For a day of rustic solitude visit the 18 km of winter trails at Madawaska. Both Nordic skiers and Snowshoers can relish in the fresh air and beauty of these forest paths.
Situated outside the town of Calabogie, 95 km west of Ottawa, it sits on the western edge of the Ottawa Valley. This network of trails consists mainly of old logging roads and a few smaller paths.
Just across the way from the well known ski hills of Calabogie Peaks, you might think you are in for some major climbs. Well, this trail area is not quite yet into giant hill country.
There is a gentle 1 km slope up the Red Pine route from the trailhead to get to the ridge. Here it intersects at the snowmobile “Crossroads” and the start of the easy 3 km Snow Bunting Loop. Likely a favourite as it may offer you views of the valley below through the trees.
Continuing further on the Red Pine, you will soon meet up with the easy 3 km Footloose Loop that takes you down to the river and back. Or instead stay on the Red Pine, for about a 7 km return trek.
On this route is also a short but challenging side trail. The 2 km Hemlock Loop, rated as difficult and it appears to have a valley to cross.
Snowshoers have two access points to get started off Crestview Dr. The small Lower Singletrack loop takes one around briefly if you do not want to wander off too far. Note you share these paths with Fatbikes.
More adventurous types will want to head up the steep slope to the Ridgeline trail for some views of the valley. Were as others can take a leisurely stomp along the Chickadee to Watson’s Way. This all makes for about 6 km of mainly separate Snowshoe paths to explore. And is again a guesstimation of the length as I look at the map.
With help from the township, these trails are groomed by volunteers for classic skiing only. Please leave a small sum for the crew to pay for gas and grooming.
There is no formal club that runs this location, just like-minded skiers with a Facebook page.
The Madawaska Nordic Network is north enough to get an ample yearly snowfall for a longer decent ski season.
For more back-country routes beyond this area, read about the Great Western 37 km trail project. This is a true wilderness area, pack what you need, start early.
Lodging and meals can be had locally in this winter resort town. Perhaps spend the next day also trying a few downhill runs for a thrill. Zoooom…
And that is all I know till I have an opportunity (after Covid passes) to enjoy these trails myself. Please share any comments if you have been here. It looks inviting.