Bikepack the Gats
By the numbers
Total Distance: 153km
Total Ascent: 2629m
For this route, I highly recommend you to use a mountain bike with front suspension as some of the sections are quite rough, including small rock gardens, steep descents, loose gravel, etc. Although you may be able to ride large portions of the route with a gravel bike, it will be difficult and hard on the body.
All the details
This route will take you on an adventure through the Gatineau Park, weaving you in and out of some of the best and most remote parts of the park. Starting near the corner of Chemin du Lac Meech and Chemin Kingsmere, you start with immediate climb up Trail 1 to the Gatineau Parkway before heading north on the trails Foreplay, Powerline, Cowden and Cross Loop. After reaching Trail 70 you eventually turn onto Trail 71 after which you start climbing your way up into some pretty gnarly singletrack and eventually merging onto Trail 53, part of the Trans Canada Trail. After leaving the TCT, you ride through some amazing fields as you make your way towards Lac Phillippe.
From Chemin du Lac Phillippe you make your way towards Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham where you bill get a little bit of pavement and rest for your legs until you cut south back into the Gatineau Park after 2km. Taking Trail 56 you eventually make your way to Chemin Eardley Masham and then make your way West around Tomato Hill and back East past the Luskville Fire Tower and McKinstry Shelter. Be aware that this is an extremely challenging section of trail and will definitely require some hike-a-bike. Also be careful for trees across the trails in the northern part of Trail 56. After about 20km of challenging trails you will reach Lac Phillippe and be ready to make your way towards Lac Meech down some wide doubletrack. As you near Lac Meech the trail turns into singletrack with a good chunk of rock-garden.
The last 25km have you climbing up into the higher ranges of the Gatineau Hills and taking some nice winding trails up and towards the Champlain and Étienne-Brûlé Lookouts. Trails 3 and 1 will take the rider back down towards the Gatineau Parkway before finishing the loop and reaching your starting point.
This is not meant to be an easy ride. It’s meant to challenge you physically and mentally. If you are new to bikepacking, I recommend you try smaller sections of this ride before attempting the whole thing.