I really like to explore hiking trails in urban areas. I love these places that allow you to enjoy nature without having to drive outside of the city limits. This is the reason why I was eager to explore Boucher Forest in Gatineau, after having heard a lot about it.
Boucher Forest is located in the Aylmer sector, and is considered the largest wooded area in the west of Gatineau. Covering more than 700 acres, the forest has 9 kilometres of hiking trails, which I really wanted to explore with my snowshoes.
The forest has different access points, but since I didn’t know exactly where to start, I parked at Parc des Jardins-Lavigne, walked along the dog park and found a trail that brought me into the forest.
The first thing that struck me was the variety of forest landscapes. The forest includes different forest stands and several native tree species, including cedars, maples, ashes, pines and black walnut trees. There are also some wetlands, with pretty boardwalks that allow you to walk over them.
As it is located not far from the popular Gatineau Park, the Boucher Forest is also known for its significant biodiversity. Many species of birds, mammals and reptiles have been inventoried there.
During my hike, I did not come across any bears or deer, in fact, the trails were very quiet. So quiet it was hard to believe I was still in town!
The Boucher Forest Park development project is still underway. The Boucher Forest Foundation, an organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and enhance public appreciation of the Boucher Forest, has organized a fundraising campaign in recent years, allowing it to raise enough money to develop trails and build the boardwalks.
There is still more work to do, such as improving trail markings and signage, but this should be done in the coming months.
On my hike, I tried to make a big loop that would allow me to snowshoe on as many trails as possible. Without signage, I feel a little lost at times, but I was still able to appreciate the forest in all its tranquility and the quiet beauty of its snowy landscapes.
In all, I snowshoed nearly six kilometres in the Boucher Forest. I can’t wait to come back when the development project is completed, because it’s definitely a nice piece of nature in an urban area!