Lauriault Trail in Gatineau Park: Winter Hiking Details

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Originally today, I was suppose to meet up with a group to go hiking. Except old man winter had other plans! Ottawa Public Health issued a warning last night, it’s -30’C, low visibility, and boat loads of snow. I mean, it’s beautiful. Like living in a snow globe really.  But hardly the type of weather to bring a new group hiking. Sooooo I’m going to sit here sippin’ on ma coffee and enjoying the views. If I get adventurous I’ll do my taxes later. 😉

I have hiked Lauriault Trail a few weeks ago, it’s one of only 4 trails that are open to winter hiking in Gatineau Park. The rest of the trails are designated for snowshoeing and skiing. Options are limited for hikers in the park! It ok though, Lauriault is a decent enough trail to enjoy and the trailhead is at Mackenzie King Estate which is a bonus with its photogenic ruins.

lauriault trail

The Low Down

  • Distance: A quick 25 km (roughly 30mins) drive from downtown Ottawa.
  • Address: Mackenzie King Estate, Chelsea, QC J9B 1H7
  • Directions: Get on Autoroute 5 N in Hull, Gatineau from Albert St/Ottawa 42, Wellington St/Ottawa 34, Portage Bridge and Boulevard Maisonneuve N. (9 mins, 5.4kms) or get on Autoroute 5 N in Hull, Gatineau from King Edward Bridge. Follow Autoroute 5 N to Chemin Old Chelsea in Chelsea. Take exit 12 from Autoroute 5 N. (7mins, 10.7kms). Continue on Chemin Old Chelsea and take Chemin Kingsmere on left (south). From Chemin Kingsmere turn left on Chemin Swamp. At the end of Chemin Swamp turn right on Chemin Barns. Take the first left in Mackenzie King Estate P6.
  • Cellphone Range: Yes.
  • Trail Distance: 3-5 kms
  • Elevation Gain: 77m
  • Duration: 2hrs
  • Dogs: Yes!
  • Crowds: Medium traffic.
  • Washrooms: Outhouse at the parking lot.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Season: Open year round.
  • More Information: Trail map or visit the Gatineau Park website.

In Good Company

Two of my favourites came to enjoy Lauriault trail with me, fellow adventurer Davianna whom you see on the trails with me often, and our own capital city explorer Rosalyn Glass. We chatted all things nursing of course and Davianna was clicking away with her new SDL camera for our future hiking adventures.  It was cold. Like decently cold. Didn’t see to stop us though and it made the post hike coffee at Biscotti et cie all the sweeter!

lauriault trail
lauriault trail

What to bring

Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, here are the highlights for this particular hike:

  • Poles and/or microspikes: The winter trail gets packed and slippery at spots, highly recommend micro spikes and/or poles for grip and balance.
  • Waste bag: What you hike in with, you hike out with. That’s the golden rule, and if you see anything that’s not part of nature (like food wrappers) kindly pick it up to throw out later.
  • Tip: turn your cellphone on ‘airplane mode’ during the hike to save battery power, that way you won’t run out for a) emergencies and b) all-the-pics.
lauriault trail

Lauriault Trail Directions

Just like Wolf Trail, Lauriault Trail is a little tricky to follow if you’re unsure of how it’s laid out. We got a little turned around twice, but once you know it it’s easy peasy. Or follow these directions, either way works!

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Park at P6 (Mackenzie King Estates parking lot).
  • Trail head is right beside the outhouses (snap a pic of the trail board!).
  • The trail is actually goes under a roadway on the outgoing trek and crosses the road way on the return.
  • Follow the signs for ‘waterfalls’
  • Print out the Gatineau Park map for Lauriault Trail, it’ll make better sense once you see the route.
lauriault trail
lauriault trail

Lauriault Trail Conditions

Lauriault trail is rpetty well maintained and certainly wide enough to hike two by two. The trail is slippery in the winter from packed snow or ice, especially down near the waterfalls area and trail steps.  Kindly dress for the weather in winter months! This means warm layers, no cotton, wool socks, waterproof hikers, poles for balance if needed, gators if there is plenty of snow, and microspikes if it’s particularly icy.

lauriault trail
lauriault trail

Points of Interest

  • Lauriault Trail Lookout
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Mackenzie King Estate
  • Mulhivill Lake
lauriault trail
lauriault trail
lauriault trail

I Love You a Latte

Oh you know we stopped at Biscotti et cie again! I’m in love with there vibe (try going upstairs to the lounge area!) and oh-so-delish lattes. We warmed up there, drank all the coffee goodness, and talked about future adventures. These are the kind of days I love best.

lauriault trail

Wrapping it up

It’s been a little quiet on Girl Gone Good lately as I’m wrapping up my LAST ever semester of nursing school.  It’s been a hella busy holiday season very much sans the holidays part. #hustle All energy has going towards university, however I’m trying my best to still get out there to hike for sanity’s sake! In fact I just hiked Blueberry Mountain again last weekend – it does a soul good.

Victoria xo