Parc nationale de Plaisance in Plaisance: Hiking Guide

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Parc nationale de Plasiance offers up a diverse landscape with multiple features like waterfalls, river views, marshlands, boardwalks, observation tower, and a suspension bridge. Not to mention the cycling trails, onsite camping, and kayak/canoe/SUP rentals. It’s a large park, with 28 square kms to explore and enjoy.

The Low Down

  • Distance from Ottawa: 60 kms (45mins).
  • GPS Coordinates: Unknown.
  • Address: 1001 Chemin de la Grande Presqu’île, Plaisance, QC 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/Masson (10$ cash only) or Rockland/Thurso (8$ cash only).
  • Entrance Fee: Kids under 12 are free. Charges per adult apply.
  • Parking: Parking available at trailheads.
  • Main Park Trailhead: There are numerous entry points to the park. The main office and parkway for trailheads that include the suspension bridge, marsh boardwalk, and camping sites are at 1001 Chemin de la Grande Presqu’île.
  • Chutes de Moulin (Chutes de Plaisance) Trailhead: located at 200 Chemin Malo #168, Plaisance, Quebec J0V 1S0. Full hiking guide available.
  • Birds Nest Lookout Trailhead: located at Sentier des Outaouais, Thurso, QC J0X 3B0. This trailhead is colocated with the Thurso/Rockland ferry.
  • Number of Trails: 7
  • Total Distance of Trails: 63kms
  • Elevation Gain: None.
  • Washrooms: Outhouses at varied location, washrooms at main reception are open 24/7.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons.
  • Features: suspension bridge, waterfalls, observation tower.
  • Activities: hiking, biking, canoeing/kayaking, birdwatching.
  • Dogs: The park has specific regulations around dogs.
  • Suggested Stops: Black Walnut Bakery in Cumberland.
  • Nearby Hikes: Foret la blanche, Kenauk Nature, parc des montagnes noires, Foret de Bowman, parc des chutes de Denholm.
  • More Information: visit the park’s site on Sepaq.

What to Bring

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

  • Bike: Typical Ontario 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. Approved cycling trails are listed below.
  • Picnic: There are plenty of great spots to stop for a picnic (like the rock picnic benches?!). Just remember that 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.

In Good Company

This is a much loved park! I’ve been here solo many times to simply immerse in nature and clear the mind. There have been family trips with my niece and nephew to visit the waterfalls. Aaaand this makes for a great on the way back from bigger hikes like Montagnes Noires or Kenauk Nature like Capital City Explorer and I did last month!

Parc Nationale de Plaisance Trails

All trails are clearly marked and well maintained. There are three trails for hikers only and the rest are shared trails with cyclists. Trail maps are posted at each of the major trailheads however I found it useful to have the printed/online map with me. The discovery guide offers a more complete picture of the map and trailheads.

  • Le pont suspendu: 1 km loop, hikers only, suspension bridge.
  • La Zizanie-des-Marais: 1 km loop, hikers only, marsh boardwalk.
  • Le marais de la Sarcelle: 3 km loop, hikers only, marsh.
  • Sentier La Serpentine: 17 km, hike/bike path.
  • Sentier Les Étangs: 8 km, hike/bike path.
  • Sentier des Outaouais: 21 km, hike/bike path, birds nest lookout tower.
  • Sentier de la Carrière: 11 km, hike/bike path, rock picnic area.
  • Sentier de la Baie-Noire: 2 km , hike/bike path.

Parc Nationale de Plaisance Features

There are some unique features to this park like the massive waterfalls located at 200 Chemin Malo. Or the cute suspension bridge on the short Le Pond Suspendu trail (parking at main welcome centre). And of course, the park’s newest addition, the observation tower dubbed ‘the birds nest’ that overlooks Perras Marsh.

It is an added bonus that this parc and trails are both cycle and family friendly. It as the distance to offer a worth while cycle adventures with interesting features/views to enjoy along the way.

There is also kayak/SUP/canoe rentals available at the main reception building.

Parc Nationale de Plaisance ViewPoints

All trails offer view points that include either the marshes or the river. Certainly makes for a beautiful landscape on clear days. The best however are arguable at the waterfalls, the observation tower, and the marsh boardwalk.

Wildlife

The marshlands offer up an abundance of wildlife like beavers, turtles, and birds. There are a few beaver dams that are easily viewed from La Zizanie-des-Marais and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the animals hard at work in their natural habitat.

Accommodations

Camping is available onsite.

Nourish Thy Self

If you’re coming from the east end, then grab a latte and pastries from the Black Walnut Bakery before taking the ferry.

Wrapping Up

Park nationale de Plaisance is the kind of spot that you keep going back to to enjoy that easy going escape from city life. I mean really, I tend to go after work during the week for a few hours, happily listen to audiobooks or podcasts and taking in the landscape. It clears the mind and offers balance. Whatever your reason, #optouside and often.

Victoria xo