear running streams stretch across the land. The highest peak is 7 kilometers northeast of Highway 60. Reaching the top is sure to be a moment of glory.
3. Philippe Lake
Philippe Lake is the premiere destination for families. About a forty-minute trip from downtown Ottawa, there are showers and washroom facilities, drinking water stations around the campsites and a fire pit at each site—need we say, s’mores?
4. Taylor Lake
A little further on is the Taylor Lake site. If you’re willing to brave the outhouses and go for a little bit of a walk for drinking water, this lake about half way through Gatineau is the spot for you.
5. La Pêche
La Pêche Lake’s sites are about a 30 to 90 minute hike from the lake’s access point. Make sure you bring your own drinking water, and maybe a canoe for this beautiful lake, the furthest northwest of any of the campsites.
6. The Ottawa River
The waterway being cut through the Canadian Shield following the last glacier melt, thousands of years of deciduous and coniferous trees—maple, beech, oak trees— populate the area teeming with wildlife. Few rivers carry a larger historical significance, the waterway playing a large role in the lives of the Algonquin people, who called the river Kichisipi, meaning “Great River”. The river is rife with hiking paths that cut through bays and along beaches.
What is your favorite microadventure? Do you have a hidden gem in the Ottawa region? We want to hear from you! Tweet @The_PlaidZebra with the hashtag #microadventure with a photo of you exploring Ottawa’s great outdoors to win a free T-shirt.