Many know Montréal as a cultural hub with a wealth of art, European charm and beautiful architecture—what you may not know is that it’s also a great city for hiking.
In the city itself, Mount Royal is a popular outdoor spot with a lookout at the peak offering sweeping views of the city. But if you’re looking to explore a little further afield, there are plenty of places to discover as part of a day trip from Montréal.
Whether you’ve already booked your flights to Montréal or you’re planning to visit in the future, there’s nothing like getting out in the fresh air and soaking up the sites on a jaw-dropping hike. Read on for some of our top recommendations.
Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
Approximate distance from Montréal: 25 km
Attracting close to 900,000 nature lovers every year, the Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park is surrounded by four municipalities near Montréal. Filled with dozens of kilometres of hiking trails suitable for people of all ages and abilities, the Park’s orchard is also a popular attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to pick several varieties of succulent, crunchy apples from August. Keep your eyes peeled for lakes (the Park is home to five), a historic mill, and a 35-kilometre cross-country skiing network during winter months. Looking to book winter flights to Montréal? Fat bikes (large tire bicycles) provide ideal traction for snow-covered surfaces and are available to hire from the Park.
Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard Nature Park
Approximate distance from Montréal: 35 km
One of Québec’s best-kept secrets, those in the know enjoy a visit to the island of l’Île-Bizard to get away from the hustle and bustle of city living. As well as being home to 9.5 kilometres of hiking trails and 10 kilometres of bike paths, Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard Nature Park is also a haven for all kinds of wildlife, including blue jays, egrets, turtles, muskrats and beavers. The popular Pointe Aux Carrieres loop trail offers stunning views of the unique star-shaped ‘Lake of Two Mountains’, with several picnic areas welcoming hikers to relax and take a break along the way. You’ll have a chance to try out activities like canoeing, fishing and kayaking in summer, with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing also available during winter.
Approximate distance from Montréal: 38 km
If you’re looking for lots of great hiking options on flat terrain, the Morgan Arboretum is a great choice. The 245-hectare forest reserve is situated in western Montréal in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and has been part of McGill University’s Macdonald Campus since 1945. The trail network welcomes hikers year-round, who can choose to tackle the three-kilometre orange trail, the 1.6-kilometre red trail, or the 4.5-kilometre yellow trail. Each is suitable for all skill levels and also offer several activity options like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months.
Oka National Park
Approximate distance from Montréal: 60 km
Many Montréal locals pinpoint Oka as one of the closest beaches to the city. But Oka National Park also has five hiking trails that range from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’. The longest takes you through miles of silver maple forest, with a round trip stretching 11.8 kilometres. For beginner hikers, the Calvaire d’Oka trail runs for 4.4 kilometres and rewards visitors with a panoramic viewpoint of three historic chapels (which have been there since 1742!) This environmentally protected area borders the Lake of Two Mountains and is home to several special status plants and thousands of migrating birds.
Vallée Bras du Nord
Approximate distance from Montréal: 237 km
For a longer road trip, visit Vallée Bras du Nord—one of the most extensive networks of hiking trails in Québec located in the municipality of Saint-Raymond. Adored for its impressive waterfalls and scenic viewpoints, here you’ll find more than 80 kilometres of marked beginner, intermediate and expert level trails, accessible all year round. Among the most spectacular, the Cliff Trail takes you to the magnificent Cape Bédard, providing panoramic views of the valley. If you’re short on time, you can choose instead to hike the Bras-du-Nord Trail, where you’ll reach Delaney Falls and cross the Bras-du-Nord river via a suspension bridge.
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