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Ottawa Staycation: Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Snowy signpost

For a second outing during our Ottawa staycation (you can read about our first outing here), we decided to head up to the Gatineau Hills for a cross-country ski.

It would have actually been a sin not to go cross-country skiing with all of the snow we had over the Christmas season here in Ottawa! Everywhere around us, as far as one could see, the world had a bit of a magical gleam to it with mounds of fluffy snow hanging upon the tree branches.

Fluffy snow!

We decided upon our usual family favourite route — up to the Shilly Shally cabin and back. (And it was a good thing too because most of the side routes had been closed off due to trees snapping from all the weight of the snow upon them.) One of the best things about going on this route is that the return trip is almost entirely downhill.

But then again, that is also one of the not-so-great things on the way up to the cabin! Hubby and Stella ended up far ahead of me. He was pulling Max in a sled and Stella is half my size, and yet there was still no way I was going to be able to keep up. But that’s okay, because my younger brother Adam stuck it out with me in slowpoke land, which allowed me to squeeze in some extra quality time with him before he would be off to his home in Edmonton.

I pulled out my phone to take a photo of him and he just looked at me with disbelief thinking I was pulling it out to check my email or tweet while I was skiing. (I would *never* do that, of course. Heh.)

on the route to shilly shally cabin

It took me a lot of huffing and puffing, but I am happy to say that I did  make it to the Shilly Shally! Isn’t it seriously the most charming thing ever? Right outside there are chickadees feeding, and inside there is a warm wood-burning fire.

the shilly shally cabin in the gatineau hills

The total round-trip journey to the Shilly Shally cabin and back is about 8 kms. But as I mentioned, the way there is up hill, so once you arrive, you are definitely ready to refuel! Hubby had packed us up all sorts of grand and yummy things — and hot chocolate of course too!

refueling at the Shilly Shally cabin

Then we began our trek back. We thoroughly amused the other skiers as we tried to race each other back down the hill, while Max sat in the sled with his face peeping out of a sleeping bag shouting, “We’re beating you! Na-na-na-na-na!!”

All in all, it was a grand ol’ time.

Skiiing in Gatineau Park


  1. Adam Harrison says:

    What a great day Julie! Thanks for sharing the photos.

  2. Okay Julie, you got me hooked on fitbit – and this comes dangerously close to convincing me to try cross-country skiing for the first time ever. I think you might be a bad (good?) influence!!

    • Dani – If you want to go cross-country, let me know and we’ll take both of the families up to the cute little Shilly Shally! (But I need to tell you that the fitbit did not register the sliding motion of the skiing as steps!)

      • I would love that! Hmm wonder if I can convince the menfolk? (Well, I know at least one would be easy to convince!) And yes, I was disappointed that the fitbit didn’t catch my rowing-machine motion either but it did capture the elliptical. Wonder if it catches bike pedalling?

  3. Before we had kids, Tony and I used to ski to these shacks at night with friends and bring up dinner – usually a fondue and wine. We really should do that again one of these years.

  4. Ralph Harrison says:

    Great story and pictures.  I haven’t seen any snow this season! Could you export some to where I live. Thanks.

  5. looks amazing! makes me almost jealous we have no snow!

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