P12 to McKinstry
(Click on the map for a larger view of the surrounding area of the park.)
Trails # 40 (blue), # 24 (green), and # 1 (green) in the Gatineau Park. Except for the first part of trail # 40, these are shared trails for both skate and classic cross-country skiing. Total distance (there and back) is about 20 kilometres. ( scroll down for photos )
The # 40 is a blue trail that can involve quite a bit of climbing. The short leg on trail # 24 is relatively easy. The part of trail # 1 leading to the McKinstry Cabin is reasonably wide and fairly long. Despite its blue designation, some areas are surprisingly easy. Others can be downright challenging, especially on the larger hills. There is a good mix of up and down sections on trail # 1, but there are generally more downhill legs on the return trip from McKinstry .
Trail # 1 is very pleasant. On parts of it you get a sense that you have reached an upper plateau and that you are skiing on the top of the hill (in distance, you see that the land falls off on both sides of the trail). When heading to McKinstry, turn right on the "Wolf" snowshoe trail and continue for about 300 metres. You'll be rewarded with a spectacular lookout over a good part of the Gatineau Park.
The McKinstry cabin is located towards the end of the trail. Since it is some distance off the beaten track, this cabin may not be as busy as some of the others in the park. Nevertheless, it is one of the nicer and more interesting cabins in the park. It is octagonally shaped, and inside, it has a sunken pit in the middle area where people can sit around the wood burning stove. Surrounding the sunken pit area are eight fairly large picnic tables.
From the McKinstry cabin, you can push on for another 2.5 kilometres to get to the old Fire Tower at end of trail # 1. This last part of the trail isn't overly challenging. There are some hill as you get closer to the tower, but nothing too serious.
Note that since this segment of Trail # 1 is a dead end, and because it is somewhat removed from the core of the trail network in this part of the Park, it has lower priority for grooming and trail setting. When heading out to McKinstry, it is usually a good idea to check on the status of this part of Trail # 1 on the park's web site.
(Photos from this trail - click on the images for larger pictures )
Photo(s) and web page, © Michael McGoldrick, 2006.
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