Route Author: Amanda Brandimore
Location: Gatineau Park, Gatineau, Quebec
Estimated Dirt Time: 95%
Full Route Distance: 45.4km (28.1 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 40mm
Amenities: The village of Wakefield, near the beginning of the route, includes several pubs, restaurants and depanneurs. The western shores of Lac Phillipe, the route’s namesake, provide access to a couple of public beaches, as well as a large campground.
Parking: Parking can be found within the park itself at P17, Wakefield. A vault toilet is also available here.
The gravel riding scene in Gatineau Park is one of the Ottawa area’s best kept secrets. While the park is mostly known for hiking and, thanks to the dedicated work of the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association, mountain biking, it also includes ample accessible doubletrack and, at times, “relatively” smooth singletrack, tailor made for gravel bikes. This route, created by Amanda Brandimore, takes riders on a tour of Lac Phillipe, one of the park’s most iconic destinations.
Be sure to bring your bathing suit, insect repellant, and climbing legs.
From the P17 parking lot near Wakefield, ride counter-clockwise and head west via Trail 53 (Kennedy Road), climbing steadily on an extended stretch of firm doubletrack, before descending to a sign for P19 Lac Philippe.
Make a left here and follow the well maintained doubletrack to Chemin du Lac Phillipe. After following a brief stretch of pavement, return to dirt via Trail 55. While one can access Lac Phillipe by making a left at this junction, riders looking to forego a swim until later are advised to head right and follow the route west to Lac Taylor.
Upon reaching the intersection with Chemin du Lac Taylor, head right and follow the gravel road briefly along the southern shore of the lake, past a lovely rest stop, before returning to doubletrack via Trail 56. Follow the trail for approximately 2km, ascending to the highest point of route and a spectacular view, before descending back down Trail 56 to Chemin du Lac Taylor.
Soon after passing the northern shores of Lac Renaud, the option exists to make a right onto Trail 54. While this out-and-back spur trail has its fair share of climbing, it is well worth the effort as riders will be treated to a lovely rest stop in the form of a lakeside cabin, followed by a righteous descent back to the main route.
After returning to Chemin Lac Taylor, the route intersects with Chemin du Lac-Phillipe, providing the best access to nearby Parent Beach. After indulging in a mid-ride dip, continue briefly on pavement to the Trail 50 trailhead. This lovely section of doubletrack follows the south-western shores of Lac Phillipe for approximately 1.7km, past Trail 54, before making a left onto Trail 52.
Continue on this relatively rough (albeit manageable) stretch of doubletrack for approximately 5km, whereupon riders will have the option to follow a short spur trail to Brown Cabin. Otherwise, the route continues on easy to navigate doubletrack for 3km back to P17.