Canadians are truly blessed because they have the best of both worlds. Their cities are renowned for fine cuisine and vibrant culture, yet only a short drive from the city smoke you find yourself deep in pristine wilderness areas. There are scenic mountains, beautiful woodland trails, and fantastic rivers and lakes.
Take the city of Montreal. Once the capital of the Province of Canada, Montreal boasts many fascinating historic structures and modern museums within its historic district. However, the rolling Laurentian Mountains are located just to the north, and the rivers, lakes, and backwoods of Québec offer many excellent campsites and opportunities for hiking adventures. In the summer, campers can enjoy hiking, biking, river rafting, and paddling. During winter, the region boasts many popular ski resorts and first-class facilities for other winter sports.
Whether you’re planning a backcountry hiking adventure, a traditional tent camping experience, or a luxurious RVing weekend with full hook-ups, Montreal and Québec have all you need for a fantastic hiking and camping adventure.
The Lachine Canal Path
For visitors who wish to enjoy hiking without leaving the city, there is the Lachine Canal Path. This 9-mile trail is easy and flat, making it ideal for family strolls. The trailhead is at the Old Port of Montreal, and the trail passes through Lachine, Lasalle, and the Sud-Ouest. Locals often make a stop at Atwater Market to purchase fresh fruit to eat along the way.
Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno
Within easy reach of Montreal, Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park is a fantastic place to enjoy the Great Outdoors. The scenic 5.5-mile Sentier des Lacs Loop Trail enables you to view all 5 lakes in the park within a 2-hour hike. There are around 18 miles of easy to intermediate difficulty hiking trails within the park ready for you and your family to explore. You’ll find Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park 15 miles to the east of Montreal.
Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville
If you don’t want to wander too far from the city for a camping adventure, the Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville is a mere 30-minutes-drive from Montreal. The park consists of 5 islands in the Saint-Lawrence River. The campsites are located on Grosbois Island, which is accessible by ferry or by bike via the park’s 13 miles of trails. Campers come here to enjoy nature, hike, bike, kayak, and fish.
Parc National d’Oka
Just an hour’s drive to the west of Montreal, you’ll find Oka National Park. This is a perfect location for family beach camping. Visitors love to swim, kayak, sail, and cycle in the park. The park also features the unique Oka Calvary Trail, which takes visitors on a pilgrimage to 7 chapels on the hills within the park along a route established by the Sulpician Order in 1740. You can camp on the beach, at a glamping site, or a full-hook-up RV campsite.
La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve
La Vérendrye is the biggest nature reserve in Québec and ideal for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the wilderness. There are 4,000 lakes, multiple rivers, and two important reservoirs. It is Québec’s destination of choice for wilderness camping and canoe camping. There are over 500 miles of interconnecting water trails enabling you to kayak from campsite to campsite through the reserve.
Across the reserve are over 1,252 campsites and 39 vacation cabins. The campsites are especially popular with people who want to go hunting or fishing in the wilderness. The many trails through the reserve are excellent for backcountry hiking in summer and snowmobiling in winter.
Parc National du Mont-Tremblant
The Mont-Tremblant National Park boasts 400 lakes and six large rivers, making it a prime destination for water sports enthusiasts. If mountains interest you but you are not an experienced climber, Mont-Tremblant boasts the Via Ferrata du Diable, which winds along the Vache Noire rock face. A via ferrata is an established climbing route with fixed cables, rungs, or ladders to assist you along the way.
Around a 1½-hour drive from Montreal, the park boasts over 1,000 campsites alongside a Huttopia glamping camp and vacation cabins. Campsites nearer the park entrance are accessible by car and offer a wide range of services. Campsites deep in the backwoods are only accessible by canoe or on foot.
The park is a prime spot for hiking through scenic maple groves and forests of white ash, beech, aspen, and yellow birch trees, soaking in the beauty of nature. Backcountry camping in the park provides you with the opportunity to observe one of the 5 wolf packs that mainly hunt beaver, deer, and moose. Just ensure that you pack your backpack lightly for a comfortable day of hiking.
Sommet Morin Heights
If you want to retain your creature comforts while hiking in the countryside, the Sommet Morin Heights Ski Resort in the Laurentians offers RV campsites with full hook-ups, well-equipped tent campsites, and log cabins. It is also a 1½-hour drive from Montreal. The winter skiing is excellent, but in the summer you can enjoy a canopy zipline tour, play mini-golf, splash in the water park, and hike along the mountainside.
Chemin du Terroir
Serious hikers will love the 140-mile Chemin du Terroir signposted hiking trail. This trail explores the farmlands, heritage, and history of the Basses-Laurentides and Argenteuil regions. Walk along country backroads and byways to experience a side to Canada that most visitors miss out on. If you are not interested in camping, you can stay in farmhouses along the route and get to know the local people.
Route des Belles-Histoires
As the name suggests, this is the long-distance hiking trail to take if you’re particularly interested in the history of the Laurentides region. The 176-mile-long Route des Belles-Histoires runs along Highway 117 and Le P’tit Train du Nord linear park. The route recreates the journey taken by early settlers in the area and passes more than 60 sites of historic interest, including museums and carefully restored train stations.