Winter is almost over but there still is snow
The groundhog has predicted that winter will be short this year, but that doesn’t mean our winter fun has ended just yet! Below are 3 of my top picks for some last minute snowshoe trail fun.
La Mauricie National Park
Parc de La Jacques-Cartier
Morin Heights - Trail Network
Can a small town’s regional trail network really be mentioned in the same breath as National and Provincial parks? The answer is quite simply, yes. The Morin Heights trail system boasts more than 200km of intertwined cross-country and snowshoeing trails. The trails can be accessed from various spots in the Morin Heights region, The Aerobic Corridor and The Chalet Bellevue. The trail system also has access points in the municipality of WentWorth-Nord, at The Pavillon Montfort and Laurel Parking.
Arriving at the Aerobic Corridor, a 8.5km mechanically groomed portion of the network used by cross-country skiers, we entered the chalet where we were taken away by their welcome. The employee was by far the most helpful park employee I have ever met, and gave us a quick overview of the area. After a quick briefing, we strapped on our snowshoes and map in hand we headed to the end of the parking to start our journey on the trail.
The trails there are very nice. Even despite not having received any recent snow, the conditions were superb and paths were snowy, white, clean and a pleasure to trek along. The trails had it all, nice flats, rolling hills, lakes and even a small summit view. Even though the trail system is in chalet country, you will not find the country houses obtrusive, and they do not take away from the feeling of being in nature.
Overnight Trail Considerations
La Mauricie National Park
Montreal’s nearest Canadian National Park, La Mauricie National Park, is a perfect spot for a two day getaway in the snow. They offer an interesting lodging in a 4 season mix between a tent and a cabin called Otentiks. For this experience alone, I would recommend a stay at La Mauricie National Park. The National Park has very nice snowshoeing trails throughout, with trails ranging from easy walks to more challenging, long and hill-ridden paths through the park. One thing to note is that as these trails are used as hiking trails in the summer, do not be surprised to encounter stairs in the middle of the trail.
Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier
Another park that is some distance from Montreal, but definitely worth an overnight stay is Parc National De La Jacques-Cartier. The park is just north of Quebec City, so I would suggest a one or two night stay would do the park justice. Located along the valley of the Jacques-Cartier river, many of the trails lead to picturesque summits overlooking the valley. With an approximate 84km of trails, your bound to have an endless amount of fun out in the park. Like La Mauricie National Park, on depending which trail you take, you may encounter stairs. The stairs were virtually impassible with snowshoes on (though a little hors-piste seems doable, you may end up sliding down the section of mountain down to where the stairs ends, watch your step).
There are probably only a few good weeks of winter left, as temperatures are on the rise but it doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the snow for a few more days of fun. If you’re in the Montreal region, and looking for a place for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, I would highly recommend taking a look at the Morin Heights trail network. It is close by, extensive and quiet. If your schedule allows for more time, head out a little further to La Mauricie or La Jacques-Cartier parks where large valleys and higher summits can be enjoyed!