Having conquered the Rideau Canal (okay okay, that’s a huge exaggeration as we only did one small section!), we then decided to cross the river and head into Quebec for one more outdoor skating adventure before heading home.
Patinage en Foret is nestled deep in the forests of Lac-des-Loups, offering a completely different experience to skating on the Rideau Canal. It took about 45 minutes to drive there from Ottawa, which makes it a great day trip if you’re in the capital and want to do some forest skating.
This 3km-long outdoor skating trail takes you through the “forest of wolves” (don’t worry – we didn’t see any). It was absolutely beautiful….. And absolutely freezing cold! But then again, what do you expect for late February in Quebec?!
After paying the entrance fee and getting the tags which you stick on your jacket, you follow the 3km one-way trail into the woods. The path is very wide and most of it is flat, though some have a bit of an incline which means you can coast down a bit too.
There are also short cuts if you want to head back to the rest area, and maps along the way to show you where you are. It was a weekday, so there were only a handful of families there. We all had lots of space. You can go around the trail as many times as you like. We did it three or four times – it goes by fast when you’re zooming along!
There isn’t much in the area other than perhaps a gas station or two, but you can buy refreshments and snacks at the trail’s rest area and take a seat to rest your aching feet. Some local families made a day out of it, bringing a full picnic and warming up by a bonfire.
Ottawa and neighbouring Gatineau have so many outdoor (and indoor) skating areas to choose from. We ended up going to Patinage en Foret because not all of them were open on a Monday. If you need a nice long list of other skating places or don’t want to drive the 45 minutes to Lac-des-Loups, check out this excellent link of recommendations: