Winter has loosened its icy grip. Ice has retreated from the trails and the fragrance of wet grass and fresh vegetation fills the air. It's spring at last — time to emerge from our dank city apartments and stretch our cramped legs after a season of couch potatoing. Here are eight spring hikes in Quebec to get started.
Most of these hikes have an intermediate level of difficulty, but there are a few more challenging routes for the extra adventurous.
Le Ruisseau-David Trail
Price: $8.05/adult for a day pass (before taxes)
When: Year-round, weather permitting
Address: Parc national du Mont-Orford; trail begins at the Parc municipal de l’Érablière parking lot, Orford, QC
Why You Have To Go: Sépaq describes the Ruisseau-David Trail as a "gentle climb to the top of Mont Chauve." Photos posted to Instagram show views across the rolling green hills of the Eastern Townships.
- The 2023 summer admission prices are forthcoming
- In the winter season, access was $10 for non-residents
When: The park is closed in April. Administrators plan to reopen it in mid-May.
Address: Parc Régional des Chutes Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles; trail begins at the Sainte-Béatrix and Sainte-Mélanie entrances
Why You Have To Go: The five-kilometre trail winds along the Rivière l'Assomption, passing the cascading Chute Monte-à-Peine.
Dos d'Orignal Loop
Price: $8/adult for a day pass; purchase tickets online
Address: Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton, 900, chemin Réal (altitude 520), Sutton, QC
When: At the time of writing, all but one trail in the park was open. Though administrators warned there could be other closures as the spring melt makes some streams impassable. On Facebook, they recommend checking at the visitor centre to see which trails are safe.
Otherwise, the park is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.
Why You Have To Go: Park administrators recommend the Dos d'Orignal (Moose Back) trail for its views, but it could take some work to get to them.
The park website warns of steep climbs on unkempt trails. It also says the hike is impossible during periods of snowmelt or heavy rains.
Price: $8.05/adult (before taxes) for a day pass
When: May "to the first snowfalls," according to Sépaq
Address: Parc national du Mont-Tremblant; trail begins at the Discovery Centre in the Secteur de Diable, 3824, chemin du Lac Supérieur, Lac Supérieur, QC
Why You Have To Go: The La Roche trail leads to a lookout point that feels like it's floating above the mountains.
Avid hikers can also choose to extend their adventure along the La Coulée and La Corniche trails.
Petit Tour du Mont Kaaikop
Address: 3565, chemin du Lac-Legault, Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides, QC
Why You Have To Go: If you want sweeping, unobstructed views, this might be the place.
It's also a bit of a workout to get to the top — park administrators say the Petit Tour gets steep.
For that reason, they recommend boot clamps or snowshoes during the melting season. Things can get slippery.
Address: Parc régional des Sept-Chutes, 4031, chemin Brassard Sud (Route 131), Saint-Zénon, QC
Why You Have To Go: According to its website, the Parc régional des Sept-Chutes "offers the most beautiful viewpoints" in the Matawinie MRC.
The 4.3-kilometre hike up Mont Brassard takes you through red pine and black spruce forests to a "rocky peak overlooking route 131 and the cliffs of Lake Rémi."
Price: $9/adult for a day pass; only available for purchase at the welcome centre
Address: Parc régional du Mont-Ham, 103, route 257 O., Ham-Sud, QC
Why You Have To Go: This short (1.9-kilometre) but challenging hike takes visitors to the top of Mont Ham with its 360-degree views into three different regions, according to the park website.
A giant cross marks the summit of the mountain.
Park administrators told MTL Blog that access to the trail is "extremely limited" during the thaw period.
At the time of writing, they recommend crampons on the trail.
Le Mont-Mégantic Trail
Price: $8.05/adult (before taxes)for a day pass
Address: Parc national du Mont-Mégantic; trail begins at the Observatoire sector Discovery Centre
Why You Have To Go: This 11.2-kilometre loop takes visitors to the tip of the mountain with its famous observatory.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
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