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).

Domaine du Radar – Austrian sledding​​

The place for some winter adrenaline rush! Riding on an Austrian sled down the slopes of Mont Sainte-Marguerite. Enjoy 4 consecutive descents of 2.3 km each ride. Choose between a Family or a Kamikaze trail. The place was once a military communications base (part of the Royal Canadian Air Force) during the Cold War from 1952 to 1964 as it has the highest peak in the region (summit at 698 meters). These days, the small mountain resort also offers hiking trails, bike trails, survival training, visits to the military bunker and more. We were happy to find this place as most activities with Austrian sledding in the area do not allow young kids to participate. Here you can ride with your kids from a very young age (taking the risk into consideration).

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.

Saint-Joseph Oratoire

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic basilica and a national shrine based on Mont Royal’s Westmount Summit. The construction of the chapel started in 1904, continued in 1924 with the basilica and completed in 1967. This is the largest shrine in the world dedicated to Saint Joseph who was credited with healing power. Many ill, handicapped and pilgrims pour into this Basilica. The basilica is built from Canadian granite and copper. This Montreal landmark is truly worth seeing. Take your visitors from out of town to visit this place and admire the architecture of this basilica and the wonderful views from its terrace. 

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.

Île-des-Moulins

Île-des-Moulins is located 30 minutes from downtown Montreal and nearby Laval, on the north shores of the Riviere des Mille-Iles and of the Riviere des Prairies. This small island is considered one of the most important pre-industrial site of the 19th century, a historical site, as it used to have a large complex of buildings from that era (today only 5 remained). The first flour mill was built in 1721 and a sawmill in 1725. Many other mills were built in the 19th century. We headed to Terrebonne on a cold autumn weekend day and we discovered a gem! Enjoy the sounds of the streaming water, cross the dam towards Île Saint-Jean and be inspired by the old buildings and mills.

Fort Henry (1000 islands)

Built during the war of 1812 to protect against an American attack on a strategic and elevated location, nearby the Ontario Lake, the Cataraqui River which flows to the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal. Restoration work on the fort from 1832 to 1837 led to a second fort been built on the site of the first. The fort was occupied by British troops and then by Canadian troops until 1891. During the first and second world wars, it housed prisoners of war. Today, it is considered a National Historic Site and a World Heritage Site. The museum lets you experience a mid-1860 appearance and military life.

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.

Val-Jalbert

A must-see in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. This village is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the region. The village was created in 1901 with a purpose for one industry only, pulp and paper mill.  The location was ideal for this industry as the energy required to operate the machinery was produced by two waterfalls on the Ouiatchouan river. However, the village has been deserted in 1929 due to low demand for non-transformed mechanical pulp and is considered since a ‘ghost town’. With more than 70 original abandoned buildings still standing, the convent-school, general store and the post office, you can feel the sense of community this place once held.

Mille Lieux Attraction Park

A fun attraction park for very young kids (mainly 2-8 years old) in Saguenay. The staff at this small colourful and joyful park, play funny characters to entertain the kids. The main attractions include water activities (splash park), playgrounds, a train ride, car racing, a maze, inflatables and picnic area. Entry fees are reasonable and you can spend there half a day when the weather is good. 

Tadoussac Whale Watching

Considered the best place in Quebec to watch marine mammals, and internationally renowned as a prime location for whale watching, Tadoussac is located on the north-west shore of the Saint Lawrence River, at the junction of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Charlevoix.  At this point, it confluences with the Saguenay River (which brings cold fresh water from Lac-Saint-Jean) and the warmer, salty water of the St. Lawrence, to create a rich marine environment. 

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). 

Verdun – LaSalle bike trail

This is a short post about the Verdun – LaSalle bike trail on Montreal island. This path offers many km of bike paths alongside footpaths and shoreline of the St.Lawrence river. The path has been widened along the riverbanks and includes lots of green area for a picnic. There are several viewpoints, kids playgrounds, a splash pad, a swimming pool and areas for paddleboard (SUP) and kayak. The view of the river is outstanding and you can feel the power of the water near the Parc des Rapides. The walking path which is parallel to the biking trail is very suitable for a baby stroller. 

Mauricie – Lac Castor and​ Trembles waterfalls

Aux Berges du Lac Castor is a large resort located on the shore of Lake Castor. The resort offers many accommodation options along with a sandy beach and a wooden deck. Canoeing, 30km of hiking trails, playground, beach volley, petanque, BBQ grill – all part of the entry fee. We went there only for a few hours for a dip in the water and relaxation time before heading to see the beautiful Trembles waterfalls, less than 10 mins away by car.

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.