Things to do in Montreal

Hiking in Montreal: 15 Popular Hiking Trails

Enjoy Montreal hiking. Whether you stay close to the city or venture to a nearby national park, beautiful hikes exist for all skill levels.

Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. Watch birds echo the grace of our aerial performers. Catch squirrels mirroring the boundless energy of our athletes. Hiking is one of the best things to do in Montreal. Here are a few of our favorite trails and loops.

Circular Hiking Trails

Take a break from the bustle of the city with an enjoyable loop hike.

1. Mount Royal Park Loop

Just an acrobat’s leap away from the bustling city — about 5 kilometres (3 miles) away, to be exact — sits the enchanting Mount Royal Park Loop. This loop, which is free of charge, consists of around 8.5 kilometres (5 miles) of beautiful trails. It's moderately challenging, with hundreds of stairs and a nearly 207-meter elevation gain.

However, you'll find plenty of places to rest along the way, including landmarks and viewpoints. You can hike this trail year-round, but some sections of the loop can get muddy or icy at times. Be sure to bring proper footwear. Reaching the peak rewards you with views of Montreal that demand a standing ovation.

Due to Mount Royal’s proximity to the city, over 4 million people visit annually. You’ll have a fellow audience admiring the park’s beauty and the allure of nature in one of Montreal’s most expansive green spaces.

Photographer: Rich Martello

2. Bellerive Walk Loop

Discover a hidden gem that’s right in Montreal but feels like it’s a world away. The Bellerive Walk Loop sits within Parc de la Promenade-Bellerive, a long and narrow free urban park. This hike is a great option if you’re looking for things to do in Montreal with kids.

The mostly paved and flat trail invites you on an easy 4.6-kilometre (2.8 mile) stroll along the Saint Lawrence River. Meander in a tranquil setting and watch commercial shipping vessels glide gracefully en route to port.

After you’ve walked and strolled to your heart’s content, indulge in a sweet treat from the on-site ice cream shop. Relax with your snack in the large picnic area. And for those with acrobats-in-training, save time for the park’s colorful playground.

3. Round Top and Lake Spruce Loop at Mont-Sutton

If you’re ready to take on a challenging route, head over to Round Top and Lake Spruce Loop at Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton.

Although the hike is only 7 kilometers (about 4.5 miles), it packs a punch with a 439-meter elevation gain. But the climb is worth it, and if you make your way to the top, you'll be rewarded with amazing views. Stand atop viewpoints where the rolling hills and majestic peaks applaud you for your effort.

The trail is open year-round but puts on its finest show in the fall. That time of year provides ideal temperatures. And, of course, glorious autumn leaves burst onto the scene.

If you venture here during a chillier season, prepare for ice and snow on the trail. Getting into this natural wonder costs $8 for adults and $5 for students. However, anyone under 17 can attend for free when tagging along with a parent.

While there’s a ticket booth on-site, buying your ticket online in advance is wise. The park caps entries during peak visitation times. And yes, it’s absolutely worth the drive from Montreal (about 120 kilometers or 74 miles).

Trails

Montreal has plenty of amazing hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for a challenging route or a relaxing stroll, you'll find plenty of options in this magnificent city.

4. Sentier de l'Escarpement

Flex your exploratory spirit and enjoy a hike through fee-free Mount Royal Park in Montreal, where the Sentier de l'Escarpement awaits.

This charming trail offers a moderate hike that won’t leave you gasping for air. The elevation gain is friendly at less than 120 meters (393 ft.), but it’ll give your legs a bit of a playful challenge with hundreds of stairs.

Spanning 4 kilometres or about 2 and a half miles, this forested path features rustic paths, charming wooden bridges, and sneak peeks of the city through the trees. Bring proper footwear for snow and ice if you’re venturing out in the winter.

This trail showcases Mount Royal Park’s iconic highlights. You’ll make your way to Kondiaronk lookout, a terrace with stunning views of the city. Then, you’ll see the park’s famous Mount Royal Cross, a towering steel monument reaching for the skies on the northeastern peak of the mountain.

5. Little River Way Trail

Little River Way, which is free to visit, starts just a short walk from downtown. Although this trail is relatively flat, it's rated as moderate due to its length—a whopping 32 kilometres (19 miles) from start to finish.

The route follows the St. Lawrence River and offers beautiful views of the city skyline. There’s a bird sanctuary in the distance, so keep your eyes peeled for aerial acrobatics.

Pause a viewing platform to watch the boat traffic and marvel at Lachine Rapids. Along the way, picnic areas and beaches offer a place to relax, refuel, and dip your toes.

6. Rapides Park Trail

Montreal’s tiny oasis, Parc des Rapides, doesn’t charge an entry fee. Walk alongside the St. Lawrence River on the Rapides Park Trail. This flat hike, spanning 2.25 kilometres (1.5 miles), is considered easy. Prepare to be wowed by the scenic viewpoints, and bring your binoculars. Over 225 species of birds fly around this park.

You might catch the elegant ballet of egrets or the stoic stance of great blue herons fishing like pros. The park is home to Quebec’s largest heron colony. Be sure to bring lunch, as you’ll have your choice of many beautiful picnic spots.

7. Parc Jean-Drapeau Trails

Smack-dab in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau is a charming duo of islands with 25 kilometers (15 miles) of trails. Walk along river shores, meander through garden paths surrounded by lagoons, or enjoy a shaded walk under trees.

The park is an especially unique place to hike since it features public works of art along many of the trails. These creative works come from local and international artists.

Choose from numerous short stroll options or see it all with A Trail Through the Islands. This 10-kilometre journey is a VIP tour of the park’s art, natural habitats, and iconic spots. This hike is a great option if you’re looking for date ideas in Montreal. With over 50 points of interest, it gives you plenty of conversation starters.

Admission to the park is free, but be prepared to pay for parking.

Photographer: Shayan Ghiasvand

8. Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park Trail

Enjoy nature and history along the Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park Trail. Stretching 7.4 kilometres (4.5 miles), this flat, wide, and well-marked path is ideal for families and hikers of all abilities.

It meanders along the Rivière-des-Prairies, providing stunning views of the natural landscape. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch birds and aquatic critters strutting their stuff.

Hikers meet history buffs along the trail’s historical sites. See old mills and the Maison du Pressoir, filled with two old apple presses, an interpretive center, and artifacts. Access to this park is free, and it's open all year.

9. Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny Trails

Cheekily peeking out from behind Autoroute 25 in Montreal, it’s as if Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny is asking, “Highway? What highway?”

Enjoy serene sights and sounds as you traverse the flat and easy 3.3 kilometres (2 miles) of trails. As you meander, keep your eyes peeled for the local celebrities: ducks and herons. Furrier residents, including squirrels and rabbits, might dart across the trail. This escape into nature is open to all, free of charge.

10. Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies Trails

During the summer, Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies is your go-to spot for weaving through fields, getting lost (figuratively, we hope) in lush forests, and tiptoeing around marshes without getting your feet wet.

This large park is split into three sections: the Marais and Rivière-des-Prairies sector, the Bois-de-l’Héritage sector, and the Fleuve sector. In the heart of Marais and Rivière-des-Prairies, the Gouin Track shows off the park’s diverse ecosystems. It’s an easy and flat 4.8-kilometre trail with spectacular views of the Rivière de Prairies.

Whatever path you traverse, look to land and sky. A herd of white-tailed deer and over 180 species of birds call this park home. Admission is free, but parking isn’t.

11. Morgan Arboretum Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

Morgan Arboretum is within an hour’s drive from Montreal. Situated on the McGill University’s Macdonald Campus campus in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, the arboretum serves teaching and research interests. But for a small admission fee, the public is welcome year round.

This forest reserve features over 20 kilometres (12 miles) of trails meandering through tall trees, sprawling meadows, and plantations. For those wondering where to start their adventure, the Centre Road, also known as the Orange Trail, offers a perfect introduction, as it's an easy three kilometre (1.8 mile) loop.

A flat, wide, and well-maintained gravel path makes it perfect for families and those who prefer their hikes on the less strenuous side. In addition to the inspiring nature, you’ll also find benches with plaques designed to make you smile.

Photographer: Martin Reisch

12. Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno

About an hour’s drive from Montreal is a small national park that’s big on nature. Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno is known for its rich diversity of plant and animal life.

Explore mixed forests with a variety of trees, such as sugar maples and red oaks. Spot woodland creatures, such as white-tailed deer and chipmunks. Search the skies for birds, including hawks and warblers. Oh, and did we mention the park has five lakes?

Here, you can choose from dozens of trails that vary in length. The Sentier des Lacs hiking trail is a moderate hike, clocking in at about 9 kilometres (a little over 5 miles), with approximately 121 meters (396 ft.) of elevation gain.

There is a fee for this park. Since it’s a nature blockbuster, buying your pass ahead of time is a good idea.

13. Mont Tremblant

Mont Tremblant is the largest of Quebec’s ski resorts and is known as one of the best in eastern North America. But when the snow melts, it reveals its summer alter ego, a hiker’s dreamland about 90 minutes away from Montreal. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing nature path or a strenuous hike, Mont Tremblant has you covered.

As the trails crisscross the mountain, you’ll come across waterfalls, streams, and lakes. Check out the 360-degree lookout tower for unparalleled views of the Laurentian Mountains. Reach the tower via the 360 Trail, which is around 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long.

The trails are open and free of charge during the summer, although the gondola, which provides access to some of the trails, requires a paid ticket.

Photographer: amanda

14. The Gault Nature Reserve at Mont-Saint-Hilaire

On the slopes of Mont Saint-Hilaire, just outside Montreal, the Gault Nature Reserve is your ticket to 25 kilometres (15 miles) of trails. Whether you’re a leisurely stroller or a seasoned trailblazer, there’s a path with your name on it.

Wander beneath the canopy of sugar maples and American beeches. Let the yellow birches and eastern hemlocks guide your way. For those of you who fancy a bit of a tweet, the air is alive with the calls of woodpeckers and warblers and the majestic sweep of hawks and eagles.

It’s common to see white-tailed deer frolicking about and raccoons mastering the art of the photobomb.

The reserve is a living classroom operated by the brainy folks at McGill University. But you’re welcome to drop in as long as you snag a pass online ahead of time. This is one class you don’t want to skip!

15. Parc National de la Jacques Cartier

Parc National de la Jacques Cartier is a glacial valley with scenic mountains. The drive is a bit over 3 hours from Montreal, but the destination is worth every minute spent in the car.

With a network of over 100 kilometres (62 miles) of hiking trails, choosing the perfect path might just be the biggest challenge you’ll face — tougher than the steepest of hills. Do you want to meander along the banks of a river, challenge yourself on a climb to a vista, or wander through lush forests?

The L’Aperçu Loop is an easy 2.6-kilometre (1.6 mile) trail along the Jacques-Cartier River. If you're looking for something more challenging, the Éperon Trail is a moderate 5-kilometer hike. It climbs over 240 meters (about 787 ft.) and rewards you with fabulous views. La Mésange winds through towering maple trees on its manageable loop.

While you hike, look for the park’s wild residents, such as white-tailed deer, majestic moose, and industrious beavers.

Buy an entry pass online before you go. This place is so popular that they sometimes have to cap the number of visitors.

Photographer: Ali Kazal

Trail's End: Reflecting on Montreal's Hiking Adventures

There's nothing like a Montreal hike, but our shows are just as awe-inspiring. We'll take you on an adventure as our acrobats perform feats that defy gravity and ignite your imagination. It’s as if our performers took a leaf out of nature’s playbook, creating a visual feast that leaves you spellbound.

Like a breathtaking view from the summit of Montreal's mountains, we serve splendor in abundance. Immerse yourself in our compelling stories while our daring acrobats amaze you with their grace and strength. Get ready for a dynamic, pulse-pounding spectacle under the big top.

Nature might wow you with its panoramic views, but we'll dazzle you with literal leaps of faith. But don't take our word for it. Come see our shows in Montreal, and we'll show you.

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