Eardley Escarpment

Photo of Eardly Escarpment, with waterfall and trees in fall foliage
Eardley Escarpment in fall

The Eardley Escarpment is home to the richest and most fragile ecosystem in Gatineau Park. The Escarpment forms the dividing line between the rock of the Canadian Shield (which covers more than half of Canada) and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. It rises 270 metres from the floor of the Ottawa Valley and extends over more than 30 kilometres.

The geology and location of the Eardley Escarpment make it a special ecosystem. Its southern exposure ensures a hot, dry microclimate similar to the forests of the American Midwest. Because of this unique microclimate, the Escarpment is home to many rare species. More than half of Gatineau Park’s about 145 at-risk plant and animal species are found on the Eardley Escarpment.


In Quebec, the Eardley Escarpment features the greatest number of plant species at risk. We list roughly 50 species, mainly herbaceous plants, in addition to trees, including the white oak, the butternut, and the eastern red cedar. The eastern red cedar (or eastern juniper) is a species that is extremely rare in Quebec. The Escarpment contains more than 80% of all eastern red cedar trees inventoried in the province. This small tree can live for a very long time. The oldest surveyed in the park is over 400 years old.


The Escarpment houses Quebec’s only known population of juniper hairstreak, a rare, green-winged butterfly. Its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the juniper tree without damaging the tree.

The majority of Gatineau Park’s white-tailed deer spend winter on the Escarpment because the area is well protected from cold, northerly winds.

Help us protect Gatineau Park and leave no trace.

Washrooms There are dry toilets at the Champlain Lookout, the Étienne Brûlé Lookout, the Church Hill picnic area, and by the Luskville Falls Trail.
Parking There is free parking at the Champlain Lookout, the Étienne Brûlé Lookout, the Huron Lookout, the Church Hill picnic area, and by the Luskville Falls Trail.
Picnic Areas There are picnic tables and barbecues (BBQs) at the Church Hill picnic area and by the Luskville Falls Trail. There are also picnic tables at the Étienne Brûlé Lookout.
Universal Accessibility The Champlain and Étienne Brûlé lookouts are universally accessible.

For more information see Gatineau Park’s visitor information page.