.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park Ski Trails: Firetower
By:  David Zylberberg   (2002/12/08)

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Every area that has good skiing, has particular trails that are well suited to different purposes. Ottawa happens to have the best I have experienced for a fairly long, easy ski. It is wide and fairly easy technically with rolling hills and twists and turns that prevent monotony. This trail is surrounded by small streams, hardwood trees, hills and in some spots small cliffs.

The trail I am referring to is the one that goes to the Firetower, the highest point in Gatineau Park and the furthest into the park that the trails are groomed. The best place to begin is from P12 on Meech Lake. Follow the main trail up the hill out of the parking lot and then continue until you meet Trail #1 (the trail from P12 ends here). At this point make a right hand turn and continue either until the Firetower or until you feel like turning around. There will be signs directing you to McKinstry (a wooden building, where you could stop to rest) near the Firetower. Follow these signs and then continue past McKinstry.

This trail is also accessible from P10 (near Camp Fortune). Follow the Parkway from P10 past Fortune Lake and make a right at the sign to the Keogan Shelter. At this point you will be on Trail #1 and continue on this main trail until you reach Champlain Lookout, at which point you turn right and continue on Trail #1 until the Firetower.

This trail is about 35 km from P12 and 40 from P10 and is well worth the time. When conditions are good, giving a well-groomed surface that is still soft enough for control but fast enough for glide, this trail is very hard to beat for an enjoyable morning. I like to go there on a Sunday morning, when there is nothing else to do, skiing at a relaxed pace, enjoying the surroundings and the feeling of gliding through uninhabited forests.

 
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