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Gatineau Park - Lusk Cave Trail


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A sunny late summer Saturday always signals the perfect time to go exploring and hiking. Having been interested for some time to see what all the fuss over the Lusk Caves was about, Ana and I ventured out to the Philippe Lake area to hike the trail and check out this unique attraction in Gatineau Park.

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The Lusk Caves were created some 12,500 years ago from melting glacial waters. This melting water was forced into cracks of the Marble rock, eroding them more quickly than the other type of rock present, which led to the creation of the unique tunnels that are explorable today. To this day, water continues to stream through the cave, continuing this erosion and gradually shaping the cave. Exploring the cave is an experience all on its own, clearly a fact recognized by the amount of people visiting. 

The Lusk Stream flows through the cave and as a result, exploration consists of passages of water, some dry and shallow, others with water levels as high as a metre or more. There are brief sections that are visible from above, along the Lusk Cave trail, but the majority is in the dark, so flashlights are a must.

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Starting from the Parent Beach area, we chose the Trail 50, which passes along the beaches and shores of the Philippe Lake area. You can experience various micro climates, some areas cool and refreshing, while others hot and humid. This trail is relatively easy to cross, as it is mostly flat with some slight hills and rolls. For the final third of the trail to the cave, the terrain becomes more hilly but still easy to navigate.

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A famous deer from Disney's Bambi movie made a brief appearance along the trail.

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After walking for about an hour, over a distance of approximately 4km, you arrive at the exit of the Lusk Cave. The exit is notable as it is almost entirely submerged under water. People exiting have just enough room to pass with their heads out of the water. 

Continuing past this point, and ascending the stairs, we head towards the main entrance to the cave, located 150 metres away and higher up in the mountain. The trail now takes us past several points where the rock opens up, allowing a view from above into the cave and those passing through it.

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With the sound of running water becoming ever louder, we finally arrive at the entrance to the Lusk Cave. Here, plenty of people have set up camp and are preparing to venture through.

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Here is a map, prepared by the NCC, showing the layout of the Lusk Cave, and illustrating the water levels found within.

Whether the goal is to explore the Lusk Cave, or to simply enjoy the hike along the trail, this area is definitely worth a visit. The hike from the Parent Beach parking to the cave and back is 8.6km and takes about 3 hours to complete. From beautiful scenery, to amazing geological features, you will return home relaxed by nature, and exercised by adventure.

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Beautiful scenery and the report left me wanting to go and explore the caves. i think on a beautiful sunny day and wanting to do something different while at the same time exercising this would be the place to go. Keep the report coming!!!

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    • By Shane
      It had been 3 years since we last explored these trails. With another hot and summery day upon us, it was time to stay cool by hitting the trails during the heat wave. It's truly amazing how nature and the trees can help regulate the heat. You really do not feel as hot when under the tree canopy.
      Arriving shortly after 11am (as the Gatineau Parkway roads are closed till 11 for the Sunday Bikedays), we parked at the lot by the Waterfall Trail. A short little slope down and to the left we find the tunnel, which passes under the parkway. After emerging on the other side, a fairly short hike brings us right to the Bridal Veil Falls. Heading back up and now to to the Lauriault Trail, the long trek begins. The terrain is relatively easy to cross, although there are some mild to hills along the way to go up and over.


      Eventually you arrive at a clearing and lookout point, perfect to see the surrounding region from up above.


      Heading back into the forest, the path takes us up one more hill and then back down some stairs into the Lauriault Parking lot. Here the trail gets a bit tricky if you aren't familiar with it (as it isn't marked where to go next). In actuality, you need to immediately cross the parkway road to the other side and the path resumes there. If you do not cross, you will find other paths that arrive at a small lake and picnic areas, very pretty, but with no real exit as they just loop back into the parking.


      After crossing the road, the trail continues, following the direction of the signpost towards the Waterfall Trail and Parking.
      This final stretch of the trail is relatively easy, with just a few hills, and before you know it (well it was longer than that), you arrive near the tunnel and the parking once again.
      A great trail to discover with a few sights to see along the way.
      Happy hiking!
      Here are some more photos from this hike.





    • By Shane
      It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wanting to change things up a bit from our usual weekend routine of kayaking or hiking, we decided to go cycling. As we live in the Plateau sector of Gatineau, it is unbelievably easy to bike in minutes to Gatineau Park. Entering Gatineau Park from the pathway entrance just across from Tim Horton's on St. Raymond, we headed towards the Pioneers trail and the Gatineau Park Welcome Centre, located at P3. From here, heading East we continued on Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau, which runs near the road and has some short hills and plenty of turns and curves through the trees.
      A quick right turn at an intersection and we are brought down another path that travels underneath Boulevard des Allumetieres to cross to the other side. From here, the trail eventually rejoins and follows along closely to Allumetieres until you exit on St. Raymond. A little detour through a residential area and we are back on the path, this time the Pioneers Pathway. Featuring a few hills and a wooden bridge over a creek, this trail passes through a relatively dense forest area, where the sun interacting with the tree leaves produced beautiful light rays to pass through.
      Finally, the trail reaches one more intersection that leads us to the pedestrian overpass over Allumetieres, and towards home in the Plateau... and more bike trails through nature.
      I can't stress it enough, Gatineau Park is a jewel, and a paradise in nature. Whether it is to hike, walk, kayak, cycle or anything else, the scenery is beautiful and stunning and the park is immaculate. You never leave for home disappointed so come on out, discover your paradise and enjoy!
      Here are some pictures of our experiences out on the cycling trails. This trip was a loop that we did and was about 10km in distance, but at several points, there are plenty of options to stretch it even further and head off into new directions.
      Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau



      Pioneers Trail


      Heading up to the pedestrian overpass to cross over Allumetieres.

      The view from this angle on the bridge looks like something you'd see in Montreal or Laval... are we still in Gatineau?


      Heading onto the Sentier des Fées in the Plateau.



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