Tranquil forests, beautiful views, and snowsport adventures — Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook offers a winter season full of outdoor activity.
In the Eastern Townships’s picturesque Coaticook River Valley, winter is a beloved season where spirits rise while the snowflakes fall. The area is known for having the longest suspended footbridge in North America as well as the dazzling Foresta Lumina experience (both available during warmer months). But in the winter, the park has winter hiking trails, snow scooters and dogsledding, a skating rink and outdoor escape game.
Activities for everyone
With a blanket of white spread across the valley, rose-cheeked visitors who come for the day or stay for the weekend can enjoy a winter playground. The park offers 6.5 kilometres of winter hiking trails; bring along your leashed dog for a walk under the trees and across bridges. And for a fun challenge, the whole family can solve the mysteries of The Legend of the Liéri — an outdoor escape game on the hiking trails. There are five stations along the five-kilometre trail to help in you on your quest. But you must bring along a smartphone with LTE data.
Snowshoes and snow scooters
There are more than 21 kilometres of snowshoeing trails with five levels of difficulty.
If you’ve never tried a snow scooter, now’s your chance. This Scandinavian mode of transportation is increasingly popular in Quebec and is a fun and different way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Parents can add a small seat with supports to give from 1 to 5 a place to chill while an adult propels the scooter. And if you’ve got a strong and willing dog partner, you can rent a dog harness and try skijoring. The 3.5 kilometre multifunctional and relatively easy trail is a great location to try out this unique sport. Snow scooters must be rented in advance online.
Visitors who have purchased a pass to winter activities can enjoy a large ice rink. After skating, grab a warm coffee or hot chocolate from the nearby reception desk.
And if you have your own fat bike, bring it along and try out the 17- kilometre pathway that winds its way along the hills.
Unique winter experiences
Thrill seekers can inquire about ice climbing. The park has eight climbing walls with heights between 25 and 50 metres, which are accessible to beginners and experts. Visitors must have a daily admissions pass to try out this activity. Check out the rules and regulations in advance. For an introduction (including access, equipment, and a guide), contact Chamox, the company offering ice-climbing initiation classes.
Got a need for speed? From Feb. 25 to 28, 2022 visitors will be able to see the snowy wilderness like never before as they’re pulled on a sled behind a team of 10 energetic pups. Choose between being a passenger or driving the dog sledding team. Now that is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The view from the dog sled at Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook
Hop into the car for the 15-minute trip to the nearby Parc Découverte Nature, where families can learn about and experience ice fishing. The entry fee includes fishing rods and bait. Employees help install bait, remove caught fish, and answer questions. The fee also includes winter hiking on the Moulins trail (an easy 3.5 kilometres), and access to the indoor interactive Acoatica survival game. Places are limited and reservations are required 24 hours in advance.
For an even more memorable trip, stay at one of the winter accommodations available at the park. Tent campsites are accessible by car and located near the campground’s main entrance, showers and restrooms. Two, well-equipped shelters are nestled in the trees and have extras like a small fridge, dishes, outdoor BBQ, and more for an easy escape into nature. And for those wanting something in between tent camping and a chalet, the Imago tents are perfect compromise with futons, a small BBQ, table and chairs.
Before you go
Visitors can rent snowshoes and crampons on site. Snow scooter rental is only available online. Bring your own sleds, skates, and fat bikes. After arriving at the park, visit the reception area at 400 St-Marc St., Coaticook, J1A 2M3, before going on the trails or starting an activity.
For more information, visit gorgedecoaticook.qc.ca