Quebec’s forests will soon start their autumn makeover and there’s no better way to experience the golden yellows and vibrant oranges than with a fall foliage walk through the woods.
Outdoor enthusiasts looking for a year-round nature fix can visit les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare nature park where a network of trails varying in length from 1.1 to 9.1 kilometres pass through sweet-smelling pines and dazzling maples.
We walked trail 1 when the kids were young and it was an easy hike for them and full of tiny toads hopping along in front of us. The paths are not very stroller-friendly and have some bumps and hills, so I would recommend a backpack-style carrier if you’re visiting with little ones. If you really want to do a stroller-friendly trail, you can travel the hard-packed gravel trail of the wheelchair-accessible R1. To reserve an all-terrain Hippocampe chair for this section, call ahead to see if one is available.
You can also take part in one of three rallies composed of questions to be answered along your walk. Trail R1 (1.1 km) features 12 nature-themed questions, Trail 1 (1,6 km) is titled “Enigma” with 25 questions, and Trail R2 (3 km) is named “Master” and also has 25 questions. The trail map which you can see online or at the beginning of the forest shows which paths have steep hills, and what areas have no cell phone service.
Activities for kids and events
Plan to spend a few hours at the nature park because there are more than just trees to see. On-site you’ll also find modern playground equipment, and a wood and rope obstacle course which both of my kids adored and travelled across multiple times. Some activities such as the climbing wall and archery are off-limits and only available for day camps and groups.
Throughout the year, the site also hosts concerts and events, including the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence’s The Walk taking place on September 12, 2021. For more information on how you can participate visit mspvs.org/la-marche
Know before you go
- There is an outdoor adapted portable toilet located at the parking lot from May to the end of October, or you can use the bathroom in the reception chalet which is open every day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Bring your masks to use inside buildings.
- Bicycles are not allowed in the nature park.
- Bring along bug spray, tons of water, and comfortable shoes.
- There are tons of picnic tables if you want to picnic at the park.
- Dogs are not allowed on the main site and are only accepted in the parking lot and along the trails. They must remain leashed at all times.
- During winter you can take part in activities including tubing, cross-country skiing, and skating. Follow the park’s Facebook page at facebook.com/lesforestiers to stay up-to-date on activities and events that are happening throughout the year.
- The site is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. except during the summer day camp weeks which end in mid-August.
Parking, access to the trails, and the playground and obstacle course are all free. To view the trail map visit lesforestiers.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/Carte-des-sentiers Visit lesforestiers.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/plan-your-visit/ for more information.
Parc nature Les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare
2800 Ch. Lotbinière, Saint-Lazare, J7T 3H9
450-424-8000, ext. 287
Related read: Explore Montreal’s large nature parks