December 22, 2016
People bundled up in hats and scarves, streets slick with ice and temperatures cold enough to see your breath – the signs are clear. Winter’s here and that means it’s time to make the most of the snow, Montreal. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, the City of Saints and its surrounding regions offer plenty of winter fun that goes beyond Mont-Tremblant. To help you take advantage of Montreal’s winter trails, we’ve highlighted our favourite options to explore.
Located in the heart of Montreal, Mount Royal is a classic destination to go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or winter biking. For an added dose of adrenaline, you can also go tubing right by Beaver Lake.
For a unique experience around the city, try the guided City Lights snowshoe excursion, offered on Friday and Saturday evenings from January 6 to March 4, 2017. You’ll leave from the Beaver Lake Pavilion with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and wind your way through the park. If you’re there at the end of January, you can celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary with a special snowshoe trek that follows the route taken by the Montréal Snowshoe Club.
Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno
Located just a half hour away from Montreal, Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno will please any outdoor winter fan. If you’re looking to do a morning hike, the park offers a 3.5-km trail with a shorter 1.5-km loop. If you’d rather spend a little more time outside, try the 7-km walking trail that circles Lac Seigneurial – you might spot a woodpecker or two along the way. Make sure to pack some winter hiking essentials like a warm hat, mitts, an extra layer and some traction for your boots.
If you’re into fat bikes (or want to try one out), this is the place to go for a ride. Rentals are available at the Discovery and Visitors Centre, and riders can bike around Lac Seigneurial. On January 20, February 3 and February 17, some of the park’s cross-country trails will be available to riders on fat bikes from 5pm to 9pm. It’ll get dark around that time so a headlamp will come in handy.
Aerobic Corridor and Morin-Heights
Nestled in the region of Morin-Heights, just an hour’s drive from Montreal, the Aerobic Corridor is a 58-km recreational trail that weaves through the Western Laurentians for you to roam at your own pace. You can access the corridor via provincial and local road networks.
Morin-Heights has a 165-km cross-country and snowshoe trail network, 90km of which are backcountry trails. Keep in mind that you’ll need a valid cross-country ski pass or day ticket to enter this area. Snowshoers can venture on 15km of trails in the Aerobic Corridor or try out the 12km of resort trails at Ski Morin Heights. After a long day traversing the rugged backcountry terrain, you can warm up with a cup of hot cider or maybe something a little different like a hot toddy.
Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
If you’re itching to try out your brand new pair of cross-country skis, Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park is a great place to test them. You’ll enjoy a pretty view of the Lake of Two Mountains and the Rivière des Prairies as you ski or snowshoe along the park’s 32km of trails. Cap-Saint-Jacques has many loops, which makes it easy for you to return where you started and then take off on another path for more adventure.
You can also head out for an evening ski and stop off at the Sugar Shack for a delicious crêpe or some taffy on the snow (which is pretty tasty).
Looking to get in some downhill skiing or snowboarding and want a quieter ski area than Mont-Tremblant? Head to Mont Blanc instead. This ski resort features three peaks, 42 trails and the Mont-Tremblant region’s second highest elevation, so there’s plenty of fresh snow for skiers and snowboarders to rip through. After you’ve had your fill of the slopes, you can unwind in the hot tub and feed your well-earned appetite at any one of the resort’s quality restaurants.
Face winter head on – dressed in appropriate layers, of course – and enjoy everything this magical season has to offer. Whether you’re looking to try out a new winter activity or just get your heart pumping, Montreal has a trail for every taste.