Remember when you were young, fit, free, and loved to go on long fall hikes? Well even if you don’t, you can start making those memories now. Yes, even if you’ve got kids in tow.
The Gatineau Hills, just 15 minutes from Parliament Hill, offer a whack of autumn trails the whole family can enjoy.
And the best time to hike those hills is now, as the leaves change their colours. From October 2 to 17, the National Capital Commission will run its annual celebration of autumn colours—Fall Rhapsody. There’s not a lot of hoopla here: the festival is mainly a reminder that you live next to some splendid scenery, that the colours are beautiful in autumn, and that you ought to get out and see them. Seriously.
Of course, the secret is out and the time frame is short—so you may have to contend with crowds. Choose your trails wisely and refer to this Gatineau Park Interactive Trail Map for some ideas.
Consider dropping by the Visitor Centre on the weekend for the NCC’s Follies of the Fall Forest program. It’s a free, two-hour educational workshop for the whole family which introduces different tree species and investigates why leaves change their colours. A guided hike on the adjacent Sugarbush Trail rounds up the experience perfectly. (Runs September 25 to October 17, weekends only.)