The Carbide Wilson ruins are what’s left of Thomas “Carbide” Willson’s property on Meech Lake. In the late 1800’s Wilson made a name for himself in created the process by which we create calcium carbide, an important industrial chemical.
In the early 1900’s he bought 40 acres on Meech Lake, just below where another farmer had built a dam blocking a stream pouring out of the lake. He proceeded to build an even larger dam and a power station to manufacture fertilizer, but after complains from the lake users about water and his own inability to make the factory a success he was forced to close down.
The buildings remained and fell into disrepair, and now 100 years later we can walk through his mad-scientist laboratory and take in the spectacular falls and surrounding beauty.
Getting to The Carbide Wilson Ruins
Begin at P11 in Gatineau Park, the same parking lot as for O’Brien beach on Meech Lake.
Take Trail #36 for about 1km. There is a sign post for other destinations, and across from it is an unmarked trail, except for a “no-mountain-biking” sign – that’s your trail.
A little less than a kilometre on this back-country trail and you’ll begin to hear the roar of the waterfalls. As you approach the water there is a steep hill down, at the bottom of which you’ll find the ruins.
A small foot bridge runs across the water to the other side of the ruins.
A quick scamper through the woods and you can get to the top of the waterfalls and the ruins of the dam.
Caution should be used when climbing the ruins and going into the water, the rocks are slippery when wet, and I’ve seen small leeches too!
Cross Country Skiing into the Carbide Wilson Ruins
Access in the winter is also possible on cross country skis, and the snow-and-ice covered waterfalls are all the more spectacular.
You can read this article, Cross Country Skiing into the Carbide Wilson Ruins, for a full write-up of my ski-in.
Again, begin at P11 and take Trail #36 for about a kilometre.
At the sign post (which does not show Carbide Wilson Ruins), take the unmarked, back-country trail opposite from the sign. This trail has frequent foot traffic, and dogs, etc., so don’t expect this to be an easy section to ski.
I recommend you remove your skis when you get to the steep hill at the end of the trail, then proceed on foot from there!