Looking back upon 2021

In my last blog post, I listed the stories that have interested you the most this year. But I also wanted to look back upon my favourite places visited in 2021. While this end of the year feels a bit too familiar, I find it important to reflect on the beautiful moments of the past year.

I spent part of the year on the road for work, I also had to spend time in quarantine at home and at the hotel, so I didn’t get to hike as much as I wanted. So every moment on a trail has been like a big breath of fresh air for me.

Writing this review every year allows me to revisit those beautiful moments and remember that even in uncertain times, even when everything seems chaotic and I feel like I’m losing control, there are always places that soothe and amaze me.

I have tons of projects for 2022 and can’t wait to tell you all about them, but in the meantime, here is a list of my favourite hikes from the past year.

The most memorable hike– Mont Saint-Joseph in Parc national du Mont-Mégantic

I’m not particularly fond of winter and I always lack motivation to get outside as soon as there is snow on the ground. My hike to the top of Mont Saint-Joseph in the Eastern Township reminded me why I need to go out more in winter. The snow-capped pines along the trail gave the landscape a little something magical.

Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
Winter is coming in Parc national du Mont-Mégantic

My favourite local hike– Carp Barrens Trail in Ottawa

With its rocky escarpments, its ponds and its tall pines, the Carp Barrens Trail in Ottawa feels like you are light years away from the city. Not only is this a trail that offers an interesting physical challenge with its many rock formations that are part of the Canadian Shield, but the Carp Hills area also supports a unique and fragile ecosystem.

Carp Barrens Trail
Can you believe this is in Ottawa?

The unexpectedly pretty hike – Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve in Outaouais

The Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve near Mayo in Outaouais protects one of the last representative examples of the primitive forest of southwestern Quebec. It was therefore very little affected by human disturbances. The forest is beautiful, but I was especially charmed by all the boardwalks, bridges, interpretation panels and stairs that were installed there, making the hike even more interesting and enjoyable!

Just so pretty

The must-do hike I have finally done – Waterfall and Lauriault Trails in Gatineau Park

If you are visiting the Gatineau Park for the first time, there’s a good chance you’ll start at the magnificent Mackenzie King Estate, the summer residence of former Prime Minister of Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King. With its ruins and gardens, the estate is a must-see in the park, and also the starting point for the popular Waterfall and Lauriault trails.

Lauriault Trail
The lookout on Lauriault Trail

The place I’m hoping to go back to –Mont-Tremblant National Park in the Laurentians

I finally visited Mont-Tremblant National Park for the very first time this year. I hiked the Toit-des-Laurentides Trail to the top of Pic Johannsen. A bit of a strenuous (and very muddy) hike, but one that gave me a little glimpse of the magnificent nature found in this park. I can’t wait to go back!

Mont-Tremblant National Park
Beautiful Mont-Tremblant National Park

Like last year, I’m wishing you a safe and healthy 2022!


  1. Hi Vanessa, thanks for following Leighton Travels. Just had a look at your site and have enjoyed reading several of your articles. Some great photography too, Canada looks stunning and has long been on our list of countries we’d like to explore one day.

    1. Thank you for your comment! There are so many beautiful places to explore in Canada, I’m hoping you’ll get the opportunity to visit my country one day!

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