This famous Eastern Townships destination about 1.5 hours from Montréal is always great for hiking, but in the fall—specifically on weekends from mid-September to mid-October—Mount Sutton features a ton of fall festival activities for all. Its altitude of 840 metres provides a great vantage point for fall colours. Try the Lake Mohawk trail in the Parc d’environnement naturel de Sutton—it’s a 3-hour hike with jaw-dropping views.
© Ian Roberge
Fall weekends at Owl’s Head, about 2 hours from Montréal, light up with lots of festive activities starting at the end of September. Check those out or just go for the stunning hikes: there are 4 trails on this Eastern Townships mountain ranging from 2.5 to 5 km long, with an exceptional panoramic view of Lake Memphremagog and Vermont in the distance.
This mountain 45 minutes from Montréal, in Montérégie, is amid the Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno: a national park comprising 5 lakes, an apple orchard, a tea shop, a historic mill and many more attractions. Make its gentle 213 metre ascension your destination for a hike, and take in its hundreds of species of fauna and flora. It’s particularly well-known for birdwatching.
This popular Montérégie hiking destination just over an hour from Montréal offers many trails, but the best is arguably Sentiers Jean-Baptiste-Jodoin. Located right by the famous Cidrerie Michel Jodoin orchard and cidery, this intermediary-level, 3.2 to 4.6 km trail is open to all year-round. It leads to a unique view of the surrounding orchards (this is apple country, after all!).
Trails on Mont Saint-Grégoire are managed by CIME Haut-Richelieu, an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of this Montérégie mountain’s natural beauty. After a mere hour’s drive from Montréal and a moderate 2.3 km hike you’ll access a panoramic view from the top, where you can see Montréal and Mount Royal, Rougemont, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, the mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks.
Just 45 minutes from Montréal lies Rigaud, a Montérégie village that leads to 9 hiking trails managed by the Sentiers de l’escapade, ranging from short-and-easy to longer, for a total recreation network of 27 km. The free trails are widely used all year round, for everything from hiking to fat-biking to cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Hike to the lava-rock top of Haut-Lieu for a panoramic view lush with red oaks and white pines.
© Myriam Baril-Tessier
This sprawling nature reserve covers a whopping 360 square km of beautiful verdant forests, hills and rivers, including 200 km of trails in all varieties of difficulty. It’s well worth the 2 hours’ drive from Montréal to discover Gatineau Park’s rich biodiversity, either on foot, by bike or by canoe—highlights include the Mackenzie King Estate, Champlain Lookout and Luskville Falls.
© David Richère
Under 2 hours away from Montréal by car, Parc des Montagnes Noires de Ripon offers 17 trails covering a total of 25 km. Explore this 800-acre Outaouais forest by foot or bike—it ranges from the woodland environment of the Petite Nation to agricultural developments. Admire the Petite Nation valley from the top of the 12-metre observation tower at the summit lookout on Mont Grand-Pic, 426 metres above sea level.
© David Richère
Home to the Réserve écologique de la Forêt-la-Blanche nature reserve, this area in the Outaouais is a 2-hour drive from Montréal. Discover one of North America’s most ancient forests, including some 400-year-old trees, along 12 km of mostly easy or intermediate trails—perfect for a family activity day! The 2.3 km Bullfrog Trail is a lovely loop featuring a small waterfall and a floating boardwalk. In the fall the colours are simply spectacular.