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Bonjour Nature - Parc régional des Sept-Chutes
Photograph: Jimmy Vigneux

26 of the best hiking and parks in and around Montreal

From urban mountains to sandy beaches, hit the trails and explore the best of the outdoors in and outside of the city.

Edited by
Laura Osborne
Contributors
JP Karwacki
,
Holly Tousignant
&
Isa Tousignant
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UPDATE, May 2022: When you need little break from the bright lights and festive vibes of summer in the city, go for a walk. Hiking is the easiest thing to do in Montreal: There are fantastic park trails and beaches to be enjoyed within the city itself, and if you’re willing to drive out a bit, you’ll find everything from majestic waterfalls to stunning mountaintop views. These road trips from Montreal are easily done within a day or a weekend, and if you need the rest before your drive back, many of the destinations found here are home to some of the some of the best camping in the province. These accessible hikes range anywhere from 1 to 4 hours from the city.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal

Where to find the best hiking near Montreal

No car? No problem. Take to the trail at this Montreal attraction which is perhaps more of a walk than a hike, but which—with its ample trees, decent incline and stunning view of the city—will still get you sweating. This arboreal oasis is beautiful at all times of the year, and the well-maintained path means you don’t have to worry too much about your winter hiking gear being up to snuff. While there are paths that wind in every which way, you also have the option of off-roading it if you want a real rugged experience.

Drive time from Montreal: What drive time?

The manicured walking and cycling path that snakes along the Lachine Canal from Old Montreal all the way into Lachine is a fantastic way to shake a leg within the city, with views of water throughout and lots of people watching, too. A good starting point is at the corner of McGill and de la Commune, then walk westward for as far as you like on one side before crossing one of the bridges to loop back on the other side. For a 2-hour walk, make Atwater Market your goal from McGill and de la Commune, grab a picnic lunch and go.

Drive time from Montreal: None!

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At the northern tippy top of the island, Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation is a lovely relaxing walk that’s half in verdant grassy knolls along the banks of Rivière-des-Prairies, half along quiet streets of Ahuntsic, dotted with some of the most ancient farmhouses in the city (watch for the placards in their front lawns for a bit of Québec history). If your starting point is Boulevard Gouin and Rue Lajeunesse, head to the water’s edge and walk eastward for a bit over an hour, until you reach the little inlet at Gouin and Papineau. That’ll lead you to another great set of trails near Simon Sicard Dam.

Drive time from Montreal: None!

You’ll know this park as the lively site of La Ronde amusement park, Formula One Grand Prix and music festivals galore including Osheaga, but it’s also a verdant escape from the city buzz. On any day when it’s not the site of some extraordinary event, this island park is a haven located just a few metro stops away from downtown Montreal, packed with paths and trails and surrounded by the St. Lawrence. You can walk yourself silly on the paths, but go off-road and explore a little by the waterside, and you’ll discover some truly special spots well suited to picnics.

Drive time from Montreal: None

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Located in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (technically part of Greater Montreal), this stunning parcel of green is owned by McGill University and serves as a teaching and research site as well as a recreational facility open to the public throughout the year. Its 245 hectares of forest reserve is on the western end of the island, but you’d never know you’re a mere 30 minutes from downtown; it’s an engulfing space with lakes, contemplation corners and over 10 km of hiking trails. 

Drive time from Montreal: 30 minutes

You needn’t go very far out of Montreal to experience the rugged Canada wilderness in all its glory. Less than 30 minutes from the downtown core, this national park offers 27 km of hiking trails around five lakes, the longest of which is two hours. Visit this pet-friendly park in autumn for gorgeous views of the changing leaves with the whole family in tow; with the exception of the more rustic Le Montérégien hike, all of the trails are beginner-friendly.

Drive time from Montreal: 30 minutes

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Just outside of Montreal, Mont Saint-Hilaire nature reserve is another great local spot for those who like their hikes to be more scenic than strenuous, with relatively easy, straightforward trails open all year round. The picturesque lakeside mountain is home to several trails that bring hikers to four summits—totalling at 24 km of mountain trails—all of which offer beautiful views.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour

Mont Tremblant is famous around the world for its skiing, but locals know there’s a lot more to the mountain than its ski slopes. Choose from 11 trails that cater to all fitness levels, from easy, pet-friendly strolls to strenuous climbs. Nestled among the beautiful and fun-filled Laurentians, Mont Tremblant is beautiful year-round, but perhaps most of all in autumn when the summit offers 360-degree views of leaves changing colour to vibrant oranges, reds and yellows.

Drive time from Montreal: 2.5 hours

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Once the summits of Mont-Mégantic and its neighbouring Mont-Saint-Joseph (both just over 1,000 metres above sea level) are reached, the views can get unforgettable. In the Parc national
du Mont-Mégantic, there are 20 km of hiking trails leading to  those spectacular, misty mountaintop vantage points you'll see so often in photos. Day trips are just as good as those done as the sun sets too, as this park is part of the province's first International Dark Sky Reserve.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour

The distance this national park has from the city is made up for by its sheer grandiosity. Its trail network of +30 kilometers that include Le Mont-du-Lac-des-Cygnes, La Chouenne, Le Pioui and Le Gros-Pin (accessible in the summer or winter) alone grant you fantastic views through a wide range of landscapes that go from serene taiga and boreal forests to mountain terrain. The main view you shouldn't leave without is from Le Mont-du-Lac-des-Cygnes, offering a view down into the Charlevoix meteorite crater and Vallée du Gros-Bras.

Drive time from Montreal: 4 hour 30 minutes

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Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/CC/Sarah

Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook

Located two hours and change from Montreal near the Vermont border, this beautiful wilderness playground is home to three hiking trails, plus a range of other summer and winter activities—that’s including a nighttime multimedia forest light show, Foresta Lumina. If you’re only going to do one hike, choose the gorge-ous (sorry not sorry) “Sentier de la Gorge” trail; it takes you over the park’s famed suspended footbridge, the longest of its kind in North America.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours 20 minutes

Not every hike needs to be treacherous or straining, and the 21 km network of multi-purpose trails in Montreal's own backyard on the Boucherville islands proves that. Taking you through all the various landscapes that the park has to offer, the Grande-Rivière trail is generally looked to as the best option while being none too challenging. Take the river shuttle for a day trip, or plan ahead and pack up for a camping spot.

Drive time from Montreal: What drive time?

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With its views of Quebec's blunted mountains and deep ravines, this national park just outside of Québec City is home to some of the most glacial carvings of its kind in the province, including the Vallée de la Jacques-Cartier where the Jacques Cartier River runs its 550-metre-deep channel through. That's only one scenic feature, however; there's over 100 kilometres of hiking trails to explore here, and when you take stock of the rich variety of landscapes, it merits more than one visit.

 

Drive time from Montreal: 3 hours 30 minutes

This popular skiing destination is a must-visit spot for winter and summer adventurers alike. In addition to its ski hill, Mont Rigaud also has a recreational park called L’Escapade which offers 27 km of hiking trails. If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, strap on a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes in the winter or hop on your bike in the summer and enjoy one of the many other activities on offer.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour 30 minutes

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The Eastern Townships are full of beautiful scenery, and this rustic spot—with its two lakes, two ponds and many kilometers of trails—is no exception. Trails range from 2.4 km to nearly 14 km, and they’re full of some of the best wild beauty the region has to offer that includes a waterfall, breathtaking summit views and—Canada, eh?—lots and lots of maple trees.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours

Found on the shores of Grand lac Saint-François, the third largest lake south of the Saint-Lawrence River, Parc national de Frontenac is teeming of wildlife you can keep an eye out for while you're exploring its network of hiking trails that go anywhere from 3km to 16km. For views, take the Le Massif de Winslow trail, and for a more easy-going trip, take the La Tourbière circuit which doubles as being stroller-friendly for families.

Drive time from Montreal: 3 hours

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You won't find dozens of kilometers of hiking trails here, but of the 4.5 km of developed paths to take that range from easy to intermediate, they've all got amazing views to see of the 35 metre high Chutes-de-la-Chaudière waterfalls. Those trails will take you across a 113 metre long suspension footbridge that hangs 23 metres over the river for great sights, and once you're done, exchange your hiking boots for dancing shoes in nearby Quebec City.

Drive time from Montreal: 3 hours

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This mountain in southern Quebec may not feel all that far from the city, but its quick and straightforward trail offers views that say otherwise. Differing from the typical rolling-hills-and-maple-groves on display from other summits on this list, Mont Saint-Grégoire is surrounded by sprawling fields, looking out over vast wide-open spaces and mountains further afield. On a clear day, you’ll see Montreal in the distance.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour 20 minutes

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Mont Rougemont
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/CC/Axel Drainville

Mont Rougemont

Less than an hour and half from Montreal in the beautiful Montérégie region, Mont Rougemont is home to a short, privately-owned trail that rewards hikers with a spectacular scene at the mountain’s summit. Because it isn’t maintained by the government, some may find Mont Rougemont’s trail harder to follow, but the view from the top is worth it if you’re willing to give it a shot.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour 20 minutes

Smooth landscapes full of bays, ponds, and marshes are found here, and the flat state of the park makes this a great place for super long walks through nature. No trail here is ranked intermediate or difficult, but there are lots of all-season trails that can last anywhere from 2-km round trips to larger 17-km or 21-km loops that could very well test your endurance. But this isn't about some physical challenge; go to this park and take in as much of its serenity as you can.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours

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Another Eastern Townships gem, Mont-Orford is a recreation junkie’s dream, with activities ranging from hiking and rock climbing to skiing and mountain biking, all available to those with daily or season passes. The park is home to a range of flora and fauna, including deer, heron and lots of sugar maple trees. Mont-Orford’s network of trails spans over 80km, with routes available for all levels; the most hardcore hikers (or those who have read Into the Wild one too many times) may wish to utilize the more challenging trails.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours

While it's normally looked to for some amazing camping options thanks to its island-hopping setup in the summer, few consider how beautiful Poisson Blanc can be for hiking. There are 17 kilometers of hiking trails to see that include experiences like seeing the Laurentians' Fort Mountain and taking in views or more serene options like the Sentier de la Paroi Éléphant which ends in a west-facing view to take in sunsets from an escarpment.

Drive time from Montreal: 3 hours 30 minutes

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If you’re willing to make a day trip out of your hike, drive the two hours and change from Montreal to Sept-Chutes (“Seven Waterfalls,” for you anglos) to witness the absolutely incredible views here. All 12km of the park’s trails are surrounded by stunning scenery, but the pièce de résistance is probably the Mont Brassard trail which takes hikers to a must-see-it-to-believe-it lake view.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours 15 minutes

Oka’s maples and wetlands are on beautiful display in the park’s five hiking trails which range from a quick 25 minutes to a 4.5-hour, nearly 12 km-long route. The difficult summit hike offers two hours of quality cardio (and quality views), with the plus of cooling down at Oka’s peaceful, sandy areas that are among the best Montreal beaches. If you’re into working up a sweat on the trails with the daylong trip, this is your jam.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour 20 minutes

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Just shy of two hours from Montreal, Yamaska’s wetlands and thick groves of various tree species make it a haven for relaxing summer recreational activities. The walking trails at Yamaska vary in length but are all quite easy and suitable for hikers of all ages and abilities—perfect for those times you want the view without the exertion, and especially perfect for getting the family out of the house.

Drive time from Montreal: 1 hour 45 minutes

Another Eastern Townships gem, Mont-Orford has 80 km of trails, plus activities ranging from hiking and rock climbing to skiing and mountain biking, all available to those with daily or season passes. But while most people hike the ski trails, underneath the gondolas and chairlifts, the Ruisseau-des-Chênes trail takes you off the beaten path past waterfalls and more. Tip: Park at the Savonnerie across the street.

Drive time from Montreal: 2 hours

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