Where Can I Find Adventure Near Montreal?
I’m planning a vacation to Montreal, and while I’ve heard lots about its urban charms, I don’t know much about its wilderness access. Where can I play outside within a couple hours of the city?
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Canada’s second-largest city is renowned for great food, historic neighborhoods, and a vibrant and varied urban life driven in part by stubbornly cheap rent. It’s also wedged into a sweet corner of the continent for outdoor adventure: Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York are all on its doorstep. But before you dip south of the border, give these made-in-Canada adventures a whirl.
Rafting the Ottawa
Hiking the Eastern Townships
Adventure Near Montreal: Mont Tremblant
A short hop north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is eastern Canada’s premier ski resort. And, like Whistler and other big-name spots, it’s transformed itself into a year-round outdoor hub. In summer, mountain biking, paddling, hiking, golf, rock climbing, and an aerial ropes course are all on offer, as is a Tremblant Iron Man. In winter, there’s downhill and cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and steaming outdoor hot tubs ringed with snow.
Adventure Near Montreal: Rafting the Ottawa
Just over the provincial border, the Ottawa River is home to some of the best North American whitewater east of the Colorado. It’s a big, broad river laced with islands and multiple channels made for different experience levels. Beginners are welcome, but the Ottawa has also hosted the freestyle kayaking world championships, so serious paddlers should find plenty to keep them occupied.
Several whitewater outfits operate out of the small town of Beachburg, Ontario, about three hours from Montreal. You’ll find everything from the standard one-day rafting trip to multi-day retreats, SUP lessons, and freestyle kayaking clinics.
Adventure Near Montreal: Hiking the Eastern Townships
Tucked away southeast of Montreal are Quebec’s Eastern Townships, or “Cantons-de-l’Est.” The area is home to some of Quebec’s excellent provincial parks, including Parc National du Mont-Orford, Parc National de Frontenac, and Parc National du Mont-Mégantic. Head to the last one and hike up the park’s namesake peak or Mont Saint Joseph for views of New Hampshire.
Adventure Near Montreal: Montreal Triathlon
It’s not what you think. The so-called “Montreal Triathlon” is the city’s trifecta of world-famous, mostly-not-so-healthy delicacies: Montreal-style bagels, poutine, and a classic Montreal-style smoked meat sandwich. They’re fatty, packed with calories, and totally worth it. Hit up all three, and then go forth and get some exercise.