Roadtripping: Things to do and see in Fort Coulonge, Québec

Embarking on a road trip from the bustling city of Toronto to the picturesque village of Fort Coulonge in Quebec is an adventure that promises beauty, tranquility, and a touch of adventure. The journey itself is just as captivating as the destination. From Toronto, it is about a 4.5 hour drive. From Ottawa, around 1.5 hours. We got to try the Ford Maverick Tremor for our latest adventure which was the perfect vehicle for a trip that included some rough roads while also needing room for passengers and luggage.

Ford Maverick Tremor roadtrip to Fort Coulonge
Ford Maverick Tremor at our camp near Fort Coulonge.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the scenic route to Fort Coulonge, highlight must-see attractions along the way, and provide suggestions for cozy spots to stay, ensuring your road trip is nothing short of memorable.

Driving to Fort Coulonge from Toronto

Starting your journey in Toronto, the drive to Fort Coulonge spans just over 400 kilometres, a journey that unfolds over 4-5 hours from the edge of the city. There were four of us for the trip and the 4-door, 5-seater Ford Maverick Tremor gave us the room, comfort and storage space to make the trip comfortable. The truck is not too big, having the height or a large car or small SUV and a much narrower width that say an F-150. It feels like you are driving a small SUV but you still have the bonuses of a pickup truck like its flatbed.

The drive from Toronto is very beautiful. We stopped at the Marty Moo’s diner just outside Peterborough for food, gas and a break before the final leg of the trip. Once you pass Peterborough and start heading North and North-West to Fort Coulonge, the road passes by some incredible landscapes from farmer’s fields to marshes to rocky terrain and finally a series of large lakes. The drive always seems less than it is when you have so much to see along the way.

What to do and see in and around Fort Coulonge

1. Félix-Gabriel-Marchand Bridge

The Félix-Gabriel-Marchand Bridge, a striking example of historic architecture nestled in the Township of Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Quebec, spans the Coulonge River near Fort-Coulonge. Constructed in 1898, this iconic structure stands as Quebec’s longest covered bridge, measuring 148.66 meters in length. Distinguished by its unique construction, the bridge features a combination of Town and Queenpost trusses, a rarity in the region. Recognized for its cultural and historical significance, it is registered as a historic building by the Quebec government, preserving a piece of the area’s rich heritage for future generations to appreciate.

2. Chutes Coulonge Park

Chutes Coulonge in Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Quebec, is a captivating locale for those who crave both adventure and history. The park beckons with high-flying zip lines, challenging obstacle courses, and the gripping climbing routes of via ferrata, making it an adventurer’s delight.

Chutes Coulonge Park
Chutes Coulonge Park

History enthusiasts will enjoy the heritage site, which illuminates the region’s logging past with an assortment of artifacts and informative exhibits. The falls themselves provide a stunning backdrop, with a picturesque trail for those preferring a tranquil ambience. Commended for its friendly and knowledgeable staff, Chutes Coulonge guarantees a memorable visit for all, whether you’re in pursuit of exhilaration or a peaceful stroll by the water.

3. Plage du Pont Blanc

In Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Quebec, Plage du Pont Blanc has emerged as a revitalized public beach and historical site, now offering a plethora of recreational opportunities. Following extensive enhancements, the beach welcomes visitors with activities such as paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and cycling, complete with on-site rental facilities.

This initiative reflects a commitment to fostering community engagement and honoring local heritage, propelling Plage du Pont Blanc into popularity as a prime destination for relaxation and outdoor sports in the Outaouais region.

4. Golfing

There are several golf courses in the area for visitors to choose from including Club De Golf Pontefract, Mickey Creek Golf Club and Island Brae Golf Club. The latter was founded in the 1950s and has carved its niche as the top 9-hole golf course in the Ottawa Valley. Nestled along the scenic banks of the Ottawa River, it offers players an immersive golfing experience, with breathtaking vistas visible from every tee and green. The course, known for its harmonious blend of spacious fairways and subtly challenging greens, welcomes a broad array of golfers. The par 33 layout is thoughtfully designed to be inviting for novices while still offering enough complexity to test the mettle of adept players.

5. Westmeath Provincial Park

Nestled in the embrace of Bellows Bay on Lower Allumette Lake, within the scenic bounds of the Ottawa Valley and just 25 km to the east of Pembroke, Ontario, lies the tranquil refuge of Westmeath Provincial Park. Founded in 1985, the park presents a serene vestige of nature, primarily featuring an ancient pathway of the Ottawa River, which includes a vibrant sandspit, a tranquil sandy point, and a series of beach ridges that whisper tales of geographic history.

Westmeath Provincial Park
Westmeath Provincial Park

Inhabiting this serene locale is a rich tapestry of wildlife, from the graceful glides of waterfowl and shorebirds to the quiet perseverance of turtles, not to mention a corridor for countless migratory birds. Among the jewels in Westmeath Provincial Park’s crown is its delicate and intriguing sand dune system. Positioned just behind the beach and gently hugging the Ottawa River, this ecosystem stands as a testament to the region’s ecological diversity.

6. Mont Chilly

If you are visiting the area during the winter months, there is even somewhere to ski or snowboard. Enveloped in the splendour of the Upper Pontiac region in Quebec, Mont Chilly is akin to discovering a precious stone in a vast landscape. Stemming from its establishment in the 1970s, this enchanting ski hill offers aficionados of the sport a lovingly preserved slice of skiing’s yesteryears. With the scenic grandeur of the Ottawa River as its backdrop and a 430-foot vertical drop, Mont Chilly presents a tableau of skiing terrains for all levels of enthusiasts.

Where to eat in the Fort Coulonge area

1. Café Downtown

This coffee shop and restaurant located in the centre of Fort Coulonge will surprise you with its upscale menu options from breakfast to dinner. Café Downtown‘s Menu items include Duck Confit, a Beet Salad, Homemade Pizzas and delicious pastas that make this spot a go to for many of our meals while in the area. Love soup? they have two daily soups to choose from every day! They also host events like readings, comedy and music night.

2. J & A Bowers Restaurant

This local institution is a diner that serves breakfast to dinner with incredible prices. Have your classic breakfast as well as your traditional diner foods likes burgers and sandwiches. J & A Bowers Restaurant has been for sale for some time now but the owners only want to sell to people who won’t change anything major as they want to make sure it continues to serve its dedicated and loyal clientele.

Where to stay in the Fort Coulonge area

1. Spruceholme Inn

Located in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, the Spruceholme Inn is a heritage lodging that invites guests to step back into a bygone era. Each room in the inn exudes a sense of history, adorned with family treasures and captivating antiques, which imbue the space with character and warmth.

Spruceholme INN
Spruceholme INN

The inn’s restaurant, Brysons Bistro Du Bucheron, delights patrons with sumptuous meals prepared from farm-fresh local ingredients. With its assortment of guest rooms, an elegant banquet space, modern conference amenities, and nestled amid lush surroundings, Spruceholme Inn stands as the quintessential venue for gatherings and moments of quiet respite. The inn serves as an excellent base for exploring all that the Pontiac region has to offer, from pristine beaches and serene paths to adventure parks and distinctive boutiques.

2. Camping at Esprit Rafting

Nestled along the banks of the iconic Ottawa River in Davidson, QC, Esprit Rafting offers an idyllic camping setting for those with a penchant for outdoor adventures and the tranquility of nature. With camping rates starting as low as CA$10 for one night and scaling up to CA$60 for six nights, Esprit presents an affordable escape into the wilderness. Emphasizing a “Bring Your Own Tent” policy, the experience is tailored for enthusiasts eager to delve into the raw beauty of the surroundings, with the comfort of knowing that modern facilities—such as outdoor showers, washrooms, a kitchen, and even Wi-Fi—are at their disposal.

3. Glamping at Wildwood

Opening this summer and nestled in the serene embrace of the Coulonge River, Wildwood Nature Escape emerges as a sanctuary for those seeking an extraordinary blend of outdoor adventure and comfort. Wildwood prides itself on crafting an exquisite glamping experience that marries modern luxury with the rustic allure of the Canadian wilderness.

Wildwood Nature Escape Glamping
Wildwood Nature Escape

Catered to meet the desires of every traveler—be it a romantic duo, a family on an explorative journey, or a solo wanderer in quest of tranquility—Wildwood ensures each stay is memorable. From the meticulous attention to guest comfort to the immersive beauty of dense forests, meandering trails, and the gentle call of the river, Wildwood invites you to step away from the clamour of daily life.

4. AirBNB

Airbnb presents a charming alternative for those looking to explore the enchanting landscapes along the Coulonge River, offering a wide selection of cozy cottages nestled amidst the pristine beauty of nature. These cottages, varying in size and amenities, provide a perfect retreat for anyone – from couples seeking a romantic getaway to families embarking on an adventurous holiday or groups of friends desiring a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Each cottage boasts unique features, such as direct river access for a morning dip or kayak excursion, fire pits for evening storytelling under the stars, and spacious decks to soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness.

AirBNB on the Coulonge River
AirBNB on the Coulonge River

These are just a few of the attractions we have visited over our time exploring the region. There are a lot of other activities like ATVing, Snowmobiling in the winter and a lot of canoeing, kayaking and river rafting adventures to be had. There is also a lot of fishing and hunting in the area. If you are looking for a classic Canadian adventure in the beauty of our natural landscapes, be sure to check out the area around Fort Coulonge, Québec.

 

 

 

About Joel Levy 2575 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography