Cross-Country Skiing in Gatineau Park

Photo of two adults and a child skiing beside a forest
Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park has one of the largest networks of cross-country ski trails in North America. You will find over 50 trails, varying in difficulty (rated from easy to most difficult). Enjoy classic cross-country skiing and skate skiing in a beautiful conservation area, located just minutes from downtown Ottawa.

Gatineau Park features:

  • Over 200 kilometres of trails for classic cross-country skiing. This includes 100 kilometres of trails shared with skate skiers, and 45 kilometres of back-country ski trails.
  • 15 starting points
  • Hilly terrain, ideal for ski touring, with 320 metres (1,050 feet) of vertical drop.
  • Ten day shelters that are maintained daily and come complete with wood-burning stoves and picnic tables.
  • Ready-to-camp units and campsites that are located just off the ski trails.

Help us protect Gatineau Park and leave no trace.

Ski Trail Conditions

Trail conditions are updated daily during the ski season, which runs from November 15 to March 31 (weather permitting).

Ski Passes

To ski in Gatineau Park you need a daily pass or season pass. Reduced rates are offered for youth, students and seniors, as well as for families and large groups. Children 12 and under can ski for free.

For complete information on pricing and how to get your pass, see Gatineau Park Cross-Country Ski Passes.

Ski Trails

Gatineau Park has over 50 trails that, combined, cover over 200 kilometres. There are 15 starting points, each of which has free parking, (except P2, which is managed by the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau) a booth selling daily passes, and outhouses. Many trails start at the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau, which is accessible via STO buses.

See Gatineau Park's Winter Trails map for complete information. You can buy a paper copy of this map at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.

Recommended Ski Routes

The following six ski routes include some of the best trails and sights in Gatineau Park. Each route has a one-page downloadable document that maps which trails to take and provides key information about the route.

The Heart of the Network

This ski route was developed by the Ottawa Ski Club in the early 1900s. It features scenic lookouts overlooking Ottawa, Gatineau and the Ottawa Valley.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic or skate skiing
Distance 18.7 km
Level of Difficulty Easy to intermediate
Washrooms

There are outhouses at these locations along the route:

  • P7 parking lot
  • Keogan Shelter
  • Shilly Shally Shelter
  • Huron Shelter
  • Western Shelter.
Parking Free parking is available at the P7 parking lot on Kingsmere Road.
Picnic Areas

Bring a snack and enjoy it in warmth at one of the route’s shelters. There are picnic tables and wood stoves at these shelters:

  • Keogan Shelter
  • Shilly Shally Shelter
  • Huron Shelter
  • Western Shelter.
Trail Map Heart of the Network ski route

From the City to the Wilderness

This gently rolling trail winds through mature forests and open fields and includes a view of Pink Lake, an exceptional meromictic lake.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic
Distance 11.4 km
Level of Difficulty Easy to intermediate
Washrooms There are washrooms at the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau.
Parking Paid parking is available at the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau (P2), which is located at 397 Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes, Gatineau, and is accessible via STO buses.
Picnic Areas The Relais plein air's (French only website) opening hours vary.
Trail Map From the City to the Wilderness ski route

A Prime Minister’s Backyard

This ski route begins at the Mackenzie King Estate, the former summer home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest-serving prime minister. After passing by the Estate’s Abbey Ruins, the route leads to the unique Pink Lake.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic
Distance 7.9 km
Level of Difficulty Intermediate
Washrooms There are outhouses at the P6 parking lot.
Parking Free parking is available at the P6 parking lot.
Trail Map A Prime Minister’s Backyard ski route

Paths of the Early Settlers

This ski route is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The route features Herridge Shelter, an original settler’s house that was built in the late 1800s.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic
Distance 20.4 km
Level of Difficulty Intermediate
Washrooms There are outhouses at the P17 parking lot and at Herridge Shelter.
Parking Park for free at the P17 parking lot, which is off Highway 366 near Wakefield.
Picnic Areas Bring a snack and enjoy it in warmth. There are picnic tables and a wood stove at Herridge Shelter.
Trail Map Paths of the Early Settlers ski route
Accommodation Reserve Brown Lake Cabin and spend the night by the trail.

Nature and Tranquility

This trail from Philippe Lake to Lusk Lake offers more solitude than the busier trails in the southern part of Gatineau Park.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic and skate skiing
Distance 11.4 km
Level of Difficulty Intermediate
Washrooms There are outhouses at the P19 parking lot and at the Lusk Lake Cabin.
Parking Park for free at the P19 parking lot. This parking lot is on the Philippe Lake Parkway, just off Highway 366.
Picnic Areas Bring a snack and enjoy it in the warmth of a cozy cabin. There are picnic tables and a wood stove at the Lusk Lake Cabin.
Trail Map Nature and Tranquility ski route
Accommodation Reserve the Lusk Lake Cabin and spend the night by the trail. If you aren’t afraid of the cold, there is also winter camping along this trail.

Gatineau Loppet Circuit

Ski the trails that are used for the Gatineau Loppet, Canada’s largest cross-country ski event. Points of interest along the way are the Eardley Escarpment, Pink Lake, and scenic lookouts overlooking the Ottawa Valley.

Trail Details
Ski Technique Classic; skate skiing is also possible if you bypass trails 15 and 35 and take the Gatineau Parkway.
Distance 40 km
Level of Difficulty Easy to intermediate
Washrooms

There are washrooms at the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau.

There are outhouses at these locations along the route:

  • P5 parking lot
  • Keogan Shelter
  • Huron Shelter
  • Étienne-Brûlé Lookout
  • Western Shelter
Parking Paid parking is available at the Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau (P2), which is located at 397 Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes, Gatineau, and is accessible via STO buses.
Picnic Areas

Bring a snack and enjoy it in the warmth of one of the cozy shelters on this route. There are picnic tables and wood stoves at these shelters:

  • Keogan Shelter
  • Huron Shelter
  • Western Shelter

The Relais plein air's (French only website) opening hours vary.

Trail Map Gatineau Loppet Circuit

Trail Courtesy

The Park’s cross-country ski trails are exclusively for skiing. There are separate trails for snowshoeing and walking. Dogs and pets are not permitted on the ski trails.

More Information

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