Skyline trail (trail #6) in Gatineau Park is one of the few trails that offer up an eastern facing lookout to catch the sun rise. My favourite of course is hiking Manitou Mountain in the winter for a sun rise over the valley, but this, this trail is a quick and easy win. With an adventurous spirit and head lamps on… off we went!
The Low Down
- Distance: A quick 25 km (roughly 30mins) drive from downtown Ottawa.
- Address: P7, Chemin de kingsmere, Chelsea, QC J9B 1H9
- Directions: Take the King Edward bridge to cross over to Quebec and stay on hwy 5N. Continue on 5N then exit on Chemin Old Chelsea. Turn left (West) on Chemin Old Chelsea and as you enter Gatineau Park the road turns into Chemin Lac Meech. Turn left on chemin de kingsmere. Continue until you reach P7 on the right.
- Cellphone Range: Yes.
- Distance: 5.5 kms
- Elevation Gain: 164m
- Duration: 1hr.
- Dogs: Yes.
- Crowds: None for sunrise. 😉
- Washrooms: Outhouse at the parking lot.
- Entrance Fee: Free.
- Season: Open year round, in the winter it becomes primarily a snowshoe trail.
- More Information: Visit the Gatineau Park website.
It is amazing to have adventurous friends that say yes to waking up at 3:30am during the summer so that we can hike in the dark to catch a sunrise! I mean really, not many are willing to wake up that early on the weekend. Ha ha. Actually, I think that more of a normal bedtime on the weekends for some! Not us though, early birds get the best views.
We arrived when the sky was filled with stars which was incredibly peaceful and comforting. Not so comforting was when I told my hiking buddy that I was bringing bear spray just in case. It was hard not to giggle. Better safe than sorry, this is a night hike in Gatineau and there are yogi bears in the area. Mostly though, ya just got be loud, and those black bears will stay away. And being loud was no problem – we had plenty of catching up to do! This hiking buddy is among my favourites to chat about all things that are good for the soul, and chat we did.
What to bring
- Bear bell/spray: There are bears and other wildlife in the area. So if you’re hiking solo or in a small group, then a bear bell and/or spray is advised.
- 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.
Skyline Trail Description
I always think it’s funny to search for trails in Gatineau Park when there both a name and a number assigned for identification. Like “wolf trail” that’s also blanchet as well as trail 62. On the interactive map for Gatineau Park you’ll see that this trail is marked as Skyline.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Park at P7.
- Trail head is right beside the outhouses (snap a pic of the trail board!).
- The trail is actually number black diamond #6 and goes in a loop.
- The route from the parking lot is #30, left on #1 for 25m then an immediate right on to #6. The #6 goes in the loop, with the lookout all on the east side.
Skyline trail is a dirt path, well marked, and 2-3 feet wide. Relatively easy hike for all to enjoy and we were thinking that it would be a lot of fun for young adventurers to enjoy as well.
Skyline Trail Lookout
Skyline trail has three lookouts facing southeast. Three! Sweet. Most offer a partially obstructed view of the sunrise, and the furthest lookout gives the best views. Except for the gnarly looking tree on the south side, which seems to be in everyones picture of this hike…so. we avoided it, ha ha ha.
I Love You a Latte
Another bonus with hiking so early? Being first in line at Biscotti et cie when it opens. Actually we had time for a second hike before opening but decided to keep chatting and catching up instead.
My hiking buddy is one of the kind spiritual souls that you can talk all day with…about life, goals, and fun memories (aka the ridiculous shit we did as our younger selves and are super humbled by today). We talked about the impermanence of relationships, how they grow and change over time, and how the right people cross your path when you need it. We chatted about finances and our current obsessions with reduced spending/consumerism and minimalism. I’ve been devouring financial blogs lately, fascinated by how simple life can be with less. Anyone else obsessed with early retirement? Or financial freedom? Maybe this is the subject for another post. 😉
On another note, still hooked on those dirty chai lattes and almond croissants as you can tell!
Wrapping it up
It’s been a big hiking week with Skyline trail, chutes de plaisance, and foret la blanche! All family friendly adventures for Ottawa area folks to enjoy, and this time more towards the east end of town. 🙂 This season is jam packed with new trails and weekend adventures, there’ll be plenty of new hiking guides to share. Actually, every weekend is booked until end october! Just the way I like it. 😉 Happy adventures!