Magical skating trails near Montreal

Rather than going around in circles on a rink, many people are enjoying one of the many spots where you can skate along a path through nature

skating trails growing in popularity

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For many Montrealers, one of winter’s great pleasures is to get outside, lace up some skates and enjoy some physical activity with family and friends. Estimates are there are more than 300 outdoor skating rinks in Montreal and surrounding communities but there are other places to enjoy this pastime in a magical, country setting.

Skating trails have become increasingly popular in recent years; instead of circling round and round, you follow a winding ice path. However, remember to check ice conditions before you go as a spell of rain or a brief thaw may lead to closures. It is also important to go over each location’s COVID-19 rules and regulations regarding vaccination passports and masks.

Skating trails growing in numbers and popularity

If you’re up for a day trip, here are a few skating trails to explore not too far from Montreal:

La Domaine de la Forêt Perdue (Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel)

This picturesque forest skating trail was one of the first to open in Quebec. It all began when beekeepers Jean-Pierre Binette and Madeleine Courchesne flooded a small section of woods on their property so their young children could skate. It wasn’t long before so many friends wanted to come try it that they opened it as a secondary business. That was back in 1997. Today, it’s a major attraction at La Domaine de la Forêt Perdue, and staff even train others who want to open skating paths.

The property, about 130 kilometres from Montreal, offers 15 kilometres of iceways through the forest — some of it lit for night skating. Skaters can also see farm animals such as goats, sheep, ducks, deer, alpacas, and even an ostrich. Admission is $22 per adult and $20 per child. While reservations are not mandatory, they are strongly suggested to simplify your check-in.

For more info, visit the website domaineenchanteur.com

 

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Countryside Adventures (Moose Creek, Ont.)

You’ll find this winter wonderland about 90 minutes west of Montreal, in the tiny town of Moose Creek. Visitors can enjoy a three kilometre skating trail through the woods and a three kilometre snowshoe and cross-country skiing trail. Skate, snowshoe, and helmet rentals are available and the trails through the forest are wheelchair accessible and open to strollers. While there, grab a bite to eat at the food truck and have a ride on the 30 foot high, 300 feet long tubing hill (tubes provided).

For all details, hours, and pricing, visit countrysideadventures.ca and follow their Facebook page for up-to-date snow and ice conditions.


Patinage en forêt (Lac-des-Loups)

Travel a picturesque three kilometre ice trail through nature while breathing in the fresh crisp air. Visitors can also snowshoe or walk (equipment rental is available in limited quantities). The site is open every day from 9 a.m. until sunset. A heated outdoor sanitary block and a snack bar with takeout services is available. For an extra-special outing, take part in an Evening by Torchlight from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., by reservation only.

For pricing, ticket info, hours, and COVID-19 regulations visit patinageenforet.com

 

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Éco-Odyssée (La Pêche in the Wakefield area)

New this year, five kilometres of water canals in the Éco-Odyssée Nature Park have been developed into natural skating trails, making a huge maze of interlocking ice trails. Depending on weather conditions, between two and five kilometres will be open, and 1 kilometre is lit up every evening. You will also find snowshoe and hiking trails, a food truck, and sanitary block. Skating is available from Thursday to Sunday until March 6, 2022. Make sure to check out Thursday’s themed evenings where you can skate to rock from the ’80s & ’90s, country music, or love songs with that special someone. 

Reservations and information at eco-odysssee.ca

Érable Rouge (Saint-Valère)

Open every day from 10 a.m. until dark, this sugar shack invites visitors to skate the more than five kilometres of trails through its forests. Trails are maintained by Zamboni and the view is beautiful. Skates and children’s skating supports are available to rent on site.

For prices and more information visit erablerouge.com

Centre-de-plein-air-Ronald-Beauregard (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu)

Visit this enchanting skating and hiking trail crisscrossing that crisis crosses the Centre-de-Plein-Air-Ronald-Beauregard. There’s music and lovely views of the Richelieu River. Access is free and open to all.  Service hours for the heated chalet are Monday to Friday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is also possible to skate outside of these hours. This winter, La Route de Champlain will offer the rental of equipment such as skates, snow scooters, snowshoes, and skating aids.

For information, call 450-357-2157 or visit sjsr.ca



Joliette Skateway (Notre-Dame-des-Prairies)

You’ll find the longest river skating trail in Quebec about an hour north of Montreal on l’Assumption river in Joliette. Access is free, and dogs are allowed on leash, but there are no skate rentals or nighttime illumination. Two pavilions with lockers and washrooms are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. As of January, 9, 2022 – the skateway was not yet open, but preparations were well underway and the rink will be full length this year — nine kilometres round trip!

Check the Facebook page to find ice conditions before heading out.

Bois de la Belle-Rivière (Mirabel)

There’s no skate sharpening or rentals here, just a beautiful skating trail through the forest. You’ll also find cross-country ski trails, snowshoe or winter walking trails, tubing, and a rink. Access to the nature park is $7 per adult, $3 per child and $2 per dog. The trails are accessible Thursday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (depending on the weather). It is strongly suggested to visit the “info conditions” section of the website before visiting. Conditions are updated daily.

For more information, visit boisdebelleriviere.com

Magog Skating Trail (Magog)

This 2.8-kilometre skating trail borders Lake Mephrémagog, and features four loops with panoramic views and festive lights at night. Heated cabins at each end (Merry Point and Cabana parking lot) offer a place to strap on skates in comfort. Skating is free, however non-residents must pay for parking. Note that opening hours may vary without notice depending on weather and ice conditions.  To ensure compliance with health measures, the chalets are closed for an indefinite period, but it is possible to put on your equipment on the picnic tables located near the entrances.

For more information and to find ice conditions visit ville.magog.qc.ca

 

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Île-St-Quentin (Trois Rivières)

The two-kilometre ice skating trail isn’t the only attraction at this park. You’ll also find fatbiking, snowshoeing, a refrigerated rink, a skating oval, and walking trails. On-site you can rent fatbikes, skates, snowshoes, sleds, helmets, binoculars and headlamps. The Pavillon de la Rosalie is open with vending machines for snacks, cold and hot beverages, and is also where you can change babies or put on your skates.

See the site’s conditions at ilesaintquentin.com/conditions-des-activites and all information can be found at ilesaintquentin.com 

 

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Closer to Home

If you like the idea of skating on a path among the trees rather than in a typical rink, but you’re not up for a day trip, there are other options closer to home.

Arboretum Trail (1335 Lakeshore Drive, Dorval)

Just installed in January 2022, this new skating trail is open to all and winds 300-metres amongst the arboretum’s trees.
A platform and semi-closed shelter are on site where you can put on skates, but there is no heated chalet. 

Verger Labonté (Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot)

New in 2022, this popular apple orchard on the island of Île-Perrot is now offering an almost two kilometre skating trail through the trees and forest. Visitors can also try snowshoeing and take part in an outdoor escape room type game. It also offers gourmet treats, and on weekends there is soup, sandwiches, and hot drinks that you can enjoy around a bonfire.

Reservations must be made in advance at vergerlabonte.com/activites-hiver

 

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Pointe-du-Moulin Historical Park (Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot)

Cruise along the one-kilometre ice skating trail, which has been grown from last year’s 350-metre trail and now extends all the way to the scenic windmill on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. At night, the path will be lit up for a festive atmosphere. You can also strap on snowshoes and discover the 850-metre Coureurs des bois trail. There are no rentals available, so you need to bring your own skates and/or snowshoes. Hot drinks and snacks are available and local artists will perform at the Market Square from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday evenings.

The event runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from January 14 to February 20, 2022. Skating and snowshoeing is free for residents of Île-Perrot island, but non-residents must pay and reserve in advance. Read more about it here Skate and snowshoe at Ile-Perrot park

For full details and to reserve a date visit pointedesglaces.com

 

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Jean Drapeau Park (Montreal)

Until March 6, 2022 skaters can enjoy a new 500-metre long refrigerated and mechanically maintained Skaters’ Trail. The trail is accessible every day and lit up in the evening and will sometimes have DJs so you can boogie along the path. The huge park also hosts tons of other winter activities including snowshoeing, cross-country ski trails for beginners to more advanced, fat-biking, walking trails, a skating rink, a sledding hill, and even an ice-climbing wall.

For full details and rental info visit parcjeandrapeau.com or read more about it here Winter fun at Parc Jean-Drapeau

La Fontaine Park (3933 du Parc-La Fontaine Ave.)

Located in the heart of the Plateau, La Fontaine Park offers a green oasis for city-dwellers. In winter, the long winding pond at the heart of the park is transformed into a natural skating path bordered with trees bedecked in twinkling fairy lights at night. Kids will love the projections that are displayed on the ice of the Bassin des merveilles every evening at dusk. 

An on-site skate rental shop, Patin Patin, offers skate and snowshoe rental, blade-sharpening, and warm winter gear such as hats, hand warmers, and wool socks.  You can also bring along your toboggans as the hills around the park’s lake are a popular sledding spot. The park is open and free for all to enjoy.

Find all of the winter activities and a map of the park on the city’s website.

If you can’t make it to a skating trail, you can always discover a local skating rink this winter.