P17 (Wakefield) to Renaud
(Click on the map for a larger view of the surrounding area of the park.)
Trails # 52 (blue), # 50 (green) # 53 (green) in the Gatineau Park. Trail # 53 is only for classic cross-country skiing, the other two are shared trails. Total distance (to Renaud and back) is about 27 to 28 kilometres.
The # 52 is a blue trail which starts near Wakefield and ends where it meets Trail # 50. It is very scenic and winds through some nice mini valleys. Trail # 52 is for classic skiing only, but is reasonably wide with plenty of room for snow plowing and herringbone climbs. It has a good number of fairly big and challenging hills (more going than coming back).
It is possible to pick up quite of bit of speed when going down some of the larger hills, but they trend to have curves which bank in the right direction. As a result, many of the hills can be handled without too much trouble by people who have a reasonable amount experience. Trail # 52 is 7.5 kilometres long so people who don't ski regularly will want to pace themselves on this trail if they are planning to go much further.
At the end of Trail # 52 you can turn right onto Trail # 50. Before long you will be crossing the strip of land separating Lac Philippe and Lac Mousseau. Here it's possible to pick up the back-country trail # 54 for a side trip to the Lusk Caves.
Trail # 50 continues along the south side Lac Philippe. It is a wide shared trail which is located on what would be a paved park road during the summer. It has some long sloping hills that are easy to manage. There are a good number of outdoor picnic tables in the area which follows the south shore of Lac Philippe (a camping area during the summer) These tables have a nice exposure to the afternoon sun, and they are ideal rest stops on warm days when the weather is nice.
To get to the Renaud Cabin, turn right onto trail # 55. The overnight Des Pins Cabin is located very close to the intersection of trails # 50 and # 55. The day-use Renaud Cabin is located approximately 750 metres further up the # 55 (on the lefthand side). The Renaud Cabin has about a half dozen picnic tables, but its painted plywood finished interior isn't nearly as inviting as some of the other cabins in the park.
Note: The trip from P17 to Renaud and back is a good distance (close to 28 km). An alternative would be to turn left where trail # 52 meets the # 50 and head towards the Herridge Cabin. This would result in a slightly shorter trip totalling about 20 kilometres.
(Photos from this trail - click on the images for larger pictures )
Photo(s) and web page, © Michael McGoldrick, 2006.
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