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Your first time… in a winter hut

Suggested circuits for new devotees

For a short excursion off the beaten path, if only to give you the impression that you’re a great winter adventurer, here’s our small selection of destinations where you can connect with the true nature of Quebec. On the agenda: a short hike down our snowy trails before catching some z’s in a hut. An experience you won't soon forget!

Parc national du Mont-Mégantic Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
Parc national du Mont-Mégantic Mathieu Dupuis | © Sépaq

Parc national du Mont-Orford

Well known for its splendid colours, Parc national du Mont-Orford also charms visitors with its snowy landscapes. To discover the park from a very different angle, Le Tour-de-l’Étang-aux-Cerises trail, accessible via Pékan and Lynx trails, will delight new devotees of longer hikes. This intermediate-level 8.4-km loop (about 3 hours to complete if you’re snowshoeing), involves a 95 m uphill climb and provides access to a magnificent lookout with a view of Étang aux Cerises and the Mont Orford mountain chain.

If you’re looking to spend the night on the trail, you can choose from La Cabane-à-Sucre (2 km from the departure point) and Le Castor huts (3 km from the departure point) on Lynx trail, as well as Le Vieux-Camp hut (1.2 km from the departure point) on Pékan trail. That way you can hop from one hut to the next if you want to stay two nights. Please note that La Cabane-à-Sucre hut is “dormitory” style, therefore more suitable for big groups.

In a nutshell:

  • Snowshoeing excursion
  • 8.4-km loop
  • Departure from Le Cerisier Discovery and Visitors Centre (Lac-Stukely sector)
  • Length: 2 days / 1 night
  • Short distance to cover
  • Baggage transportation service available ($)

Parc national des Grands-Jardins

If this is your first long-distance winter hike, Parc national des Grands-Jardins offers you an unusual circuit, which will reveal this protected territory from all sorts of  angles. Leaving from La Galette hut, you’ll travel among the dense trees of the boreal forest on snowshoes or backcountry skis. After a dream night at one of the Pointus huts, made entirely of roundwood, you’ll set off on the return trip as the forest suddenly opens upon a mountain landscape. The view at the mountain peak is simply wonderful, revealing an exceptional topographical transition that seems carved by hand.

In a nutshell:

  • Snowshoeing or backcountry skiing excursion
  • 11-km loop
  • Departure from La Galette hut
  • Duration: 2 days / 1 night
    • Day 1: Departure from La Galette hut to the Pointus huts (4.7 km – Intermediate level)
    • Day 2: Departure from Pointus huts to La Galette hut (6.3 km – Intermediate level)
  • Baggage transportation service available ($)
Parc national du Mont-Orford
Parc national du Mont-Orford Mathieu Dupuis | © Sépaq
Parc national des Grands-Jardins
Parc national des Grands-Jardins Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq

Parc national du Mont-Mégantic

Why not set off to conquer the stars during your introduction to long-distance winter hiking? This is what Parc national du Mont-Mégantic offers, with its trails requiring maybe a little more effort but which handsomely reward those who dare to try. Strap on your snowshoes at the Discovery and Visitors Centre in Observatoire sector and head to Grande-Ourse hut. After contemplating the stars all night (and catching some z’s to charge your batteries), you can spend the day exploring Mont Mégantic and Mont Saint-Joseph, and finally return to sleep at the old familiar hut. After this exceptional stay, you’ll return home starry-eyed and with enough memories to last a lifetime.

In a nutshell:

  • Snowshoeing excursion
  • Departure from the Discovery and Visitors Centre (Observatoire sector)
  • Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
    • Day 1: departure from the Discovery and Visitors Centre (Observatoire sector) to Grande-Ourse hut (2.2 km – Intermediate level)
    • Day 2: hike to Mont Mégantic or Mont Saint-Joseph and spend the night at the same hut. Distances and difficulty level vary depending on the hike.
    • Day 3: from Grande-Ourse hut to the Discovery and Visitors Centre (Observatoire sector) (2.2 km – Intermediate level)
  • Baggage transportation service available ($)

Parc national du Mont-Tremblant

At Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, you don't have to be an elite athlete to enjoy the pleasures of an outing on the snowy trails, combined with a sleepover in a hut. In La Pimbina sector, backcountry skiers can travel from hut to hut over short distances, while letting themselves be charmed by trails winding through the snow-covered trees. It’s this rustic and comfy character that creates La Pimbina sector’s winter charm.

In a nutshell:

  • Backcountry skiing excursion
  • Departure from La Pimbina Visitors Centre
  • La Pimbina loop (10.5 km total)
  • Duration: 2 days / 1 night
    • Day 1: from La Pimbina Visitors Centre to Le Lariou hut (via Le Geai-Bleu hut) (5.5 km –Uphill climb of 170 m – Easy level – Duration of 2.5 h)
    • Day 2: from Le Lariou hut to La Pimbina Visitors Centre (5.5 km –Descent of 170 m – Easy level – Duration of 2.5 h)
Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
Parc national du Mont-Mégantic Mathieu Dupuis | © Sépaq
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant Mathieu Dupuis | © Sépaq

Duchesnay

You can try winter hiking less than 30 minutes from Quebec City: this is the experience offered at Duchesnay. While exploring its renowned cross-country skiing or snowshoeing trails, new devotees can spend the night in the forest at La Détente hut (via trails 3 and 14 while cross-country skiing and trail no 58 while snowshoeing). During your second day outdoors, you can calmly venture down the nearby trails toward La Halte hut. After your second night under the stars, it’ll be time to mosey back to Horizon lodge and enjoy a hot chocolate, which is without a doubt the best in the world!

In a nutshell:

  • Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing excursion
  • Departure from Horizon lodge
  • Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
    • Day 1: from Horizon lodge to La Détente hut (8 km while cross-country skiing and 9 km while snowshoeing)
    • Day 2: from La Détente to La Halte huts (2 km while cross-country skiing and 3.5 km while snowshoeing)
    • Day 3: from La Halte hut to Horizon lodge (2 km while cross-country skiing and 3.5 km while snowshoeing)
  • Baggage transportation service available ($)

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