Do you know Mont Kajakokanak near Duhamel in the Outaouais? I admit that I had never heard of it before registering for the Rando Québec 75S challenge. I actually did not know any of the trails of the challenge that are located in the Outaouais region. I had to fix that, so I went to Duhamel to follow the trail leading to the summit of Mount Kajakokanak.
Mount Kajakokanak is located in Pimatina Park, a protected municipal park on the outskirts of the Papineau-Labelle wildlife reserve. The word Pimatina means “mountainous” in Algonquin, while Kajakokanak is the Indigenous name for Lac Gagnon, located nearby, and means “porcupine”. The mountain is located on the ancestral lands of the Algonquin Weskarinis.
To access the trail, you have to drive a few kilometres on a gravel road, north of Duhamel. There were no other vehicles in the small parking lot, and after looking at the map at the trail head, I set off on Sentier Julie, which would lead me to the top of the 308-metre-high Mount Kajakokanak.
Sentier Julie (Julie Trail)
The summit of Mount Kajakokanak is located barely 700 metres away from the trail head. The description of the trail said that the climb on the first few metres required some physical efforts, but it did not seem too difficult to me (it must be said that after my hike to Montagne d’Argent last week, any hike will seem easy!).
About halfway to the top, the trail splits. I followed the signs towards the summit, I climbed a wooden staircase, and then I arrived at a rocky ridge and the view opened up in front of me…
Difficult to remain unmoved in front of such a magnificent landscape! Before me was beautiful Lac Gagnon, with its beach and islands. In the distance, I could see the hills of the Papineau-Labelle wildlife reserve. It was so peaceful and beautiful. A good reminder for me that I still have many magnificent places to explore in the Outaouais region.
Sentier des Pins (Pine Trail)
I had reached the summit of Mount Kajakokanak, but I hadn’t quite finished my hike! In order for my hike to qualify as part of the 75S challenge, I also had to hike the Sentier des Pins. So I hiked back down from the mountain and once I got to the fork, this time I followed the directions towards the Sentier des Pins.
This portion of the trail is part of Québec’s Sentier National, and I was happy to spot the famous red and white trail markers (I have already seen them at Mont Ouareau, among others). The forest was pretty and very quiet, and the path zigzagged between the trees, with some small climbs and descents.
I eventually bypassed a small lake on the other side of which were high cliffs. I wondered if this was where the trail would take me (spoiler alert: yes, it was) and continued on my way, until I came to another fork, which is the starting point of the Pine Trail.
So I started hiking on the Pine Trail. I came across a sign indicating the official start of the Route des Zingues, a long trail of several kilometres which is also part of the Sentier National. In fact, it is even said to be one of the most beautiful trails in the entire network! I dream of hiking it entirely one day, but in the meantime I’m content with this little glimpse.
As it is barely 650 metres long, the Pine Trail is very short, but it leads to the top of the cliffs overlooking the small lake seen earlier. And what a view! The deep blue of the lake contrasted with the lighter blue of Lac Gagnon, which could be seen in the distance. It was simply beautiful, and I sat for several minutes contemplating the landscape.
The return is by the same route. I eventually got back to my car, very happy with this short hike. I have another 75S hike under my belt, and I want more than ever to come back, one day, to hike the entire Route des Zingues.
In total, my hike on Sentier Julie and Sentier des Pins totaled 5.1 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 179 metres.
***Mont Kajakokarak is part of the 75S Challenge, an hiking challenge managed by Rando Québec. To learn more about the challenge or to follow my progress, visit this page.***
The scenery looks spectacular. It also looks like a beautiful day to go for a hike with such bright blue skies.
Yes! I’ve been lucky so far this summer. Enjoying all the sunshine and heat while it last! Thanks for reading!
What a beautiful hike. But please tell me you didn’t go alone!
I usually hike alone (when I feel like it’s safe to do so). But I take all the proper precautions. I always tell someone where I’m going, I carry emergency gear, like a first aid kit, and I have an AirTag in my backpack. I wouldn’t go everywhere alone, but I do appreciate exploring a trail at my own rythm.
It’s quieter when you’re alone. As long as you take all the precautions, I suppose it’s good. Just be careful.
Gorgeous scenery Vanessa. Hope all is well. Allan
Thanks for reading Allan! Hope you are well too!