Location: Gatineau Park, QC
Start: Parent Beach Parking
Distance: 12 km
Time It Took Us: 4 Hours
Level of Difficulty: Eezy Peezy
This might just be one of the coolest hikes in Gatineau Park – hence a whole blog dedicated to this one hike.
Normally, you would park at Parent Beach and enjoy the hike immediately. We were idiots and didn’t check that the parkway had closed the week before, and had to park 2km’s away from the start point (YAY AN EXTRA 4 KILOMETRES).
It was a 5 degree rainy fall day, but HikeAddicts don’t let a little rain stop us from adventure. We brought along 2 other adventurous friends,
Meisha and Brittany.
The 4 of us started our hike on pavement down the closed parkway, walking down the middle of the road with overcast skies and the fall leaves blowing
around us – it was eerily post-apocalyptic. We only saw one group of road bikers, otherwise it was just the 4 of us for the next few hours.
We finally found the trailhead – thanks to Brittany who saw the little sign with the guy pointing a flashlight at the cave (you’ll learn quickly that us
finding trailheads is one of our biggest challenges). We made our way down the 73 trail through the most perfect fall scene – most of the leaves had
fallen but were still full of colour, but making our hike BEAUTIFUL, but slippery at times.
The route we took was pretty easy, and completely worth it for what we had ahead of us. None of us knew what to expect from the caves, other than the
fact that they were probably dark and rocky.
Not only were they dark and rocky, but we discovered Lusk Caves are SO FREAKING COOL. And considering there wasn’t a soul for kilometers, we had them all to ourselves, which is rare in summer months.
We found the entrance to the caves thanks to some signs out outdoor maps from the park, and climbed right in. Since it had recently rained and the time of year, there was quite a bit of water rushing
through, anywhere from a couple of inches to a couple of feet. Navigating through Lusk Caves requires a bit of manoeuvring, scrambling and climbing (and a flashlight, BRING A FLASHLIGHT).
Thank goodness for 4 of us, as we helped each other up sides of rocks and gave some epic moral support. We made our way about halfway through till the cave was completely full of water. From what we understand, you can swim through the rest of the caves in the summer – but we were NOT prepared to do that. Instead, we climbed our way up through an opening – which resembled the rocks giving birth to each one of us as we emerged.
After crushing some almonds we made our way back, taking the 50 trail back along the Philippe Lake shoreline. We stopped at the beach as well to take some awesome beach/fall photos.
Halfway back we were chilled to the bone from the rain and cold, and were ready for our car’s heated seats and some DELICIOUS soup at Chelsea Pub.
We HIGHLY recommend this hike – the summer would be prime, especially if you want to swim through the caves, but don’t expect to be alone on those hot summer days. Otherwise, enjoy the beauty and coolness that mother nature
has to offer in Lusk Caves!
Lots of hiking love,