When we first planned this trip, we contemplated the possibility of spending a few nights in Parc national de la Mauricie, which is located halfway between Montréal and Québec City. However, since half of that park was closed for construction, we decided to do a day trip in Parc national du Mont-Tremblant instead, and perhaps, a separate day trip in another national park near Québec City.
We chose to visit the park in early May after learning about the horrendous black fly season that typically affects areas in New France and New England between late May and mid June. Due to the unseasonably long winter this year, we didn’t encounter any bug problems simply because it was still too cold with lots of snow on the ground when we were there.
The 6-mile Le Centenaire trail that we wanted to hike was still closed for the season. After consulting with the park warden, we hiked the only 2 opened trails: 3.3-mile La Roche trail and 0.5-mile Les Chutes-Croches trail. These trails may be short, but they were challenging to hike because we didn’t have the proper footwear to traverse the snowy and icy trails. At times, the snow level was knee-deep. Nevertheless, we spent 4 hours in this quiet park.
On our way back to Montréal, we stopped by at the Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal and the nearby park to enjoy the late afternoon view of the Montréal skyline.
A couple of observations…
- While Parc national du Mont-Tremblant is a “national park”, it is technically a state park. Since the Québécois always consider Québec as a nation within Canada, this province has its own national parks maintained by Sépaq (instead of Parks Canada), national day on June 24 (instead of Canada’s national day on July 1), etc.
- Driving in downtown Montréal was challenging due to the traffic, flyovers, tunnels and detours. It seems like the whole city was under road constructions. It was supposed to be a 2-hour drive from Montréal to Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, but it took us 3 hours to get there due to the morning rush hour and the fact that we took a few wrong turns because the GPS device struggled to keep up with our exact locations.
- Since the law change in 2003, the province of Québec allows right turns on red except where prohibited by a sign. However, like in New York City, it remains illegal to turn right on a red anywhere on the Island of Montréal.