Located 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa, the village of Wakefield is a popular day trip when you live in the National Capital Region. And yet, I had never actually visited it, even if I drove by it a few times. I thought that it was about time for me to finally go to Wakefield.
Located northwest of Gatineau, at the very end of Highway 5, Wakefield is a picturesque village well known for its pretty landscapes, its lovely cafes and, above all, its famous covered bridge. I had wanted to see this bridge for a long time, so it was my first stop when I arrived in Wakefield.
Wakefield Covered Bridge
There has been a covered bridge in Wakefield since 1915, but the original bridge, Pont Gendron, was destroyed by fire in 1984. Three years later, a committee of volunteers set out to rebuild the bridge, faithful to the structure of the original one. After a fundraising campaign, work began a few years later and the new bridge officially opened in 1997.
The bridge is almost 90 metres long and its structure is made of Douglas fir logs, while the exterior and the floor are covered with pine planks. And unlike the original bridge, only pedestrians and bicycles can cross it (interesting fact, the Trans Canada Trail goes through Wakefield and its bridge).
It was freezing cold on this February morning, so I walk a bit on the bridge but didn’t stay very long. I still had enough time to observe the Gatineau River which looked very picturesque lined by tall trees covered in frost.
I did not come to Wakefield just to look at its bridge! In fact, I also wanted to explore the few hiking trails there. The Sentiers Wakefield Trails organization manages a few kilometres of trails in Wakefield, divided into two sectors: Hendrick Park (located at the Fairbairn House Heritage Centre, near the covered bridge) and the south side of the small mountain that hosts the Vorlage ski centre, east of the village.
Since it was very, very cold and I didn’t feel like staying outside for too long, I decided to focus on exploring the trails to the east of the village. Access is near the old MacLaren Cemetery, the cemetery in which former Prime Minister of Canada Lester B. Pearson is buried.
There are a few trails here, identified by different colours (yellow, red, blue and black). By combining them, it is therefore possible to hike different lengths. I decided to follow a loop that would take me through as many trails as possible.
The trails pass through a pretty mixed forest and are well marked. Since they are located on the side of a hill, they have a few ups and downs, but nothing too difficult. The Black Trail follows the ski slopes, so it gains elevation a little more quickly, but I enjoyed this physical exercise which allowed me to warm up.
To my surprise, the Black Trail also led me to a lookout at the top of the hill. Although the nearby Highway 5 takes away some of the charm from the landscape, you can still see the hills of Gatineau Park (and the starting point of Trail 72, which I hiked l last winter).
After taking a break at the lookout, I went back down to my car. In all, I hiked nearly 2.5 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 114 metres.
Coffee and pastries
The really neat thing about Wakefield is that the village has several little cafes, restaurants, a bakery and even a chocolate shop, making it the perfect place to take a well-deserved coffee break after a bit of physical activity! And since I have a sweet tooth, there was no question of me leaving Wakefield without enjoying some of its local fare!
I’m happy to have finally been able to explore Wakefield, and I now understand why this village is so popular. I can’t wait to be back!
The perfect day trip! I love a beautiful covered bridge and gorgeous scenery – even if I am shivering while looking at your snow shots.
I was shivering too, it was so cold! It still doesn’t quite feel like spring here yet. Soon, I hope! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I’m such a fan of covered bridges and they remind me so much of New England. I had no idea there was one so close to Ottawa. It looks very charming. We’ll have to add this to the list for the next time we’re in the area. We’re hoping to visit Gatineau Park sometime this fall.
There are actually a few covered bridges not far from Ottawa, and even somes in Gatineau Park! I hope you get to visit, it’s such a beautiful park, with many, many beautiful trails!
I have never been to Canada – well other than Niagara Falls. You are convincing me that Canada is an absolute must visit.
Canada is such a big country and there are so many beautiful places. I hope you get to come back one day! 🙂
Such a cute town surrounded by beautiful nature, and so close to Ottawa!
Yes, agreed! I don’t know why I waited so long to go! 🙂
A great village and beautiful views, wonderful! ❤️🇨🇦❤️😎
It was! Thanks for reading John! 🙂
You’re welcome, Vanessa. I love your photos and descriptions of your area. ❤️🇨🇦