Last weekend, I went for a hike at the Parc des Chutes de Denholm (Denholm Falls Park) in the Outaouais region. In fact, I was supposed to explore the area last April on a group hike organized by Women Who Hike, but the hike was canceled due to bad weather. Nevertheless, I promised myself to go hiking there before the end of the summer, and that’s what I finally did. And I was not disappointed!
There are four trails at the Denholm Falls Park and if you follow them all one after the other, it is possible to make a loop of more than 5 kilometres. I started with the Sentier des arts (Arts Trail – 0.6 km), followed by the Sentier du marais (Marsh Trail – 3.7 km), then hiked the Sentier de la falaise (Cliff Trail – 0.4 km) and ended with the Sentier du ruisseau (Stream Trail – 0.6 km).
The first trail is called the Sentier des arts as there are some art works created by local artists along the trail. It follows the Fred Thom Falls and climbs gradually to a first lookout that gives a view of the Ottawa Hills. The climb was more physically demanding than I expected. The Sentier des arts may be only 600 metres, but I was short of breath when I arrived at the lookout!
The Sentier du marais is the longest, but probably the easiest to follow. It meanders in the forest, with light climbs and descents. Its name comes from the fact that it passes by a lookout which gives a pretty view on a swamp. It is also lined with interpretation signs on the local fauna and flora and quotes related to nature and hiking.
The Sentier du marais eventually joins a gravel road that descends smoothly to the parking lot. But rather than continue to follow the gravel road, I took the Sentier de la falaise. As the name suggests, it follows the base of a cliff. The trail is a little narrower and a bit steeper than the others, but as it’s the kind of trail I like, I was a little disappointed that it was not longer.
Finally, I followed the Sentier du ruisseau (which runs along a stream, of course). I was surprised to see that it was also lined with art works. These are really a nice addition to the site. They add a little magic element to the forest (it reminded me of the iron sculptures of Sept-Îles).
The hike ends where it begins, at the falls. These may be more impressive after the snow melts in the spring, but they are still pretty.
Denholm Falls Park is about an hour north of Ottawa. Access is free. There was no one else on the trail when I went (which is probably one of the reasons I really enjoyed this hike!).