There are about a million different things to do in Quebec’s largest park, but let me tell you about a hike with the most breathtaking view.
With 1,510 square km of territory, 6 rivers, 400 lakes and streams, this park is the definition of wilderness. We stayed as close as I thought it was possible, at the Mont Tremblant Resort, and it still took us nearly half an hour to drive to the park, and then around 10-15 minutes to get to the parking lot for the La Roche trail. The park and the roads are extremely well-maintained, especially considering how cruel Canadian winters can be. And you know how much it costs to enter? 3.5CAD per person!
When you enter the park, you just feel like you are in another world. I can’t really describe it, but the feeling is as if nothing else in the world exists. The park is really well-used – there were many people with canoes, RVs, bikes. I’d say it’s about 40/60 Ontario/Quebec. There are signs for lakes everywhere. On the Sunday that we went the temperatures were pretty high and muggy – to put it in simple terms, Boston-like – so we went for the hike early and just hung out on the shore of Lac Monroe. Not thinking ahead, we didn’t bring any swimwear with us… We chose the La Roche hike from the Mont Tremblant brochure (uploaded in case the link changes, also available from the official source). The guide was actually very helpful in letting us pick an activity, another kudos to Sepaq, the park’s management society. See page 10 of the PDF – page 18 in the document – for the list and descriptions of hikes. #3 is the one this post talks about.
To be honest, I wouldn’t really call this a hike – more of a climb. The path looks like an old logging road. It’s scenic.
The hike follows a ‘babbling brook’ – babbling, of course, if you do the hike in the spring or in the fall. Couple of bridges here and there, a dried out waterfall, and a thinnish stream of water was all we saw – still, pretty nice.
The steepness of the climb to the top is hard to convey through pictures, but I’ll try.
There is a very well-made viewing area at the top. Bring some snacks and have a picnic!
And a magnificent view
After the hike we went down to the beach at Lac Monroe, which was just a bit further down the road (can be seen in the panoramic photo above). We didn’t bring our swimsuits, so we didn’t swim, but we did go in the water up to our thighs. It was a bit cold but tolerable. There was a kayak/canoe rental booth on the beach, so you can do that if you like. Many road bikers – the roads are nice and the speed limit is low, so the cars don’t drive too fast. But there are huge RVs driving by… Lakes are plentiful, so canoes and kayaks are very much recommended. Fishing, however, costs extra, and I read that there’s a ‘lake lottery’ each day, the point of which is probably to make it a pain in the ass for anyone to actually fish.
We drove to the Mont Tremblant area with the national park in mind, but there were so many other things to do that we didn’t get to the park until our last day and, due to the 24-mile bike ride the day before, didn’t do much in the park besides the La Roche hike and lying on the beach for a couple hours. I feel that the park deserves its own trip and, in fact, one should come and stay there for several days. This was one of the few places that I felt a genuine desire to come back to.
P.S. This is Canada. There are wolves and bears around. We didn’t see any, obviously, but the brochure says they’re around.
Plenty of parking lots in the park, but they do get filled up, especially the beaches. The La Roche lot should be at 46.329447,-74.498763. The Lac Monroe lot a couple hundred meters north on the left at 46.336262,-74.500308.
3.5CAD/person to enter the park, whether you’re on bike, on foot, or in a vehicle. See PDF page 15 (document page 28) of the brochure. Prices are pretty reasonable, although for fishing you’d have to buy a daily $14 permit in addition to the Quebec fishing license.
There are stores in the area but everything from the park is quite a drive. We stopped by at a supermarket in St. Jovite, which, by looking at the map, is 1 hour driving time away from the La Roche parking lot. Of course, we didn’t go there from the park, but from the Mont Tremblant resort, but it was still fairly far. There were plenty of bars and cafes in St. Jovite.
See the Mont Tremblant Resort post (coming soon).
Mont Tremblant Resort
|GPX file||Picasa pictures||EveryTrail map||Park brochure|