Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gatineau Park - Skyline Trail

Gatineau Park - Skyline Trail

Length: 5.7 km loop
Time: 90-120 minutes
Terrain: Moderate

Located in the small village of Kingsmere in Gatineau Park is the Skyline Trail.  This 5.7 loop takes you along the southern and eastern ridges of the Gatineau Hills and provide some great views of the National Capital Region.

Parking is located at P7 (N45 29.454 W075 50.524) off Kingsmere Road. Before you can  get to the actual Skyline Trail (Trailmarker 6) you'll need to follow approximately 1 km of the Trans-Canada Trail. From the parking lot head north along Trail 30 until you reach Trail 1 on your right. From here, hike up the steady slope until you reach your first scenic view, Wattsford's Lookout. There is a great bench where you can take a few moments to catch your breath and enjoy the view.

Wattsford's Lookout
Once you're ready to hit the trail again go back out to the main path and follow Trail 1 to the left. After about 100 metres you will see the well-marked entrance to the Skyline Trail.

From here the trail turns from a wide, easy path the a narrow, rocky path. There are spots where you will need to watch your footing but it is not too difficult. At around the 100 metre mark of the trail there is a split, take the right path as this is the quicker route to the lookoffs. The hardwood forest provides some great scenery, especially in the autumn months. Gatineau Park in general is very well knows for their beautiful fall colours. 

After 1.4 km on the Skyline Trail the trees on the right will open into more great views of the region. At around the 1.6 km mark you'll reach the actual Skyline Lookout where you're at an elevation of 350 metres above sea level. From here you get a great view of downtown.

Skyline Lookout
As you continue along the path it will start veering to the left towards another lookout which has views of the east. At this point of the hike you are located near the top of the Camp Fortune Ski Hill, one of the top resorts in the region. When the trail was initially made it was a short cut for residents of Kingsmere to get to the ski hill. 

As you make your way along the path you'll eventually find the Trans-Canada Trail near the Wattsford's Lookout. From here, follow the same route back to P7.

Skyline Trail is a great spot for those looking for tough hike with tons of scenic views. Even though it is has some rough terrain it can still be enjoyed by people of all ages as well as dogs.

Happy Trails


Friday, October 19, 2012

Enniskillen Conservation Area - Moorey's Mill Trail

Enniskillen Conservation Area - Moorey's Mill Trail

Length: 2.8 km loop
Time: 60-90 minutes
Terrain: Easy

Located in the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Bowmanville, Ontario is Enniskillen Conservation Area. This 65 hectare park is part of the Bowmanville Creek watershed and home to many kinds of forests, wetlands and wildlife.

This area was once home to a grist mill which stood from 1874 until 1956 when it was dismantled. Still visible is the earthen dam which is located north of the Education Centre.

The main track through the park is the Moorey's Mill Trail. Parking (N 44 00.135 W 078 46.557) for this 2.8 km route is located at the Education Centre, the path starts at the north end of the lot. The trail is very well marked for the entire length with easy to read signage.

From the start of the hike you'll head in a northerly direction where you will make your first crossing of the creek. This part of the hike will bring you through a mostly softwood forest before it opens up into grassy meadow and a sheltered picnic area. From there you'll make your way past the northern parking lot where you head back into the woods to the east.

This part of the of the trail follows along the edge of the creek, crossing it at several points. Between the bubbling brook and the mixed forest, there is a lot to enjoy. This was by far the most scenic part of the hike.

As you follow the path and cross a larger bridge you'll enter another picnic area. From here, the trail follows the side of a road back to the Education Centre where you began.

Enniskillen is a perfect spot to take the family, as well as the dog, for a weekend walk. The park is open year round and a great choice to view fall colours, cross country ski or mountain bike. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Acadia National Park - Cadillac Summit Trail

Cadillac Summit Trail

Length: 0.5 km Loop
Time: 15-20 minutes
Terrain: Easy

1,500 feet above sea level at the top of Acadia National Park is the Cadillac Summit Trail. This short 0.5 kilometer loop provides great panoramic views of the region from Bar Harbor to Otter Cove. Parking is located at end of Cadillac Mountain Road which is off the Park Loop south of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak in Eastern US within 25 miles of the coast. This trail is a very popular spot in the morning hours as it is home to the first sunrise in the country. The hike starts at the eastern edge of the parking lot near a plaque dedicated to Stephen Tyng Mather.

Frenchman Bay
As you walk the loop you'll enjoy the best views of Acadia National Park. If you are a photographer, or even an amateur one, this hike is going to take a lot longer then it should. For those who are not into taking pictures, there are numerous information plaques that provides a geological history of the region, specifically the mountain.

Cadillac Summit Trail is a must-do when visiting Acadia National Park. It's safe and enjoyable for children, parents, grandparents and even dogs. When you leave the park this will by-far be one of your best memories.