The village of Old Chelsea is a popular destination for visitors to Gatineau Park. They have a great information centre, some short hiking trails, and a favourite ice cream parlour, amongst other amenities and attractions. The following is a loop starting from parking lot 3 (P3 on all the maps) at the southern end of the park that mostly follows the Gatineau Park Pathway towards Old Chelsea. On the way back the route goes along the Gatineau Parkway. A separate route from Ottawa to P3 can be found by clicking here.
I hopped onto the Gatineau Park Pathway at the northern end of P3 and followed it all the way to Chemin de la Mine. The pathway was a smooth pleasant ride with just a couple of small hills to climb.
I accessed Chemin de la Mine from the pathway and continued north.
Chemin de la Mine is a two lane winding road with speedy traffic and little or no shoulder.
It eventually intersects Notch Road. I continued north along Notch Road which becomes a two lane straight-away with packed dirt/gravel shoulders.
UPDATE Spring 2018 : Chemin de la Mine and Notch Road are the poorest sections of this route. The good news is that there are plans to put in bike lanes along Chemin de la Mine and Notch Road into Old Chelsea some time this summer or fall.
Notch road ends at Chemin de Kingsmere which has a fine semi-protected bike lane leading in to Old Chelsea.
A short distance north along Chemin Scott took me to La Cigale, popular for it’s yummy ice cream.
AND they have the funkiest go-hut around!
A short distance north sits the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.
Within the visitor centre is a great little exhibit describing the park, but ask the front counter because it isn’t obvious when you walk in.
From the Visitor Info staff I discovered that on Saturday mornings the Gatineau Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic between Chemin de lac-Meech and Promenade Champlain. Not wanting to re-visit the road conditions along Notch Road and Chemin de la Mine, I chose this option, fully cognizant of the serious climb I was in for.
Meech Lake Road has a fine bike lane that led me to the Parkway.
I must say, nothing approaches heavenly biking than the Gatineau Parkway sans cars. Apart from the freedom of not worrying about getting run over, the Parkways surface is in spectacular condition. It isn’t cleared or salted in the winter, keeping it from becoming the bumpier roads we northerners accept as standard. I switched into low-low gear and floated up the steady incline.
Traffic re-appeared where the parkway meets Promenade Champlain, however even drivers with lead feet gave ample space to the great number of cyclists along the parkway.
There is a nice resting spot at Pink Lake.
Then it’s down the long hill back to P3.
On Sunday mornings the Gatineau Parkway starting from P3 is closed to traffic, as is Promenade Champlain.