Chutes de Plaisance in Plaisance National Park: Hiking Guide

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What happens when Aunt V has the littles for two days?! We adventure. It’s a great way to discover what trails work, or don’t for families. This one is an easy win if you’re looking for a family friendly outdoor adventure. We ended up driving to la foret la blanche first to discover the ecological reserve trails, then over to Chutes de Plaisance! The kids loved both hikes, but I dare say they liked this one more.

The Low Down

  • Distance: An easy 60 km (roughly 45mins) drive from downtown Ottawa.
  • Address: 100 Malo St, Plaisance, Quebec, J0V 1S0.
  • Directions: Take the King Edward bridge to cross over to Quebec and stay on hwy 5N.  Exit 50 east then exit 148 east. After passing Thurso, continue on 148E until you see the signage for Parc national de Plasaince.  The entry to Chutes de Plaisance is well marked.  (Orleans/Cumberland folks: take the ferry across at Cumberland/Thurso. Make sure you have 10$ cash for the ferry)
  • Cellphone Range: Yes.
  • Trail Distance: 2kms out and back.
  • Duration: 30mins-2hr depending on how much you explore.
  • Dogs: Yes, on leash.
  • Crowds: High traffic during peak season.
  • Washrooms: Outhouse available on the trail.
  • Entrance Fee: 6$ adults, 3$ teens, kiddos under 12 are free and it 13$ max per family.
  • Season: Check open hours and dates on the Chutes de Plaisance site.
  • More Information: Visit the Chutes de Plaisance website.

Good Company

The littlest one, without me noticing until the last minute, was inches away from actually picking up a large groundhog while chasing it down the path.

The older little yelled “beaver!!!”.

My attention sprung toward the littlest. I must have yelled his name six times in panic before he snapped out of his target focus and relented.

“Why are you chasing the groundhog?!”

The littlest oh-so-innocently shrugs his shoulders and says “he looked really cuddly”. Then they both carried on hiking.

I died a little on the inside.

Now if you asked the littlest his favourite part of this hike he’d say it was the groundhog and building the “bonhommes” (aka cairns) down by the river.

Chutes de Plaisance

What to bring

Normally I’d suggest, the 10 essentials, however this is a ridiculous well established and short nature walk with staff on hand and near the city.  On the other side, I brought everything and ended up using the first aid kit as a very excited littlest one  took a solid tumble scrapping his knees. It’s up to your discretion really.

My recommendations;

  • Picnic: This is the perfect spot for a picnic either at one of the many poicnic tables set up for down on the rocks by the river itself.
  • Runners/hikers: The trail itself is fine for most footwear however if you plan on exploring near the river rocks, shoes are advised.

Chute de Plaisance Trail Description

Ok, there’s not much to say about this one except it’s mostly flat, wide, and thankfully offers shade with the trees.

Chutes de Plaisance

Chutes de Plaisance

Chutes de Plaisance

Waterfalls Lookout

There were lots of ‘oooouuuuu’ and ‘aaaahhh’s going on with this lookout. It actually held the kid’s attention for a solid 30 seconds which is impressive. Ha ha ha. The falls itself has a dramatic over 200 foot drop. Like all great waterfalls, you can hear it from the trails before you can actually see it.

Chutes de Plaisance

Chutes de Plaisance Beach

At the end of the 1 km trail, is this little beach along the river. I can’t quite say that I’d ever swim in any Ottawa area water ways but it was pretty and well used by kayakers/canoeists as a resting spot.

Chutes de Plaisance

Ferry Rides for the Win

As fun as the hiking was, the most requested fun of the day was taking the ferry across the river and can we please-please-please get out of the car while it crosses!?!??! Although we originally crossed over at Cumberland, we took the Thurso-Rockland ferry back across. We were literally the only car on this small 9 vehicle ferry. So we got out and ferry driver totally made the kids day by letting them climb up to the ferry drivers seat for a better view. Now that’s kindness, the kids loved it.

Note: Have cash ready for the ferry crossings, 10$ one way.

I Love You a Latte

Now in full caffeine deprivation, I would have loved a second coffee but the kids were tuckered and hunger so home we went!

That said, I do have a new favourite coffee stop in Rockland. It’s the Joyful Cafe located at 1600 Laurier St.

As for us, we headed home for supper, swimming, and s’mores.


Wrapping it up

It’s a lot of fun to have the littles with me on this one, with a few more adventures planned this year with them.  They aren’t quite the long distance hiking type, any elevation or distance over 2kms isn’t their thing. Buuuuuut they do love exploring and trying new outdoor things and that’s always right my alley. Cheers to making the most of the summer with family days like these!

Victoria xo