Philippe Lake in autumn, with ochre and orange trees in the background.

This large lake is a great place to spend the day outdoors and explore the natural beauty of Gatineau Park. The area stands out for its tranquillity and captivating views of scenic landscapes from the lakeshore.

With Philippe Lake’s three sandy beaches, large campground, boat rental facilities and plenty of hiking trails, your discovery options are nearly unlimited.

Important

  • Philippe Lake is an ecosystem of great ecological importance. Please follow the principles of outdoor ethics.
  • Dogs and pets are not permitted at Gatineau Park beaches, picnic areas, day shelters and campgrounds.
  • In winter, there is a fee to access the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in Gatineau Park. Be sure to wear your pass in plain view.

Visiting Philippe Lake

Directions

From Gatineau, by car, take Highway 5 north to exit 28. By bike, take Highway 105. Then, take Highway 366 west to Philippe Lake Parkway. From spring to fall, take the free Transcollines bus to Breton Beach on weekends.

Parkway access

  • The parkway is open from mid-May to the end of October.
  • During the winter, it is open from Highway 366 to parking lot P20 (Breton Beach). From that point, the rest of the parkway becomes a cross-country ski trail.

Points of interest

Beaches

All Gatineau Park beaches are supervised by lifeguards from 10 am to 6 pm, during the swimming season.

  • Breton: Its long sandy strip is perfect for making sandcastles. It has charcoal BBQs, a wheelchair access ramp into the water and a chair lift.
  • Parent: Equipped with a playground, it’s a great spot for children. It has a launch for non-motorized boats and a non-motorized boat rental service.
  • Smith: This smaller beach is located at the eastern end of the campground, and is for campers only. Closed for the summer of 2024 due to the rehabilitation of the Philippe Lake campground.

During the swimming season, beaches are tested every two weeks for bacteriological water quality. Check out the state of the beaches before travelling.

Beaches status and water quality

    Trails

    • Three-season trails: In summer, the Philippe Lake sector provides access to a network of hiking and mountain biking trails. In this area, you’ll find Trail 51 (starting at parking lot P19), Trail 55 (starting at Breton Beach) and Trail 50 (starting at Parent Beach). You can walk your leashed pet on the trails from April 15 to November 30.
    • Winter trails: In winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers have access to a vast network of trails, starting at parking lot P19 and P20 (Breton Beach). A daily pass or season pass is required to access these winter trails. Pets are not allowed on these trails.

    Day shelters

    Renaud Shelter is named after the Renaud family, who settled in the Philippe Lake sector of the Park in the late 19th century. In winter, the shelter is accessible on skis via Trail 55 and snowshoes via Trail 74. In summer, it is accessible on foot or by mountain bike via Trail 55.

    Lusk Cave

    Lusk Cave is a superb marble cave and natural geological phenomenon that has formed over thousands of years. It is accessible via trails 50 or 54. Trail 50 is partially closed. A detour via Trail 73 is in place. Please note that a section of the trail is steep, and a rope has been installed to facilitate passage. Bikes and dogs may have difficulty getting through. The section of Trail 54 that leads to Lusk Cave is closed in winter.

    Facilities

    • Parking: There are four parking lots. Schedule, geolocation and pricing.
    • Washrooms: There are washrooms and change rooms available at the beaches. There are outhouses by the shelters.
    • Picnic area: There are picnic tables at the beaches.
    • Universal accessibility: There are universally accessible toilets and picnic tables at the beaches. At Breton Beach, there is a wheelchair-accessible ramp into the water and a beach wheelchair to assist people with reduced mobility.

    About Philippe Lake

    Philippe Lake flows into Mousseau (Harrington) Lake, which in turn flows into Meech Lake. This chain of three lakes represents an important habitat for a variety of fish and water birds. The lakes are also home to a very rare species of snail found nowhere else in Canada: the Gatineau tadpole snail.

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