7 Hiking Trails With Breathtaking Views Only 1 Hr Away From Montreal
With the current ongoing pandemic, many of us are looking for ways to get needed exercise and time outside, which doesn't interfere with the proper social distancing requirements. Staying cooped up inside every single day can make individuals feel bleak and sorrowful. It's essential for people to get outside when they can, as long as they do it responsibly.
The best way to get out of your house in a socially distant way is hiking. Hiking is one of the best ways to get the needed vitamin D and exercise from the sun that we’re all so desperately craving. Luckily for those of you in the Montreal, Quebec area, there are a ton of completely free hiking trails available to choose from.
Keep in mind the national parks in Canada have plans to slowly reopen on June 1st, 2020, but the trails below are currently open and free to the public. Remember to use your mask when you’re around crowds, and be safe. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at 7 free hiking trails in Montreal!
1. Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve
Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve is located roughly an hour outside of Montreal, and it's one of the best spots for hiking and wildlife. The reserve has a variety of trails to choose from, such as moderately tricky trails to very strenuous ones. Plus, there are a few beautiful lakes to check out during your exploration.
The reserve itself is an exciting experience. Be prepared to spot a variety of moose, beavers, porcupines, common garter snakes, and much more. Parking is available at any of the four main entrances, but be mindful of any social distance rules currently in place. Be sure to check out Lake Paradis, and the viewpoints from the varied cliffs throughout the reserve.
Depending on which trail you pick, the more accessible trails will only take you an hour, whereas the more difficult ones are a lot longer.
2. Mount Royal Park Loop
Located just outside of downtown Montreal, Mount Royal Park is a part of the Monteregian Hills. The park features an abundance of activities to do, including hiking. It's ideally suited for all ages considering the number of easy trails located right at the park. Plus, dogs are allowed at the park as long as they have a leash.
The main loop trail at the park is just over 8km long, and expect a good amount of foot traffic here. Be mindful of others around you, and don't forget your mask. There are beautiful flowers all-around the trail, and scenic viewpoints of the city.
For those of you who are young adults looking for a challenge, don’t worry. Picking up your overall pace will ensure you a perfect hiking experience for your fitness needs. Since it’s not too strenuous of a hike, you can expect to complete the hike in about two hours.
3. Parc Les Forestiers
Parc Les Forestiers is located just outside of Montreal in Les Cedres, Quebec. The main trail of the park is an 8 km loop that features a beautiful forest setting. Expect a lot of beautiful scenery and magnificent landscapes along the way. Hiking-wise, you’ll get roughly 46 meters in elevation gain.
The trail itself is moderately difficult, but don't let this sway you from checking it out if you're not an experienced hiker. Taking it nice and slow will ensure a safe and comfortable trip. Outside of hiking, the park is excellent for trail running and nature exploration. It'll take you a few hours to complete the hike, depending on your speed and cardio.
4. Domaine Naturel du Lac Gale
Domaine Naturel du Lac Gale is a massive forest located in Bromont, Quebec, about an hour outside Montreal. The park has an abundance of trails to choose from, not to mention the rare flora and fauna throughout the park. Upon your hike, be sure to check out the various viewing points and the beautiful lake in the heart of the park.
Lac Gale Loop is one of the most popular trails in the park, and it's a 4.5 km loop around the lake that features a moderate hike. Elevation-wise, the trail has an elevation gain of 103 m. Expect to see a lot of magnificent wildlife along the way, but unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at the park. Lac Gale Loop will only take you an hour or so to complete, but there are countless other trails in the park to check out.
5. Île Ste Hélène
For those of you looking for a longer hike, Île Ste Hélène is a 12.2 km loop trail located right by Montreal. It's a somewhat difficult hike considering its length. Still, the difficulty is worth it, considering the scenic river and location along the way.
The trail itself is perfect for anyone to walk in, since it’s a concrete path for the main trail, but be mindful of the long journey. Considering its location, expect to see a good amount of people located at it. Depending on your speed, it'll take you roughly 3 hours to complete.
6. Sentier de la Cidrerie Michel Jodoin
Cidrerie Michel Jodoin is a cider mill located outside of Montreal in Rougemont, Quebec. The cider mill features a few different trails to check out, but the Sentier de la Cidrerie Michel Jodoin is the most popular option.
The trail is roughly 3 km long but has a big elevation-gain of 144 meters. Expect to get winded along the way, so make sure you have enough water and supplies. It should take you an hour or so to fully complete.
7. Parc du Domaine Vert
Parc du Domaine Vert is a beautiful heavy-forest park 50 minutes outside of Montreal in Mirabel, Quebec. The park features an abundance of activities such as wildlife spotting, skiing, sports, and much more. Considering the current pandemic, many of these activities are unavailable, but hiking is still open to the public.
The trails are labeled by number, which makes it very to get from one trail to another. For those of you looking for an easy hike, the track 4 and track 3 loops are elementary to do. However, if you're looking for something more challenging, consider the VM 1, 10, 11, 12, and track 12 loops. Either trail option will take you a few hours to complete.
Despite the negative reality attached to the current pandemic of COVID-19, utilizing some of the best hiking trails in Montreal will undoubtedly help ease your mind. Not to mention the free hiking trails in Montreal listed above, that way you don't have to worry about spending money to get out of the house. Wherever you decide to go, remember your facemask and the rules attached to social distancing. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and take some time to relax along your hike.