Sally Watson

Quebec

The Laurentian Mountain region offers nature lovers an array of outdoor activities throughout the year. There are few travel destinations, which can be relied on to be stunningly breathtaking in any season. Quebec’s Laurentians is surely one of these.

Les Laurentides, as they are known in French, are less than two hours drive north of Montreal. Famous landmarks in this regional area of Quebec are the ski village of Mont Tremblant and the national park of the same name, which is situated north of the town. During spring and summer, visitors can enjoy scenic hikes, camping, fishing, swimming and canoeing on pristine lakes. In autumn the environment stuns with the changing fall colours of the landscape whilst in winter the region delivers a true Canadian ski experience.

I was there in summer on a road-trip from Montreal. This proved to be a perfect time of year to appreciate the majestic natural views for which Canada is renowned and to witness mountain forests in all their lush green glory.

Val David is about eighty kilometres north of Montreal and a forty-five minute drive south of Mont Tremblant. It’s a quaint small town, which is less touristy and expensive than the Mont Tremblant resort, and makes a great base in this region. Val David offers an authentic Quebecois village experience, with the advantage of a few restaurants, a number of charismatic cafes and a comprehensive supermarket. Known for its artisans, along Val David’s main street you’ll be able to discover some local arts and crafts. A picturesque small river, Rivière du Nord, runs along the edge of township, as well as a 200-kilometre cycleway and walkway, P'tit Train du Nord, which offers scenic serenity. 

Quebec

From Val David, I took a day trip to Mont Tremblant. Here there is no shortage of action. The town’s vibrant boulevards are lined with shops, restaurants and bars.

For adventurous types there’s a wide range of summer activities in and around Lake Tremblant and the mountain such as: ziplining (5 ziplines over 4 kilometres, the longest in Quebec), a beach and tennis club, luge rides (a 3-wheel cart), mini-golf and mountain biking on some 50 kilometres of trails.

On most visitors’ agendas will be a trip on the panoramic gondola to soak up the area’s impressive natural environment. At the mountaintop there are birds-eye views of the region’s lakes, mountains and forests. Energetic hikers walk up and down instead, although I justified that with the increased elevation of the gondola, I might get more exceptional views. 

Quebec

At the nearby Mont Tremblant National Park, there is a wealth of outdoor adventures to put a spring in every nature lover’s step.

Covering an expansive 1500 square kilometres, the park is largely made up of pine, birch, spruce and maple forests with an impressive 400 lakes. It is a paradise in which to hike, bike, canoe, rock climb, fish, swim, or simply relish walking around rivers, lakes or to numerous lookouts and waterfalls. 

Quebec

If you are a wildlife fan, you won’t be disappointed with the park’s diversity – there are 204 species of birds, 46 types of mammals, 39 species of fish, 14 amphibians and 6 species of reptile.

It is possible to visit the national park’s highlights on a day trip, although due to its expanse, don’t be fooled into thinking that you will be able to see it all in one day. If you wish to stay in the park for the full experience, accommodation options include cabins or camping.

Quebec

Once back in town, you’ll be kept further entertained by festivals and concerts held around the region. During summer, Mont Tremblant hosts the International Blues Festival, the Wanderlust music and yoga festival, and an R&B music weekend. Sporting events such as the international Ironman, marathons and tennis tournaments are also a feature on the summer events calendar. At night, most of the Laurentian local villages hold free concerts, sometimes scenically located lakeside.

Mont Tremblant Quebec

In this region’s natural playground, there are endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. My summer stay was impressive and now I’m intrigued to revisit in autumn to enjoy the vast display of the forest leaves changing colours and in winter to experience the white wonderland and numerous snow activities.

There are not many places which offer such a comprehensive array of yearlong attractions, making the Laurentian Mountains a must visit on a trip to Quebec, no matter what time of year.

Things To Know

  • Hiring a car is the best way to see the region.
  • In Val David, stop for a drink or a meal at Baril Roulant, a restaurant and microbrasserie, situated on the river on Chemin de la Rivière.
  • There is limited phone service in the Mont Tremblant National Park.
  • Strong mosquito repellent is a must-take to the park.
  • Visit other local towns in the region such as Saint Saveur (between Montreal and Val David) and Saint Donat (outside the Mont Tremblant National Park).
  • Although the area is French speaking, most people speak English in the touristy spots.

Sally Watson Quebec

Sally Watson is an Australian freelance travel writer, journalist, photographer and editor of Wing Woman Adventures. Instagram: @wingwomanadventures Twitter: @wingwomanADV Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wingwomanadventures/

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.

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