The difficult, almost vertical hike to the observation deck on the mountaintop was taking its toll on my knees. My heart was beating so hard that I thought it would just burst out of my chest. Every step was demanding more oxygen. My son kept on urging me to move and at the same time allowing me to take a respite every now and then.
A woman in a group descending from the top went flat on the rocky ground after getting tangled in a rock or a root of a tree. Having gone through this ordeal myself on a number of occasions while hiking in the winters, I could relate. For a few minutes there was panic as the woman tried to get up taking time and causing a bottleneck on the trail.
We were hiking on Sentier La Corniche of Secteur de la Diable, part of an 8.2 km series of loop trails of ‘intermediate’ difficulty, leading to an observation deck that offers a superb view of the Lac Monroe valley and the Mont Tremblant highlands.
Parc national du Mont Tremblant, is a quintessential Laurentian Mountains park and has three sectors. The two other being Secteur Pimbina-Saint-Donat and Secteur de L’Assomption.
Before we started for the National Park, we visited Mont Tremblant Village. Below, the family members are looking anticipatingly at the next adventure – Parc du national Mont Tremblant. This is a view of the north from Mont Tremblant (village/resort) showing Laurentian mountains and Lac Supérieur (Quebec). Tremblant’s North Side also gives an easy access to the Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. Covering 1510 sq. km, the park represents 20% of Québec’s protected areas.
Lac-monroe visitors centre
Since we were camping in the park, this is the first stop that we made, passing by several picnic spots earlier. The Visitors Centre comes on the left hand side of the road. There is a big parking lot, but it is always packed to capacity. This is because it is the launching area for many water based activities.
The Centre has a gift shop and also sells wood and camping paraphernalia here. We bought some souvenirs, campfire related stuff, etc.
Later, from a window outside, on the backside of the building, we rented a canoe for exploring Lac Munroe and its islands. The Centre has a big stock of canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and stand up paddle boards. They are never out of stock.
Several hiking trails of various levels of difficulty start from the Visitor Centre.
This was our second stop in the Park.
The Discovery Centre is at a walking distance north of the Visitor Centre. It has a bigger parking lot where we found parking space whenever we went there. Good information can be had here from the windows. We found the staff to be super-helpful.
There are exhibits showing the natural and geological history of the park.
Outside in the woods, there are figures of eastern grey wolves, a keystone species of the Park, which add to the beauty of the place.
Several hiking trails of various levels of difficulty start from the Discovery Centre.
camping at la bacagnole
After buying the fire wood and other itsy bitsy camping items from the Visitors Centre, we camped at our booked site at La Bacagnole, which is located 13 km from the Entrance and about 4 km from the Discovery Centre. This area included 48 rustic campsites which can accommodate all types of equipment. Drinking water and washrooms were available on site.
We had campfire going and had a picnic type gourmet dinner. The young one even found an opportunity here to watch his favorite shows on the computer.
La Corniche trail and access to La Boucle des Chutes-Croches multi-use trail were located nearby. We made use of these trails. Please read on.
Crémaillère beach, located on Lac Munroe in the Secteur de la Diable, is supposed to be a supervised beach where swimming is permitted. However, due to the pandemic, it was not supervised when we visited it. We made it our permanent daily stop because of the love for it by the youngest member of the family.
It comes 2 km north of the Discovery Centre on the left hand side of the road. Being one of the only two public supervised beaches in the national park, it did become crowded on the weekends, but never to the extent that we would get discouraged.
In the last but one shot below from the observation deck of La Roche, one can see the patch of the sandy beach toward the bottom left hand side.
The area right before the beach has a sandy area for volleyball where we also saw people playing Petanque. Washrooms and shower areas are close to the parking lot.
Canoeing at lac munroe
While the girls decided to be at the beach, the boys went for canoeing.
We rented out a canoe from the window behind the Visitor Centre. Our mission was to paddle the canoe along the shores of Lac Monroe and, in the process, observe several islands that are categorized as sanctuaries for the migratory loons.
However, in general, we found the lake to be quite busy with all muscle powered modes of sailing – canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, stand up paddle boards, etc.
It turned out to be a good adventure.
hiking to the observation deck of la corniche
Soon after we started our hike on this almost vertical incline, a gang of wild turkeys gave us a nice surprise.
A 3.4 km trail of ‘intermediate’ difficulty leads to La Corniche observation deck that offers a superb view of the Lac Monroe valley and the Mont Tremblant highlands.
Actually, a heads up is in order here – the trail is part of a loop that is 8.2 km long.
hiking on La Coulée
We hiked on this trail as the observation decks of La Corniche and La Roche are linked by it. This trail runs close to the mountaintop and is accessed via the La Roche or La Corniche trails.
hiking to the observation deck of la roche
This was comparatively an easier section of the three-part trails. La Roche offered yet another panoramic view of the glacial valley of Lac Monroe and the Mont Tremblant highlands.
Hiking on the Boucle-des-Chutes-Croches
After descending from La Roche, we hiked on this trail to return to our camping site at La Bacagnole.
The third picture shows the Observation Deck at La Roche from this trail.
This path can also be taken from Discovery Centre or Lac Monroe Visitors Centre on foot or by bike, around Lac Monroe all the way up to the Chutes-Croches (Croches Waterfalls) observation deck.
We took Belvédère des Chutes-Croches, from the Chutes-Croches parking area; 5 km north of the Discovery Centre to reach the small waterfalls.
We hiked for 1.6 km round trip from Chute du Diable parking area; 7 km north of Discovery Centre to observe this 30 meter waterfalls. On the way, we observed flora of the park as well.
hiking at lac chat
This is the first stop on the main road to the Secteur de la Diable. It comes on the right hand side.
The Lake has a parking lot and a beach in the far southeast corner that was occupied by a few groups from a campsite close by. However, I decided to hike on the 2 km long trail that offered easy hiking for observing flora and fauna. An unsuccessful attempt of hunting a prey (a young water strider) by a young giant water bug (last shot) kept me absorbed.
La faucille and the Barrage
La Faucille is a picnic stop as well as a location to launch your canoe in the La Diable river. It comes right after Lac Chat on the left hand side of the road. La Diable River flows by this location and there are several picnic tables.
One can see the barrage of Lac Munroe from here as well. There is a lookout to see the barrage from closeup that come right after La Faucille.
hiking at sentier de Le Lac-des-Femmes
The trail started near the Lac-Monroe Visitors Centre, toward the totems of Place du Centenaire.
I hiked alone on this short 3.1 Km trail, which was apparently a family-friendly loop that seemed perfect for beginners, except that I don’t think a beginner would feel better doing it all by himself/herself.
Did I say I was the only one on this trail. I hiked through a magnificent forest and was able to take in the views of the Lac des Femmes.
Camping at one of the several sites at Parc national du Mont Tremblant is the best.
For day use, there are several good quality accommodations near the Mont Tremblant Village. If your primary focus is to enjoy all the activities near the Village, select one of those expensive ones.
However, we stayed at and recommend Chateau Beauvallon near the Village/Resort for good value for the price. The family suite that we stayed in was spacious and had all the crockery available.
title of this photo essay
The title of this blog – ‘Parc national du Mont-Tremblant in Quebec – ‘A walk in the woods’ and ‘free solo’ for well over ‘127 hours’ – has been based on three Hollywood movies: (1) A walk in the woods is a Robert Redford and Nick Nolte starrer, which was based on a best selling, and my favorite, book by Bill Bryson, (2) Free solo, and (3) 127 hours.
Until our next blog, cheers! Be outdoorsy, embrace diversity, and support causes for the conservation of nature!