No need to leave the city to experience the joys of winter. Montréal has over 200 km of marked trails that let you glide across vast open spaces that offer unsuspected beauty. The following trails are among our favourites. They provide varying degrees of difficulty, depending on your experience.
Before you set out, be sure to view the snow conditions on trails nearest you and in Montréal’s nature parks.
Closer to home
The advantage of cross-country skiing is that it can be practiced anywhere with sufficient snow cover. Don’t have time to leave the city? You can just as easily enjoy winter while staying close to home. And don’t be shy to bring your skis to a local park, which you can do as often as you like.
Cross-country ski trails for all levels
Parc Jarry’s 2.1 km trail is the perfect place for families and beginners. Speaking of first experiences, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, with its 9 km wooded cross-country ski trail, is ideal for beginners.
Parc Maisonneuve features a peaceful cross-country ski trail that’s just right for those who want to perfect their technique. Parc La Fontaine offers two trails with a total length of 3.9 km, running through the western portion of the park and the parc Jeanne-Mance offers one trail with a length of 1.3 km. Parc Angrignon offers 10.5 km of wooded trails with a view overlooking the frozen pond.
At parc Jean-Drapeau, space for beginner skiers is provided at Espace 67 (on Île Sainte-Hélène). A second 5.4 km trail is located on Île Notre-Dame.
Nature bursting with life, even in winter
Access to the outdoor gardens of the Jardin botanique is free. These are great places for bird watching while skiing.
At the eastern tip of the island, those who like wildlife will find the the Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies exciting. The park features 11 km of trails, and if you’re lucky you might spot a white-tailed deer. Further west, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard is teeming with birds of different species that perch on the feeders hung along the trail. The 14 km of marked trails at Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques are perfectly suited to family outings. It offers magnificent water views. Along the way, children and adults alike can observe the tracks left by the various animals that call the park home.
Discovering the river and its hidden corners
Spanning Lachine, LaSalle, the Sud-Ouest and Verdun, the 31.8 km of cross-country ski trails that make up the Grand Sud-Ouest offer spectacular views of the frozen river.
Art lovers are awestruck by Parc René-Lévesque, a true open-air museum. Wander its 4 km of trails while admiring contemporary sculptures created by renowned artists.
For a lunar atmosphere, head to the marked trails at Parc Frédéric-Back. Flat and almost devoid of trees, this park offers a vast landscape sheltered from the city lights, which makes it one of the best places in Montréal to observe the night sky.
Giving it all you have
Montréal’s iconic Parc du Mont-Royal has the advantage of offering a significant slope. The park’s 22 km of marked trails give intermediate cross-country skiers a chance to test their limits. Do you work downtown? Take advantage of the nearness of the mountain to surpass yourself on its trails.
Take the metro and get off at Angrignon station for a ski excursion in the park by the same name. The 10 km trail borders a lake and continues into the park’s wooded area.
Do you thrive on challenges? Some parks offer specially groomed trails for skate skiing. Put your cardio to the test by visiting one of four parks that offer this service: Angrignon (2.8 km), Mont-Royal (around 4 km), Maisonneuve (2.7 km), Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse (Camille area loop).
Cross-country ski lessons
Some parks offer cross-country ski activities and lessons. Don’t miss the opportunity to perfect your technique or learn the sport.
- Nature parks
- Parc du Mont-Royal
- Parc Jean-Drapeau
Location et prêt d’équipement
Cross-country skis can be rented at most nature parks.
Cross-country skis are available free of charge to all at Parc Frédéric-Back, on Saturdays and Sundays only, as well as throughout spring break.