Have you heard about Gatineau Park? Less than 30 minutes from Ottawa, Gatineau Park offers well-kept trails and beautiful landscapes no matter the season. In the summer months, cross-country ski tracks thaw back into hiking trails—though some hike year-round! If you want to experience stunning viewpoints in the park, the King Mountain hike should be on your list.
As you may know, I lived in Ottawa for two years during my university days. Surprisingly, I didn’t spend too much time on Gatineau Park trails back then (I blame the school work). But this month, I had the chance to explore the King Mountain hike with Mary Anne Ivison from Let’s Take This Outside (Side note: If you’re looking for a new outdoor podcast, this one is for you!). With perfect weather, I really enjoyed the chance to be in the beautiful Gatineau Hills. Keep reading to find out why.
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About King Mountain Hike
Location: Gatineau Park
Distance: 6.5 km partial loop
Elevation: 200-metre elevation gain
Time: 1 – 2 hours
Dog-friendly: No, dogs are not permitted.
Features: The King Mountain hike in Gatineau Park offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. The trail takes you through a beautiful forested area. At the summit of King Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills.
Note: Looking for a shorter hike? King Mountain Trail can be completed as a 2 km loop when the trailhead is accessible in the summer months.
Directions to King Mountain Trailhead
To get to the P7 parking lot in Gatineau Park from Ottawa, head west on Highway 417 (Queensway) and take the exit onto Highway 5 North toward Gatineau. Drive about 10 km until you reach the exit for Chemin de la Gatineau (Old Chelsea). Take the exit and turn left onto Old Chelsea Rd. Continue past restaurants and shops. Turn left onto Kingsmere Rd and follow for about 3 km. The P7 lot will be on your right.
King Mountain Hike — One of the Best Hiking Trails in Gatineau Park!
First things first, there are a couple of good options for King Mountain. In the off-season, you can do what we did and head to P7 parking lot for a 6.5 km hike. When Champlain Parkway is open to vehicles, you could instead head over to the King Mountain trailhead for the short 2 km loop. Either way, you’ll find nice viewpoints on King Mountain, but I’m glad we went for the longer option.
Starting at the P7 lot, we took Trail 30 and connected with Trail 8. After crossing Champlain Pkwy, we took Trail 37 to reach the King Mountain loop. Most of the route leads through the forest, with views of Gatineau Hills and the Ottawa River Valley on King Mountain Trail. In the spring, trilliums are blooming and birds are singing in the forest. We spotted a Pileated Woodpecker hammering on a nearby tree. He didn’t seem to mind us at all! All in all, I clocked nearly 6.5 km with about 200-metre elevation gain.
Gatineau Park has impressive trail infrastructure, including picnic areas, interpretive signage, and viewpoints. As my first hike in Canada after 2 months in Colombia, I can’t say I was disappointed! With well-maintained trails and spectacular viewpoints, King Mountain Trail has to be one of the best Gatineau Park hikes.
What To Bring on a Hike
Be sure to bring along some essentials when heading out on a day hike. If you’re completely new to hiking, check out my post on the 10 hiking essentials to get started.
First things first: You’ll want a decent and comfortable pack. I’ve been using my 18-litre Osprey pack for several years now—it’s sturdy, light, and doesn’t skimp on technical features. For example, the Osprey Hikelite includes a built-in rain cover, back ventilation, and a scratch-proof pocket for sunglasses (among other features).
So what to put in the pack? I always bring a water bottle and snack (like granola bars or stingers). On longer hikes, I prefer this 2 -litre water reservoir. Never a bad idea to bring a few layers, including a waterproof rain shell (this one is my go-to). As we’re getting close to summer, sunscreen and sunglasses should come along, too. No matter how long the hike, I like to carry a small first aid kit as well.
Know Before You Go
Entrance fee: There is no entrance fee for Gatineau Park.
Parking: Some of the parking areas in Gatineau Park require an access fee. In summer, you’ll need to pay a fee to park at beach parking lots, boat launches, and the Mackenzie King Estate. In the winter, parking is free. For more information (including rates), check out the NCC website.
Toilets: Outhouse toilets are available at the trailhead/parking lot.
Garbage: If you pack it in, please remember to pack it out. If you can’t find a garbage can, take your waste away from the park and dispose of it properly. Follow Leave No Trace principles to keep Gatineau Park healthy and accessible for years to come.
Pets: Dogs are permitted in Gatineau Park but must remain on a leash.
Trail conditions: Hiking trails in Gatineau Park can be quite muddy in the spring. Before you go, check trail conditions online and be prepared with waterproof footwear.
King Mountain Trail Map
Find more Gatineau Park maps online.
Have you hiked King Mountain Trail or another trail in Gatineau Park? Let me know in the comments below!
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