After reading the 2010 municipality plans to develop a trail system in Parc regional de la foret bowman to attract tourism, it was a no-brainer that this was a trail that would be great to explore and add our list! And boy oh biy was I ever right about this one. Certainly one of the better trails in that it was well maintained, remote, chalk full of features, offered a physical challenge, and had incredible lookouts.
Just over an hour from Ottawa, this is a hike you’ll want to discover this year!
The Low Down
- Distance from Ottawa: 60kms (1hr 15mins)
- GPS Coordinates: Unknown.
- Address: Chemin du Lac du Brochet, Bowman, QC
- Directions: From the King Edward bridge, take Autoroute 50 East. In 3.5 kms, exit for the 307 North. Take the 307 North for 60kms and then turn left (West) on Chemin Faubert in Bowman. In 800m drive straight on to Chemin du lac du Brochet (dirt road – brown park sign is partially hidden at the chemin faubert/chemin du lac du brochet intersection). Parking will be ahead on right and clearly marked.
- Entrance Fee: Free.
- Parking: 6-8 vehicle parking at Lac du Brochet.
- Trailhead: To hike the trail clockwise, the trailhead is 50m before the parking lot across from Lac du Brochet.
- Number of Trails: 1
- Total Distance of Trails: approx. 6km
- Elevation Gain: 350m
- Washrooms: Outhouses onsite near parking lot.
- Cell Reception: Yes.
- Season: All seasons (hunting forbidden).
- Features: Lakes, grottos, lookouts, mushrooms, wildflowers.
- Activities: hiking, snowshoeing.
- Dogs: Permitted.
- Suggested Stops: See The Roadtrip Series: Outaouais
- Nearby Hikes: Parc des chutes in Denholm.
- More Information: visit the municipality of Bowman.
Note: Up the road on the 307, past chemin faubert, is a boat launch for réservoir Escalier. This is a motorized boat approved waterway and great spot for fishing.
What to Bring
- Bug hat/gear: Typical for the area, with the abundance of mosquitoes in the late spring especially. So if there’s no wind, you might want to think about bug gear, or at the very least, bug spray. There are also long grass areas – tick protocols are necessary (as with almost all hikes).
- Swimgear: At the parking lot is a picnic area and dock so that you can enjoy a refreshing post hike swim in Lac du Brochet.
In Good Company
Hiking Montagne de la grotte was a part of testing out one of The Roadtrip Series for the Outaouais region, and thankfully my friend Rosalyn from CapitalCityExplorer is always up for the adventure!
Parc regional de la foret Bowman
The Parc regional de la foret Bowman is comprised of 680 hectacres of land that houses six peaks and five lakes. After reading through the 2010 proposal for development of the parc, there are significant changes to come that will make forest bowman a prime destination for outdoor adventurists and nature lovers.
The six peaks within forest bowman are:
- Montagne Cook (430m)
- Montagne Desjardins (370m)
- Montagne Faubert (320m)
- Montagne Francoeur (420m)
- Montagne du français (390m)
- Montagne de la Grotte (350m)
Sentier #1 Montagne de la Grotte
There isn’t a lot of information online about this trail and no trail map onsite so please have a read through the below as it wouldn’t be hard to get turned about in the forest.
The trailhead is approx 50 m before the main parking lot at Lac du Brochet. This trail is best hiked clockwise. The pathway is well marked and wide for the most part.
Where we took a wrong turn: Or rather, didn’t turn. It is important to note that once you see the large pond on the trail left, then the main trail swings right and is clearly marked. If you cross a mini bridge over the stream and continue to longer grass – you’ve gone too far.
Along the trail are 6 grottos all different in appearance and interesting in there own right. After the grottos, the trail brings you back out to the main forest road where you turn right and hike up the road (and up the incline) until the next entrance for the final push to the lookouts is found. this is marked with a “sentier #1” sign that’s well in the forest and a little hard to see so keep an eye out.
The approach to the lookout is a significantly steep incline with a few switchbacks. There are three lookouts, mostly identified by the cliff warning signs.
The trails continues to be well marked until the decent begins. They are still working on this section of the trail. You could always double back but this makes for a long hike. The decent is through long grass in section and marked with yellow trail markers in a few spots. Follow the narrow path down to reach the forest road once more. Head right off the trail to the parking lot.
Foret de Bowman Features
Those grottos! This forest trail keep me interested the entire route. First of all, there are six grottos along the path along with massive rock formations and plenty of interesting flora.
Grotto: noun, a small cave (usually with attractive features) Synonyms: grot Type of: cave a geological formation consisting of an underground enclosure with access from the surface of the ground or from the sea.
You’re such a Fungi
Mushroom lovers rejoice, there are plenty of varied species in foret Bowman for all to observe amongst the flora.
Lac Du Brochet
Of course, another fantastic feature, are the lakes. In particular, Lac de Brochet for post hike swims and picnics. It is a large clean lake, undisturbed by human instructor save for the floating dock that make for an excellent jumping off point.
Montagne de la Grotte ViewPoints
There are three freakin’ fantastic viewpoints. Merci mes amis au foret bowman pour cet sentier! Both Capital City Explorer and I let out little ‘woot woot’ of joy when we got to these lookouts. So dang pretty. And peaceful. You could just sit on the large rock surfaces and watch the birds soar over the lakes below. The perfect reward at the end of the trail and a spot to fuel up with water and snacks.
Hmmm, no big wildlife see in Foret de Bowman but I did yell “yo bear” a zillion times just in case. There has been beaver, porcupine, deer, and moose observed on the property.
Native to the area but not yet observer on the property are wolves, coyotes, lynx, raccoons, and marmottes.
There were plenty of birds keep the forest alive with song which we both thoroughly enjoyed including wood peckers and osprey. Oohhh, and fish. The lake was full of tiny fish swimming around our toes while chillin’ on the dock post hike.
There are plenty of camping sites in the municipality of Bowman, over 650 camping sites actually. Most residing along the réservoir Escalier.
- Camping Idéal: 290 sites
- Camping Thom: 147 sites
- Camping Paris: 113 sites
- Lac-Escalier: 79 sites
- Camping Prescott: 32unités
Nourish Thy Self
Oh it was back to Le Hibou on the way home for a full on post hike celebration with delicious food. They make the best bean and beet burger I’ve had and we didn’t mind celebrating a fantastic day with a little sangria as well.
Afterwards it was over to Ma Boule for an ice cream cone to enjoy while we walked through town and along the river.
Three cheers to making the most out of this year by upping our play time outdoors!
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson