Thanks to our friends on CTV Morning Live Ottawa for having us on to talk about fall hiking in Ottawa/Gatineau Park.

We cover gear to bring and where to hike from beginner to advanced. Watch video below, and check out our TOP 5 GATINEAU PARK HIKES.

Mary Anne Ivison

Mary Anne loves hiking, mossy rocks and her gig as a radio personality. She is in pursuit of becoming an ADK 46er and touching every mountain on planet Earth.

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Congratulations! This is your first step to becoming a HikeAddict. We love hiking, and the whole point of this blog is to share our love and passion for hiking with you. However, actually getting outside and actually doing it can be a bit intimidating. Here’s our “A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking” to help you get outside, connect with nature, and get some exercise in the process.

Where do I go?

I find this a big barrier for some people, where the heck do you start? It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should have an idea where you’re going. Thank God for MAPS! Oh, and bring a buddy.

Here are some of our favourite beginner hikes in the Ottawa area:

Mer-Bleue Bog

Pine Grove Trail

Stony Swamp
Old Quarry Trail

Pink Lake Trail

Here’s also a list of our favourite hikes in Gatineau Park if you want to be a bit more adventurous: CLICK HERE!

What do I wear and what do I bring?

If you’re just starting out to see if hiking’s your “thing”, you don’t have to invest in $300 boots and merino wool (yet). Test out the trails with clothes you would wear to the gym – with a few extras.

Hiking Beginner Gear:

– Good, sturdy shoes or hiking boots
– Athletic socks
– Gym clothing or whatever you’re comfortable in (I would suggest long pants to help against bug bites/nature critters)
– Sunglasses
– Hat

When it comes to clothing be sure to check the weather before you go – a raincoat is something I usually carry!

Small Backpack to Hold The Following:

– Water (at least a litre, drink the whole thing!)
– Snack (nuts are great)
– Hand sanitizer
– Kleenex
– Bug spray or a natural repellent
– After-bite
– Sunscreen (apply before you go)
– Bandaids or small first aid kit
– Map (or your GPS on your phone)

Goodluck on your first adventure, and if you need anything don’t hesitate to email us at HikeAddicts@gmail.com!

Mary Anne

Mary Anne Ivison

Mary Anne loves hiking, mossy rocks and her gig as a radio personality. She is in pursuit of becoming an ADK 46er and touching every mountain on planet Earth.

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So there’s absolutely nothing fab about socks, no matter how I work my way through this. But my hope here is that I write this post and maybe someday someone is researching hiking socks, Googles “Best socks for hiking” and stumbles across our blog. One can hope, right?


These are the socks I swear by and brought with me to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. Of course it’s a personal preference but if you’re looking for kick-a$$ socks that will keep your feet warm, dry and comfy then read on!


5) Wigwam Merino Light Hiker Socks

Not only is Wigwam fun to say, they make great socks too! Ok, that deserves an eye roll. I like how these are a little tighter around the arch of your foot and have cushioning around the heel and forefoot. Can we all just take a second to read the top review for these socks titled “The Beatles of Socks” where they’re compared to “a million of the world’s cutest puppies licking your feet”?

‘Nuff said.

4) Smartwool Hiking Women’s Crew Socks

There’s nothing fancy about the Smartwool socks but they do the trick. I have a few pairs of them and over the years they’ve become a staple in my hiking wardrobe.


3) DARN TOUGH Light Hiker Micro Crew Sock

I only have one pair of these babies and they’re the pair that I grab as soon as they’re out of the wash. These were the first pair of hiking socks I bought when I was at SAIL; Up until then I was hiking in athletic ankle socks. How, I’ll never really know. Such a rookie move.

What I love about these socks are that they’re super light weight but are somehow (with the magic of Merino Wool) still incredibly warm.


2) Women’s Merino Wool GX Hiking Socks

These were an online find only a week or so before my trip to Tanzania and MAN, am I ever happy to have found them. They come in a beautiful rainbow of colours (FUN!) and also happen to be a cheap yet awesome sock. I wore these for probably 80% of my time on Killy.

Even though these are my second fave sock, there’s not much to say about them other than the fact that they’re super comfy, kept my feet warm (or cool in hotter temps) and didn’t break the bank. Two big ol’ thumbs up.


1) Icebreaker Lifestyle Ultralight Women’s Crew Socks

Oh, Icebreaker, you did it again. My collection is starting to look like I’m a walking ad for the company. If you don’t own anything by Icebreaker and you’re an outdoorsy person you need to drop every right this second and buy some NOW. This is an order.

These lightweight, super soft, non-itchy, anti-blister socks are the bomb.com and well worth the slightly higher price-tag.


Happy trails!

– Vicky

Vicky Castledine

Vicky is a Content Marketing Manager from Monday to Friday and a trail runner/ book lover/ dog hugger/ wilderness explorer after 5 PM and on weekends.

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This might have been the easiest list to write ever – our favourite local hikes in Gatineau Park.  It’s the closest and best hiking in the Ottawa vicinity, and only a quick 15 minute drive over the Quebec border from downtown.

Don’t forget to hit up one of the cute spots in Chelsea for a post-hike coffee or lunch. Our personal favourites include Chelsea Pub and Biscotti & Cie.


1. Wolf Trail/Blanchet  


















Starting Point: Gatineau Park, P13
Distance: 8.3 km
Time it took us: 2 Hours 15 Mins
Level of Difficulty: Little Tricky

This is hands down our favourite trail in Gatineau Park.  It’s a good distance for a weekend morning workout, but not too grueling that you’re sore for days.  It also some fantastic views while you rest and eat your snacks.


2. Luskville Falls  














Starting Point: 
Luskville Falls Picnic Area
Distance: 4.5 km
Time It Took Us: 1.5 to 2.5 (depending on route)
Level of Difficulty: Little Tricky

This is a good trail for burning calories. It’s a good distance, and perhaps the steepest trail in Gatineau Park.  If you’re working on that booty, this is the trail for you.


3. Lusk Caves 

(My spider bitches)
(My spider bitches)

Start: Parent Beach Parking
Distance: 12 km
Time It Took Us: 4 Hours
Level of Difficulty: Eezy Peezy

We love this trail and adventure so much, it got its own blog post.


4. Pink Lake














Starting Point: Pink Lake Parking Lot
Distance: 2.5 km
Time It Took Us: 30 mins
Level of Difficulty: Easy Peezy


Pink Lake is a perfect beginners hike, and tourists/locals love it for it’s beauty (P.S. It’s not actually pink, more like an emerald colour).


5. Carbide Willson Ruins 












Starting Point: P11, O’Brien Beach Parking Lot 
Distance: 3.8 km (there and back)
Time It Took Us: 1 hour
Level of Difficulty: Eezy Peezy


This place is freaking cool.  You’ll learn about the history of the Carbide Willson Ruins AND be amazed by the waterfalls running through them.  You can also continue hiking past the ruins if you want a longer hike.

Mary Anne Ivison

Mary Anne loves hiking, mossy rocks and her gig as a radio personality. She is in pursuit of becoming an ADK 46er and touching every mountain on planet Earth.

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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.

(So majestic)

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.

(Much water. So rock. Wow.)



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).


(Just naturally taking a selfie and NOT helping)
(My spider bitches)
(My spider bitches)

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.

(A young female hiker emerges from mother nature’s crevice)

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,

Mary Anne

Mary Anne Ivison

Mary Anne loves hiking, mossy rocks and her gig as a radio personality. She is in pursuit of becoming an ADK 46er and touching every mountain on planet Earth.

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