For a great introduction to snowshoeing in Gatineau park, drive straight to the visitor info centre in old Chelsea (picking up some baked goods first at the famous bakery in town), then, snowshoe straight out of the parking lot heading opposite the road you just entered the parking lot from.
Veer right once over a small pedestrian bridge crossing a stream. You'll be on a wide groomed winter trail initially suitable for hikers, walk along the groomed path 400m or so, then head up. Which way? It doesn't matter. It gets interesting, and there are plenty of options off the main trail with ups and downs and "pseudo trails" you can follow up and over. I'd almost call it technical snowshoeing, lots of obstacles, some steep parts, but be mindful not to break off too many branches, and be careful not to let a bent branch whip the person behind you - unless of course you want to.
Head along a stream valley or two, cross down and up some more mini-peaks, you have a wide range here and hard to get lost. You can easily snowshoe for the day and not be bored. Just look for what seems to be interesting paths of other snowshoers and go. You are on snowshoes, improvise.
We had a fantastic 3 hour outing, heading away from the visitor info centre along a stream valley (more or less) and climbing up to more than a few peaks. It's fun, and the dog in our company (Yuki) seemed to also be in the spirit, even refuelling with power bar bites just like us humans. Dog food sized power bar, a great concept, afterall, we are all just trail mules.
One could benefit from a GPS when wandering by snowshoe, if only to see how close you are to your starting point or tracks. In our case, we simply back-tracked along our snowshoe tracks and enjoyed the return route just as much.
Once you graduate from this area, there are several other classic snowshoe trails in the Gatineaus, including Skyline. Stop in at the visitor info centre to get a map of snowshoe trails.
To get to the visitor info centre, drive along Hwy 5 (from Ottawa take any bridge over to Hull, then look for Hwy 5 North). Drive about 7 or 8 km until you see signs for old Chelsea, exit 5, and, cross back over the highway, and you are now just 500m from Old Chelsea village, a quaint and popular destination for apres ski or snowshoe snacks. Pub, bakery, coffee house, what more do you want? But I digress.
Once you reach the T intersection turn right, and just a few hundred meters up is the rather large visitor info centre. If any doubts, stop in and ask, your federal tax dollars built this impressive and well staffed info centre complete with 3D model maps and blinking trail maps. There are 4 main snowshoe areas in Gatineau park, and, Carman trails is also a good bet.
But here, right off the visitor info centre, you will be off and probably not bumping into anyone else as you meander up and over hills, across streams, rock outcrops.
(a) Click Wiki Edit This Page to get placed in edit mode
(b) When finished, your update is available to view as draft (click wiki update pending in trail to see draft)
* note: editors are notified and must approve the change
Posted By: Steve Mahood
- Sun Nov 30 23:53:43 UTC 2008
my wife and i are new to this sport and have purchased Atlas run snowshoes as this is more to our liking. My question is do we wear regular running shoes or some type of boot ?ANSWERS are in this forum: New to snowshoeing