Snowshoeing is the perfect winter activity. All you need is winter clothes and a pair of snowshoes, and you can venture along trails that would otherwise be inaccessible until spring melt. So tap into your sense of adventure and check out these 10 trails near Montreal for a snowy outing.

photo© Les amis de la montagne

Parc Nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques

Length: 5 kms of snowshoe trails
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Rating: Easy

No need to travel far when you can simply head to Parc Nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, Montreal’s largest park. This wilderness setting is where the Lac des Deux-Montagnes and Riviere des Prairies converge, so as you snowshoe through the powdery snow, you'll be treated to wonderful views. If you get a bit peckish while playing in the snow, there’s a snack bar and vending machines and on the weekends, there’s a sugar shack where you can get a traditional maple taffy. Snowshoe rentals are available.

Where can I find this trail: Take route 40 westbound to exit #49.


Ile-de la Visitation Nature Park

Length: 8.6 kms of showshoe trails
Time: Various
Rating: Easy

If you’re a history buff, check out this historical park on the Riviere des Prairies in North Montreal. The trails wind along the river, through the woods and past the ruins of an old mill, which has status as Canada’s first industrial site. There’s an on-site bistro and a visitors centre where you can rent snowshoes, so all you need to bring are your warm winter clothes. Trails are maintained from December 15 to March 10, and there’s a parking fee.

Where can I find this trail: Take route 40 and exit at #73. 



Morgan Arboretum

Length: Trails vary from 0.9 km to 5.4 km
Time: 1 - 3 hours
Rating:  Easy

You’ll feel like you’re in the wild at this 245-hectare forest on the McGill University Campus. Because this is a conservation reserve, you must stay on the designated trails to minimize your impact on the environment. There are several trails for different abilities (a trail map is available), and a day pass (a nominal fee which includes parking) allows you access from 9 am to 4 pm. 

Where can I find this trail: Westbound, take exit 41 for Saint-Anne de Bellevue and to Chemin Sainte Marie. Turn left on to Chemin des Pins and drive straight to the Arboretum Gatehouse.


Parc Maisonneuve

Length: 5.1 kms of snowshoe trails
Time: Various
Rating: Easy

This urban park in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie neighbourhood of Montreal allows easy access to nature. As you buckle up your snowshoes, it won’t be hard to get into a festive winter mood, as it’s also home to an outdoor ice skating rink and 8.7 kilometres of cross-country skiing trails. Vending machines with food and drink are available.

Where can I find this trail: 4610 Sherbrooke Street East

More info:


Mount Royal Park

Length: 3 km
Time: 1 hour
Rating: Easy

This famous mountain in the heart of Montreal offers incredible views of the city. Although it's always busy, the trails are much more peaceful in winter. Rent some snowshoes and head out solo or join a guided daytime or nighttime trek. Finish your outing with a steamy hot chocolate or mulled wine at a nearby restaurant.

Where can I find this trail: Take Camillien-Houde from Mount-Royal to either of the two parking lots on the mountain.


photo© Les amis de la montagne, Samuel Montigné

The Marsh Trail (Le Marais)

Length: 14 km round trip
Time: 4 hours
Rating: Difficult

For something a little more strenuous, make the drive from Montreal to Parc National d’Oka. Rent some snowshoes at Le Littoral Visitors Centre, then set out on this challenging trail. You can also join evening snowshoe outings with a naturalist park warden at the Calvaire d’Oka site.

Where can I find this trail: Depart from Le Littoral Visitors Centre.


L'Hermine Trail

Length: 3.7 km
Time: 2 hours
Rating: Easy

A quick drive from Montreal brings you to  Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno, an urban wilderness filled with five lakes, an orchard and a historic mill. Wind your way along this easy trail through the woods before stopping in a heated shelter to warm up. The park is also open some evenings until 9 pm from January through early March, so bring along your headlamp and explore the moonlit trails.

Where can I find this trail: Depart from Parking Lot #3.



Le Panorama and La Carriere Loop

Length: 2.4 km roundtrip
Time: 1.5 hours
Rating: Easy

Trails on Mont St-Grégoire were built by a local ecological association formed to protect the natural environment. This loop will take you through maple groves (the mountain is famous for its sugar shacks) and oak groves, and on a clear day you can see Montreal, Vermont and the Adirondacks. Wildlife is plentiful, so if you’re lucky, you might gimpse a red fox or white-tailed deer. There are snowshoes for rent. Check the schedule for guided activities.

Where can I find this trail: Depart from the parking lot.



Mekinac Trail

Length: 11 km
Time:  5 - 6 hours
Rating:  Intermediate

La Mauricie National Park is a bit further afield, but with its beautiful forests and more than 150 lakes, it’s worth the road trip. This trail follows the Saint Mauricie River and then steeply climbs to Rosoy Lake Lookout, the perfect spot to sit and sip your herbal tea as you ogle the stunning views. Barred owls are common here, so listen for some hoots. Snowshoe rentals are available.

Where can I find this trail: Depart from the Mekinac parking lot.



Grand-Riviere Trail

Length: 4 km
Time: 2 hours
Rating: Easy

Approximately a 45-minute car ride from Montreal brings you to the five little islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River that make up the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville. This flat trail takes you along the banks of La Grande Riviere and into the interior of the island, next to the Petite Riviere Channel. Watch for white-tailed deer in this peaceful setting.

Where can I find this trail: Depart from the Ile Saint-Marguerite parking lot.



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