Engaging in outdoor activities involves certain risks, and it is always wise to exercise caution. In winter, cold weather can present a real danger. Because forewarned is forearmed, here are some tips to help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable outing in the Park.
Plan your outing
- Plan your route in advance, and consider trail distance and level of difficulty, as well as your own ability and the number of daylight hours before nightfall.
- Tell someone where you are going, and avoid setting out alone on the trails.
- Check for road, sector and trail closures.
- Dress appropriately, and wear footwear that is suited to your activity and the weather conditions.
Good to know
- Cross-country ski, snowshoe and snow biking trails are patrolled during the day.
- All shelters, except Shilly Shally and Sugarbush, are equipped with an emergency radio communication system.
- Don’t rely on your cellphone to make a call; cellphone reception and signals vary, depending on your telephone service provider and your location in the Park (including the parkways sector).
What to bring
Besides your cellphone for taking photos (or making a call, if you manage to get reception), these are the essentials you should have in your backpack:
- Gatineau Park summer trail map or winter trail map
- Navigation/ communication tool (map and compass or GPS)
- First aid kit
- Water and food
- Flashlight, whistle, pocket knife and matches
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat) and insect repellent
- Emergency shelter such as a tarp or large garbage bag
- Extra clothing (raincoat, warm clothing)
Keep your distance from wild animals
The forest is the home of wild animals. Keep a safe distance, observe from afar and do not feed any animals. Read our blogs to learn more about how to act prudently in the woods.
Rules and guidelines
Here are the main rules and guidelines to follow to help ensure a safe visit to Gatineau Park.
- On the parkways, follow the rules of the road, and obey speed limits.
- Use caution when passing cyclists: maintain a distance of 1.5 metres (which may make it necessary to drive somewhat over the yellow line).
- Vehicle parking is permitted in designated areas only, subject to fines. Lock your doors, and do not leave valuables in your car.
- Follow these seven principles of outdoor ethics.
- Pets are allowed on some hiking trails, and must be on leash (no longer than two metres.)
- Mountain biking is allowed only on designated trails, from May 15 (or later, depending on weather conditions) to November 30.
- Swimming is allowed only at supervised beaches.
- Camping, campfires and barbecuing are allowed only in designated areas.
- It is prohibited to possess or consume alcohol in any area other than your own campsite.
- Fishing is allowed at any lake in the Park (Quebec fishing licence required), except at Pink, Harrington (Mousseau) and Édouard lakes.
In the winter
- Ice-covered waterways are dangerous, and should be avoided at all times.
- Do not walk or snowshoe on or near cross-country ski trails.
- On trails where a fee is required for access, wear your pass in plain view.
Check the web page for your activity to find out about the ethics code, rules and other useful information for your outing.
It is the responsibility of Park visitors to know and follow the rules and guidelines pertaining to Gatineau Park, and to act prudently.