As a big astronomy fan, I was just waiting to visit Mont Megantic as it is known for its astronomy research, observatory and for the AstroLab museum for families. Megantic and St -Joseph mountains are about 1000 meters high. There is no cable car to go up the mountain and in order to reach the observation area, you will need to climb up the mountain during winter time as the road was not open when we visited in December.
We visited the park beginning of December when there was already snow accumulating on the trail. Although information online mentioned the observation centre and museum were open, when we arrived at the information centre of the National Park, we were told these were closed. We decided to do the hike for families which is known as ‘Parcours du Soleil’, or ‘Petite Ourse’ (small bear). During the winter, the trail is mainly for snowshoeing.
It is a 3km walk – part of the Observatory Sector, which starts at the parking lot of the national park. The walk is considered easy, although with the snow, the conditions were a bit difficult for young kids and there is an elevation of about 200 meters in total.
Address: 189 Route du Parc, Notre-Dame-des-Bois, J0B 2E0, QC
Region: Eastern Townships
Car: Drive east from Montreal for about 2h30
Entrance fees – Sepaq entry fee
Possible with all-terrain baby stroller, can be difficult at some parts
Park at the designated parking lot and head for the information office to pay the park fees. As the trail is a loop, we started from the left of the information centre. Otherwise, cross the road and you will see signs to follow the trail ‘Parcours du Soleil’.
If you start the trail from the right, you will reach the ‘Belvedere du Soleil’ (viewpoint) after 1.2km.
If you start the trail from the left, you will reach the park’s hut after 1km. Follow the ‘Parcours du Soleil’/Petite Ourse signs uphill towards the hut ‘Pole d’hébergement Petite-Ourse. The walk is near a water source.
The hut is a place to make a stop on the way, and during the winter, you can heat it up with wood and there are toilets nearby.
From there, the walk to the Belvedere is about 800 meters. At some point, we had to cross a road in order to follow the trail.
At the Belvedere you can see the surrounding mountains and the trail starts to go downhill from this point towards the information centre and parking area (about 1.3km).
We enjoyed following the animal tracks on the way, and to guess their names!