Chutes de Plaisance (Chutes de Moulin)

Plaisance / Montee Papineau, Quebec, Canada

About Chutes de Plaisance (Chutes de Moulin)


Hiking Distance: 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-10-09
Date last visited: 2013-10-09

Waterfall Latitude: 45.63824
Waterfall Longitude: -75.13418

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The Chutes de Plaisance (Plaisance Falls; also known as Sault-de-la-Chaudiere; not to be confused with les Chutes de la Chaudiere near Quebec City) was a wide and powerful series of cascades.

It tumbled within a fairly undeveloped area between Ottawa and Quebec in the Plaisance Municipality.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_027_10092013 - Chutes de Plaisance (Plaisance Falls)
Chutes de Plaisance (Plaisance Falls)

I found that it wasn’t easy to get a satisfyingly full view of the cumulative 67m falls due to the amount of foliage blocking the views at all of the viewpoints.

Plus, given the overall size of the waterfalls, I found the falls to be hard to photograph as well.

Therefore, the photo you see at the top of this page was perhaps the best view that I was able to get.

Yet that view was not all that there was to the main drop of Chutes de Plaisance!

Experiencing the Chutes de Plaisance

My visit happened to occur on a weekday morning when nobody was at the entrance shack at the trailhead (see directions below).

Chutes_de_Plaisance_008_10092013 - Looking upstream towards some upper cascades as seen from near the car park and further upstream from the main section of the Chutes de Plaisance
Looking upstream towards some upper cascades as seen from near the car park and further upstream from the main section of the Chutes de Plaisance

So apparently we weren’t subject to the $5 CAD per person fee to visit.

I immediately followed an obvious trail that descended on what seemed to be more like a 4wd track that followed along the Riviere de la Petite Nation.

It didn’t take long before I started to notice one picnic table after another along the trail then spreading out to other forested openings on either side of the trail.

The quiet rural environment on the morning of my visit made for a very peaceful and serene experience.

However, I wasn’t sure whether the serenity and lack of people were normal or not considering the quantity of these picnic tables.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_010_10092013 - Looking towards one of the sanctioned lookouts for the Chutes de Plaisance
Looking towards one of the sanctioned lookouts for the Chutes de Plaisance

Nonetheless, the peace along with the colorful Autumn foliage resulted in a much-needed re-invigorating walk to help break up the drive between Montreal and Ottawa.

Around the picnic tables, I scrambled towards the fences where I spotted some informal views between the foliage providing partial views of the Chutes de Plaisance.

From what I was able to tell, most of the views except maybe one or two weren’t obvious.

Plus, that fence was all along the dropoffs ensuring that only the determined visitor would fall into the gorge.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_017_10092013 - Partial angled view towards the Chutes de Plaisance from the sanctioned overlook
Partial angled view towards the Chutes de Plaisance from the sanctioned overlook

After getting my fill of what partial views I was able to get of the impressive waterfalls, I then kept going downhill where I saw some stairs that ultimately led me down to the riverbank.

The trail deposited me a short distance downstream from the last of the tiers of the Chutes de Plaisance.

While I was down at the riverbank, I did some awkward scrambling on the rough surface towards where I could get the last partial views of the Chutes de Plaisance.

The view obstructions mostly came from the twisting action of the falls amidst the rocky terrain.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_021_10092013 - Continuing further along the trail along the Riviere de la Petite Nation (the Little Nation River)
Continuing further along the trail along the Riviere de la Petite Nation (the Little Nation River)

However, there were plenty of creatively stacked rock cairns on the riverbed so I’d imagine this might be a good hangout spot.

Whether the spot was for fishing or possibly a swimming hole (though the speed of the river made me wonder if that would be wise here), I couldn’t tell.

Nevertheless, the riverbed was my turnaround point.

I didn’t continue hiking further downstream so I couldn’t say what was further along the trail.

So overall, I spent about 40 minutes to hike down and back up to the car park, which included a short walk to the road bridge near the car park.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_036_10092013 - Looking upstream from the very bottom of the trail towards the lowermost tiers of the Chutes de Plaisance
Looking upstream from the very bottom of the trail towards the lowermost tiers of the Chutes de Plaisance

From that bridge, I could see downstream over the uppermost tier of Chutes de Plaisance as the Riviere de la Petite Nation cut through colorful forests.

Another Possible Waterfall?

I also noticed that on some of the maps of this area, this waterfall (or something further downstream) was also referred to as the Chutes du Moulin (Waterfalls of the Wheel?).

It wasn’t clear to me whether this was the same waterfall as the Chutes de Plaisance or if it was a different waterfall altogether.

If it was a different waterfall, perhaps in hindsight I should’ve continued down the trail.

Then again, I wasn’t sure how far I would’ve had to walk considering the river flattened out and calmed down for as much as I was able to see downstream at my turnaround point.

Authorities

The Chutes de Plaisance (Plaisance Falls) resides in the Plaisance Falls Regional Park near the town of Plaisance between Ottawa and Montreal in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is adminstered by the Patrimoine et Chutes de Plaisance. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_001_10092013 - The far end of the car park and kiosk for Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes_de_Plaisance_005_10092013 - Picnic tables by the car park for the Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes_de_Plaisance_009_10092013 - Following the Chutes de Plaisance Trail, which was flanked by picnic tables along the Riviere de la Petite Nation
Chutes_de_Plaisance_013_10092013 - Looking across the main drops of the Chutes de Plaisance from one of the sanctioned lookouts
Chutes_de_Plaisance_024_10092013 - This view of Chutes de Plaisance was actually from a random spot between foliage as I continued walking downhill to see what else I can experience of this waterfall
Chutes_de_Plaisance_030_10092013 - Going down the steps towards the riverbank of la Riviere de la Petite Nation just downstream of Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes_de_Plaisance_032_10092013 - When I finally made it down to the riverbed, I encountered loads of rock cairns and other jumbles of rocks as well as access to a fairly calm part of the Riviere de la Petite Nation
Chutes_de_Plaisance_033_10092013 - Partial view upstream at the bottom of the Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes_de_Plaisance_041_10092013 - Taking the trail back to the car park after having had my fill of the bottom fo the Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes_de_Plaisance_049_10092013 - Looking downstream from the road bridge by the car park for Chutes de Plaisance

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To drive to Chutes de Plaisance from Montreal, we fought the rush hour traffic then went north on the AUT-15 (Autoroute Des Laurentides).

We went for about 33km north to the suburb of Mirabel where we junctioned with the AUT-50.

Then, we then followed the AUT-50 (which wasn’t on our map as I suspected it was a new highway) west for about 94km to the exit at Montee Papineau turning left to go south in the direction of the town of Plaisance.

Chutes_de_Plaisance_044_10092013 - The car park for the Chutes de Plaisance
The car park for the Chutes de Plaisance

After about 700m, we turned right onto Ch Malo for about 1.5km to the car park just before the bridge over the Riviere de la Petite Nation.

This drive took us about 2.5 hours, but that included spending about 1 hour in traffic just to get from downtown Montreal to Sainte-Therese.

Going in the other direction from Ottawa, take the AUT-50 north-northeast for over 60km towards the highway exit for Montee Papineau.

From there, follow the local directions as above to reach the trailhead.

Finally, for some context, Montreal was 255km (about 3 hours drive) southwest of Quebec City and 199km (2 hours drive) east of Ottawa.

Right to left sweep showing a minor cascade before panning across the main cascades


Left to right sweep from downstream of the falls, then scrambling to reveal more of the falls, before zooming out to show creative cairns


Upstream to downstream sweep from the road bridge above the uppermost cascade

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Tagged with: hull, plaisance, montee papineau, quebec, gatineau, canada, waterfall, riviere de la petite nation, moulin



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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