Keeping active is relatively easy in Montreal and, as city dwellers, we are fortunate to have many ways of staying fit. From the underground shopping maze that provides hours of walking enjoyment to great sites like Old Montreal, there is no shortage of places to take in a brisk walk.
Every once in a while though, I feel the need to lace up my running shoes or a pair of hiking boots and really put some miles in. Here is a list of 5 places in and around Montreal where you can satisfy your need for speed and work up a sweat at the same time:
Credit: Habiter Montréal
If you don’t own a car but would like to venture somewhat out of the city, hop on the Metro’s Green Line and get off at the last stop westward, Angrignon. Almost immediately, you can enjoy 10 km of walking trails that surround a centrally located pond. I’ve heard you can still hear the traffic in the distance, but a trek through this tranquil green space will give you a sense of calm while getting your heart rate up.
2. Mount Royal:
Begin your hike up any hill from downtown, and you will eventually find yourself revelling in the pain from exerting mega muscle power climbing countless stairs to the park. The highest spot in the city is found in this 200-hectare park and the 22 km of footpaths and roads will lead you to Beaver Lake if you want to take a breather. If you still have the energy, continue your workout and hike to the cross. Here you can observe a plaque, which marks the spot where a time capsule is buried, set to be opened in 2142.
Credit: Lorraine Deslauriers
Situated in the north end of the city, this park offers some pretty densely wooded areas that are optimal for the avid hiker. The Rivière des Prairies provides a picturesque landscape as you explore the variations in terrain. Wildlife, birds and aquatic species are in abundance–allowing you to appreciate the fact that you’ve left the city. Be sure to pack your bug spray and extra water bottles for rehydration because you certainly won’t want to cut short your time here.
Credit: Québec Original
Your desire for a strenuous hike can be appeased in this location that is easily accessible by car. Bordering on Lake of Two Mountains, Oka Park is an environmentally-protected area. Several special status plants and numerous historical sites are found here. Before heading to the trails, stop at the Grande Baie visitors station to pick up a brochure for self-guided hikes. Set out on the easy Calvaire d’Oka trail to see the historic Stations of the Cross, or check out difficult terrain by traversing Le Sommet.
Take a scenic drive to the townships and encounter nature at it’s best. The hiking trails at this park are separated into three sectors. On La Gorge you can luxuriate in nature as you overlook the Coaticook River which charges its way through the rocks. The world’s longest suspended footbridge in the world provides your viewing station. It’s projected 50 meters over the gorge and is accessible after a 90-minute hike.