April 24, 2018
Want to try trail running near Montreal and don’t own a car? Start by checking out these 7 trail running destinations you can get to by transit. Before you head out, grab a running friend and pick up a few gear essentials for safety on the trails. Have fun exploring!
1. Mont-Royal Park
“There’s no denying that the top spot is this great green oasis that’s an integral part of Montreal!” says Mathieu B., a trail runner with many medals to his name. The routes to choose from are almost endless on the mountain. Here are two interesting trails that you may not know:
Located between the Mont-Royal and Camilien-Houde belvedere, the 1.2km Sentier de l’Escarpement gives you great views of Montreal. Thibault C., MEC staffer and trail runner, suggests that you grab a run buddy to try running this section after dark to enjoy the lights of Montreal (remember your headlamp!).
Another one to try is the old ski trail that starts behind the Cepsum and winds up to the Belvedere Outremont. The hardiest runners know this hill well – it’s a good spot to train for races. When you’re done, the prize for your effort is the view from the belvedere.
- Transport: To get to the Sentier de l’Escarpement, take bus 11 from Mont-Royal metro station. To get to the old ski trail, take bus 51 or 119 from Édouard-Montpetit metro station.
- Don’t miss: If you happen to be on Serpentin Road near Peel Avenue, don’t miss the art piece commemorating the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In in Montreal. It features Give Peace a Chance written in stone in 40 languages.
2. Îles-de-Boucherville Park
This national park made up of five little islands in the middle of the Saint-Lawrence River offers 21km of trails to explore in a quiet and varied environment. The terrain is the ideal place to log some serious kilometres while keeping cool thanks to the freshness provided by the nearby river. Because this is a national park, there’s an entry fee of $8.50 per adult.
- Transport: From Promenade Bellerive you can hop on a river taxi; there is also the Bus des îles, a free ferry that runs on Saturdays, Sunday and holidays in summer between Terminus Longueuil and the park entrance (check the ferry schedule before you go).
- Don’t miss: In this relatively wild environment keep your eyes open for all sorts of animals including white-tailed deer.
3. Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park
This lesser-known park is on the bank of Des Prairies River. You can run 9km on a trail that follows the water and winds through a grove. The coolness from shade of the trees and the breeze coming off the river makes it the perfect destination for hot summer days.
- Transport: Take bus 69 est from Henri-Bourassa metro station and stop at rue de Lille.
- Don’t miss: A number of beautiful lookouts, the hydroelectric dam falls, and the ruins of the site des moulin that date back to 1726.
4. Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
Open year-round, this park has great views of the Des Prairies River and the Des Deux-Montagnes lake. It’s a little further from downtown, but if you make the trip, you’ll feel like you’re in the wilderness and you can run dozens of kilometres without covering the same ground twice. The trails might be flat, but their surfaces vary: dense rock dust, rocks, roots, dirt, grass and even sand.
- Transport: Take bus 68 ouest on Gouin boulevard.
- Don’t miss: A beach, an ecological farm and a general store where you can buy what’s produced on the farm and other biological products.
5. Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
In the heart of Montérégie, this park has 27km of trails that run along lakes and through pretty forests. Some sections are ideal for the beginner runners (not too long and no hard climbs). One route for beginners to try is Le Seigneurial 7km loop trail. Looking for a more technical trail? Check out Le Montérégien, an 8.8km loop trail. Because this is a Sépaq park, there’s an $8.50 fee for adults.
- Transport: From Terminus Longueil (Longueil metro station), take bus 192 towards Promenades Saint-Bruno.
- Don’t miss: An orchard and a historical mill.
6. Mont Saint-Hilaire
If you’re looking to tackle some hills, this is the place! Mount Saint-Hilaire has 4 summits (Rocky, Dieppe, Pain de sucre and Burned Hill) around beautiful Hertel Lake, where you can spot hundreds of geese in the fall. In this park, you’ll also find narrow trails to improve your footwork on technical routes.
- Transport: From the Central train station (Bonaventure metro station), take train SH 814 to Mont-Saint-Hilaire, then hop on bus 21 to the intersection of Fortier and Ernest-Choquette streets. The park entrance is a 10-minute walk away.
- Don’t miss: The stunning 360° view from the Dieppe summit.
7. The western section of the Circuit TransTerrebonne
You might think that the suburbs don’t have anything to offer for passionate trail runners: you’d be wrong in this case! The circuit TransTerrebonne is your escape from the urban bustle. The main trail surface is rock dust, but you can also literally get off the beaten trail. While there’s not much elevation gain, there is a nice mix of environment on this section of the circuit – here’s a detailed map (.pdf).
- Transport: The circuit has many access points, but one recommendation is to you access the Western section via the De la Pommeraie Park in Terrebonne. From the Cartier metro station, take bus 28 to Terrebonne and exit at the intersection of Du Souvenir Road and Gagnon Hill, take bus 5 Terrebonne-Bois-des-Fillion and exit at the intersection of Terrebonne Hill, and De la Pommeraie Avenue, run up De la Pommeraie Avenue (about 10 minutes) to the park.
- Don’t miss: Lush nature awaits runners who venture off the main trail as well as water and mud puddles for the adventure seekers (yeah!).
How about you, what are your favourite running trails you can get to around Monteal without a car? Let us know on the MEC Facebook page.