Jacques​ – Cartier National Park – Les Cascades

The nicest Sepaq park in terms of scenery (out of the 9 we have visited so far), located in the Laurentian Mountains, 50km north from Quebec City.  This post is about our 4km loop winter walk “Les Cascades”, a relatively simple walk for families (difference in altitude about 40m). The walk is beside a stream (mostly frozen in the winter) and inside a forest, reaching a viewpoint of the Sautauriski mountain. The first part of the walk is along the Jacques Cartier River, starting at the Sepaq discovery and visitor centre (at km 10).

Parc régional de la Chute-à-Bull

This all-year trail is a super fun walk, about 1.9km return, part of the Parcs Regionaux MRC Matawinie. It is not suitable for very small kids as the trail during wintertime can be very slippery. There are about 90 stairs to reach the small waterfall. During our visit, it was mostly frozen and impressive to watch from close proximity. The trail is well maintained and has clear indications. Interpretive signs along the trail will explain the wood logging history of this region.

La Cidrerie Michel Jodoin – Hike and cider tasting

Beautiful Rougemont is known for its apple orchards. Cidrerie Michel Jodoin is located at the base of Mont Rougemont. This fourth generation family-owned apple orchard (since 1901) offers a nice boutique for their cider products, a guided tour of the cider house with tasting and a 3.6km hiking trail up the mountain (private property of the orchard). The trail is an intermediate level (round trip) to reach an elevation of about 220 meters. The scenery at the viewpoint is super nice. The trail is not suitable for young kids. Our 10 years old friend, completed the hike without a problem. For my kids (6 and 4) it was not easy. The trail is open all-year-round with a small entry fee.

Monts-Valin National Park (Sentier des Sommets)

A 6km loop trail in the Monts-Valin mountains, an intermediate-level, can be challenging for young kids. Not suitable for a baby stroller. In order to reach the trail’s starting point, you will go up the mountain by car. The trail goes inside very dense, rocky woods, then continues to a higher elevation with the main viewpoint at the “Pic-de-la-Hutte” – 900 meters elevation. A bit older kids will enjoy climbing over the rocks & tree roots, jumping over the water streams and enjoying nature. Our 6 and 4 years old managed to complete the trail with a smile.

Parc des Chutes-Dorwin

Only 1 hour away from Montreal, you can find the streaming Ouareau River surrounded by forest trees. This regional park has few lookout points of the Dorwin waterfall and 2.5km of trails along the river with information points. This is a good place to take visitors – a nice viewpoint of the falls and a simple & relaxed walk in the forest (and of course so close to Montreal). 

Saint-Gabriel winery visit and hike

Everywhere I go, I love to collect tourism brochures. Last Friday evening I was looking for a place to visit and I was going through my box, dedicated to activities in Quebec. I found a brochure about this place. After a search online, we decided to visit it the next day! We decided to combine a visit to the winery with wine tasting, a visit to a super nice antique tractor museum (ideal for tractor fans) and do a 4.5km hike (one way) which starts from the vineyards.

Yamaska National Park

Located in the Eastern Townships nearby Granby, this national park is wonderful for families. Surrounded by hills, the man-made Choiniere Reservoir is ideal for family hiking, water activities and biking. On a sunny day, we decided to combine a short hike and enjoy the park with its activities for kids.

Saint - Adolphe D'Howard

Saint – Adolphe D’Howard – 6km loop trail

Part of the Laurentian Mountains, located between Saint-Sauveur and Mont-Tremblant, Saint – Adolphe D’Howard is the place for snowshoeing and cross country ski, if you are looking for a less crowded place with challenging hills. This place is one of the most organized outdoor space we have visited, in terms of signs along the way. Clear indications every 50 meters showing the trail you’re on and maps, simple junctions with signs how to head back to the starting point. This post is about our winter hike along the snowshoeing trail in the forest, 6km in total.

Marguerite-D’Youville wildlife reserve

If you are looking for a relaxed day outdoor with fantastic views of the streaming St-Lawrence river and Montreal city, this small island – Île Saint-Bernard is the place to visit. Located so close from Montreal, Ile Saint-Bernard is a small island facing Dorval across the St-Lawrence river (which is also called in this part Saint-Louis Lake). The reserve has a variety of eco-systems and it is offering 8km of groomed trails where visitors can enjoy observing animals in their natural habitat. Depending on the season, you can observe many birds, deers and foxes. Throughout the reservation there are many bird feeding stations where you can observe many different bird species. 

Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix (Sentier des Lacs)

We decided to try a 2km walk (one way, total 4km) with snowshoes for the first time in beautiful Charlevoix. We took the easiest path in the area, called Sentier des Lacs.  During wintertime, the walk is inside the forest, along a frozen lake, truly a majestic walk. The 2km walk is basically parallel to a closed road which leads to parking P2 (accessible by car in the summer), you can stop, eat and start a fire at the refuge and return back to the original starting point or to continue for many other trails with panoramic views of the St Lawrence river.

Mont Mégantic National Park – Parcours du Soleil (Petite-Ourse loop trail)

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.

Orford National Park – Cherry Pond (Etang aux Cerises)

Mid-December, we were looking for a ski resort to teach the kids how to ski or a place to do snow shoeing but there was not enough snow even though most resorts were open. We called Mont-Orford centre and they recommended this trail for families with young kids. This is part of a cross-country ski trail which was open for hiking as the season did not start yet. The signs along the way indicate that this path is only for cross-county skiers but we assume it is open all year long.

Mont St-Bruno National Park – St Gabriel walk and Petit Duc walk

Located only 23km East of downtown Montreal, this National Park is an easy escape for nature and bird lovers at the city’s doorstep. In this post, we visited two short trails at the national park – Sentier Saint-Gabriel and Sentier Petit-Duc. The second walk, Sentir Petit Duc is suitable for snowshoeing. We have hiked it without the equipment this time as there was not enough snow to snowshoeing.

Regional Park of 7 waterfalls – Trail Voile de la Mariée

It was on my mind to write about this walk we did back in early September, on a sunny day but the ground was slippery from rainy days before. The trail is rough. Although it is considered an intermediate – easy hike, it can be difficult for young kids. The park does not allow strollers. It includes a walk along the river, a waterfall and a steep climb uphill. I definitely recommend taking a child carrier backpack, or to hike with older kids.

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