After reading Dave Brown’s article in the Citizen about the hike up Wolf Trail in Gatineau Park, I was inspired to hit it up last week. But to add some web-content-relevance, I turned on EveryTrail and tracked the entire route!
Our trip started at an empty P13 across from Meech Lake on a cool, humid, overcast day – perfect for an uphill trek like the first half of the Wolf Trail. This trail is rated a black diamond, or a 4 out of 5 in terms of difficulty, so be prepared: bring lots of water and some good energy snacks, as you may well need them!
The adventure gets going immediately with a good stretch of UP, just to get the heart going! You’re quickly rewarded, though, as the hike is fun, bouldery, and scramble-y in many places, especially after you split to the right side of the loop. Before too long you’re getting up to a couple hundred metres in altitude and you get to see some nice views down the valley at the wild, undeveloped park forests at Belvedere and Mahingan lookouts. Don’t be fooled by the first couple of lookouts though: you’re still early in the hike!
Long stretches pass without seeing another soul along the rough and unspoiled trail, which I find always adds greater enjoyment to even a mediocre hike. We carried on, back through the forest and along a ridge that stretched for over a kilometer; running atop the exposed toe of the Canadian Shield, peering over either edge; mushrooms and mosses and trees all thriving in the rugged seclusion… this is a beautiful stretch of the hike!
Finally, after wrapping around some rocky, wild hilltops that make up some of the highest parts of the Eardley Escarpment, and then a right at the sign, we clamoured up and over the great white rock at Tawadina lookout for a stunning view of the Ottawa River valley below.
We stopped here for a bite and a break, then began the easy trek to finish off the loop: the rest of the trail, about 3k, is primarily down and made of nice, wide pathways for the most part. The entire hike was about 9½ kilometers and, with an extended break, took my girlfriend and I about 4 hours, just as the rain started!
Wolf Trail is definitely one of my favourite hiking trails in Gatineau Park! My only regret is that my real camera is in the shop! I guess I’ll have to do it again soon… this time with shoes!