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Tom's Blogs > Category: Hiking & Cycling > The Chelsea Community Trail


This is it! After the dismantling and removal of the rails in 2016, the old railway line linking Hull to Wakefield via Chelsea is now a multi-use community trail on the territory of the Municipality of Chelsea. The long-awaited resurfacing is almost completed along its entire 22 km length, making walking and cycling very pleasant.

For Auberge Tom B&B, access to the trail is a real asset. Located at the bottom of the property, it allows our guests to practice hiking and biking (hybrid tires) in summer and walking, snow biking and cross-country skiing (classic and skating) in winter.

One of the trail's many assets is undeniably the fact that it follows the Gatineau River for most of its length. Its topography is flat, which makes it accessible to everyone, but its course is sinuous and the nature that surrounds it is constantly changing, which breaks the monotony that could have set in if it had been too linear.


First railway line linking Hull to Maniwaki

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ottawa and Gatineau Valley Railway, owned by the Ottawa and Gatineau Valley Railroad Company, connected the "Cité de Hull" to Maniwaki (1904) by going up the Gatineau Valley through Chelsea, Wakefield (1891) and Gracefield (1895). It became the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1902. 

The steam trains that ran along this railroad were then used to transport passengers and goods until the 1960s. Then electric trains replaced steam trains until the mid-1970s, when regular rail operations stopped and became ad hoc and transient. It is thus from the second half of the 1970s that the decline of this railway began.

Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train

Then, in 1992, the railway found a new vocation thanks to the Choo-Choo Train Company, a steam locomotive (the 909) purchased in Sweden by Jean Gauthier and his business group. The tourist train linked Hull to Wakefield over a distance of 64 km, at a speed of 22-23 km/hour. After a few difficult years, the train will be renamed the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train and its offer will be enhanced with a first-class car, the Club Riviera, improved air conditioning, a gift store and the addition of meals and gourmet products in collaboration with Café Henry Burger

The 500 or so passengers who boarded the train from Hull embarked on a five-hour trip, three of them on the train and two in Wakefield. There, they could visit boutiques and cafés or watch the performance of the 180° turn of the engine for its trip back to Hull.

End of the train and new vocation of the railroad

Unfortunately, the torrential rains of 2011 and the resulting landslides have forced the permanent closure of the tourist train. The railway line will be left fallow, but the portion located on Chelsea territory will be groomed in winter by the Municipality to facilitate the practice of cross-country skiing.

Then, in 2017, the rails will be removed and the trail will be cleared and maintained for summer hiking. However, the old stones used to stabilize the railroad track made it a bit difficult to walk and good hiking shoes were necessary. When it comes to biking, only mountain bikers had fun, but very few ventured on it, preferring the steeper and more challenging trails of Gatineau Park.

Birth of the community trail

At the same time, the vision of a community trail that would allow both hiking and biking germinated in the minds of many, and one group was mandated to carry out the project. It hasn't always been easy to rally Chelsea folks to the cause, especially those who live on either side of the trail, but the resurfacing of the community trail will be completed by the end of October, thanks to the mobilization of its most enthusiastic supporters and the collaboration of the Municipality of Chelsea and partners.


Proud to be a sponsor

The Community Trail is supported by many partners who not only share the vision of a trail for all, but who want to make it a safe and pleasant place to enjoy nature and the banks of the Gatineau River. At Auberge Tom B&B, we are delighted to become a partner! We enjoy this trail every day and are happy to share it with our guests, all year round!The Community Trail is supported by many sponsors who not only share the vision of a trail for all, but who want to make it a safe and pleasant place to enjoy nature and the banks of the Gatineau River. 

At Auberge Tom B&B, we are delighted to become a sponsor! We enjoy this trail every day and are happy to share it with our guests, all year round!

Year-round outdoor activities

For our guests, this means that they can take a walk in a safe and beautiful setting without having to drive to get there. They can also bring their bikes and ride the 22 km to go either to Wakefield (the trail stops a few kilometers from the heart of the village) or to the center of Chelsea where you will find restaurants, cafés and the Nordik spa). 

In the winter, they can put on their skis and take a breath of fresh air in an enchanting setting and come back to warm up in front of a fireplace, all while leaving the car safely in our parking lot. Who else can boast of having such a beautiful playground in their backyard?



Many of us are already dreaming of the trail leading all the way to Wakefield and eventually connecting to the Véloroute des Draveurs, a 72-km bike trail that links Low to Farley, near Maniwaki.


Others also dream that the trail connects to Gatineau’s cycle pathway networks towards Ottawa and Montreal.

Full of projects

At Auberge Tom B&B, we are considering the development of a bicycle/hiking tourism path when the Chelsea Community Trail is connected to both the northern and southern networks. We plan to partner with other hotels to develop a route that will allow hikers and cyclists to enjoy a stopover without having to worry about their luggage. It is not yet known when these trails will be connected, but it is hoped that this will be a reality soon. To be continued...

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Postal address:

1090, route 105

Chelsea, Quebec, Canada

J9B 1P3