Eardley Escarpment

The Eardley Escarpment is home to the richest and most fragile ecosystem in Gatineau Park, primarily because of its geology and location. The Escarpment is the dividing line between the rock of the Canadian Shield, which covers more than half of Canada, and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. It rises 270 metres from the floor of the Ottawa Valley, and extends over more than 30 kilometres.

Home to Rare Species

The Eardley Escarpment’s southern exposure gives it a hot, dry microclimate, similar to the forests of the American Midwest. Because of this unique microclimate, the Escarpment is home to many rare species. More than half of Gatineau Park’s 145 plant and animal species at risk are found on the Eardley Escarpment. 

Plants

In Quebec, the Eardley Escarpment features roughly 50 species at risk, primarily herbaceous plants, and trees such as

  • white oak
  • butternut
  • eastern red cedar.

The eastern red cedar (or eastern juniper) is a species that is extremely rare in Quebec. The Escarpment contains more than 80 percent of all eastern red cedar trees inventoried in the province. This small tree can live for a very long time. The oldest surveyed in the park is over 400 years old.

Wildlife

The Escarpment houses Quebec’s only known population of the juniper hairstreak, a rare, green-winged butterfly. Its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the juniper without damaging the tree.

The majority of Gatineau Park’s white-tailed deer spend winter on the Escarpment, as the area is well protected from cold, northerly winds.

Help us protect Gatineau Park, and leave no trace.

Access to the Eardley Escarpment

Washrooms                   

There are dry toilets at the Champlain Lookout, Étienne Brûlé Lookout, Church Hill Picnic Area, and by the Luskville Falls Trail.

Parking

There is free parking at the Champlain Lookout, Étienne Brûlé Lookout, Huron Lookout, Church Hill Picnic Area, and by the Luskville Falls Trail.

Picnic Areas                 

There are picnic tables and barbecues at the Church Hill Picnic Area and by the Luskville Falls Trail. There are also picnic tables at the Étienne Brûlé Lookout.

Universal Accessibility                 

The Champlain and Étienne Brûlé lookouts are universally accessible.


For more information, see Gatineau Park’s visitor information page.