The Ottawa area has some of the best Nordic skiing in the province. Gatineau Park is well known and Nakkertok is the other top spot for the avid Nordic skier or Snowshoer to visit.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, on the other side of the river in Quebec, it is convenient with 70+ km of trail to enjoy.
Nakkertok is a native Inuktitut word meaning “moving swiftly on snow”. And last weekend I certainly did while Skate skiing their trails.
The Ottawa Valley is well suited for winter sports, with colder days and more snow. The grooming here is excellent and they even make snow! (very unusual)
Granted only 3 km near the chalet. By mid-November snow making helps get a jump on the season, so racers can start training. Night skiing on 2.5km of that can be done till 10 pm daily.
These extras do attract ski teams from the universities and many of the 1500+ club members. (The largest Nordic club in Eastern Canada).
They offer two facilities, Nakkertok South (the main hub) and Nakkertok North – Val-des-Monts.
I skied the South area which starts you off on a rather long climb heading north. (similar to Highlands Nordic) This is sure to warm you up by the time it levels off to a plateau of more mellow loops.
The other direction avoids the big hill and takes you to an open field with even a 1 km Pooch loop for your dog to get exercise too.
My wife Teresa hiked the Snowshoe trails and we both commented on how beautiful the scenery was. Trails branch out in many directions curving around a few ponds or run right across them. The heated Owl cabin is a good spot to rest and take in the view.
While trekking, most but not all junctions had adequate signage to keep you moving.
North Nakkertok has a chalet and more hilly, rugged terrain with track groomed for only classic cross country skiing. You can also find an extra 3km of Snowshoe paths to wander on. They say the snow lasts longer up there.
For the adventurous, seasoned Nordic skier, there is a 24km backcountry trail that connects both areas. It is suggested to be well prepared and start from the north end, likely to enjoy more downhill stretches. (map on club site)
The ski club’s focus at Nakkertok is running a comprehensive program of lessons for kids right through to training athletes for racing. Many club members have gone on to win major Nordic races hosted here and around the world.
Though surrounded by subdivisions this old farm is a bit off the grid. No indoor plumbing or drinking water. Nor did I see changing rooms. There is a waxing shed around the back and a row of outhouses too.
The large chalet is warmed by wood stoves and has plenty of tables to eat your lunch, which you need to bring as I saw no food or water available.
Day skiers are asked to use the yellow trail fee box or pay on the club’s website. Here you can rent Skate ski packages, but there were no details on how that works.
Though well served for the Nordic racing community, Nakkertok is also a family friendly club that welcomes recreational day users. Come out and experience how Canada outdoors in the winter can be so much fun.