A colleague recently invited me to go for a hike to the summit of King Mountain in Gatineau Park. I have already hike some trails in the park (including the one around Pink Lake and the one leading to the ruins of Carbide Willson), but I had never been to King Mountain before. My colleague Natalia and I met at the trail head on a Saturday morning with the objective of getting to the summit.
At 344 metres, King Mountain is the highest point on the Eardley Escarpment and of Gatineau Park. A 2-kilometre loop allows you to get to the summit while offering several beautiful views of the Ottawa Valley. We can even see the city of Ottawa in the distance.
We had heard that the trail was rather steep, but I really did not think the climb was very difficult. In fact, after following the trail along Black Lake, then climbing up steep rocky stairs, we arrived at the summit without even really realizing it.
On a nice sunny morning, the view at the top was impressive.
The trail has several interpretation signs on the ecosystems of the mountain, noting among other things the differences between the cooler north side of the mountain and its southern slope more exposed to the sun.
King Mountain is also of historical significance. It was there that Canada’s first geodetic survey station was installed in 1905 to collect surveying and geodesic data on the topography of the country. King Mountain was chosen because it was the highest point in Gatineau Park and was visible from the federal observatory at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa.
A monument and a plaque mark the location of this first station, that is now a National Historic Site of Canada.
The hike on the King Mountain Trail took us less than an hour. To lengthen it a bit, we decided to hike back and forth to the P7 parking lot via another trail. Nothing too difficult, but it added 4 kilometres to our hike, which was perfect for this beautiful summer day!
King Mountain :
Altitude : 344m
Ascent : 100m
Trail (loop) : 1.9km
Access : King Mountain Trail parking lot (or P7 parking lot for a longer hike)