Top 5 Cross-Country Skiing Trails in Montreal

Cross-country ski trails around Montreal | Opinion

Places in Quebec for Cross-country Skiing

With plenty of snowy weather still ahead of us, cross-country ski enthusiasts know that the ski season is still in full swing. With plenty of parks and trails to discover in and around Montreal, it’s the perfect way to make the most of the snow.

Mountain full of snow

Here Are The Top 5 Places for Cross-Country Skiing Trails in Montreal:

Amazing cross-country skiing Spots for experts and beginners alike.

1. L’Escapade, Rigaud

Less than an hour drive from Montreal, you’ll find L’Escapade in the city of Rigaud. L’Escapade is what’s known as a linear park, meaning it is significantly longer than it is wider. This makes for 27 km of incredible trails that don’t just take you in circles.

There are clearly marked trails for all levels, with some serious climbs and descents for the adventurous skier, as well as stunning views and separate paths for snowshoers to keep the ski trails from getting chewed up.

Further, L’Escapade has some of the best accommodations in terms of ski chalets and cabins and a waxing and tuning service for your skis. It’s all you need for the perfect cross-country getaway. You can even rent fat bikes and snowshoes if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous. It is located at Chalet d’accueil – Parc Chartier-de-Lotbinière, 15, rue du Boisé-des-Franciscaines, Rigaud, Québec, Canada, J0P 1P0.

Cost: free

Trees in the snow

2. Bois-de-Liesse, Pierrefonds

Bois-de-Liesse, at less than 30 minutes outside the city, is a nature lover’s delight. The heavily forested park with lush stream makes for a truly peaceful environment where even the air smells sweeter.

Enjoy 11.5 km of beautiful trails and cap the day off with a little apres ski at one of the two chalets with crackling fires.

The park also offers cross country ski courses for children and adults.

Cost: park access is free, but parking is $7 for 2 hours or $9 for the day

Moreover, Bois-de-Liesse has a few unique features that make it stand out. For one, they have an animal tracking program where you can discover which animals call this park home. And for another, they offer a snowshoeing night under the stars. A truly magical experience! It is located at 9432 Boul Gouin O, Pierrefonds-Roxboro, QC H8Y 1T4, Canada.

Bois-de-Liesse, Pierrefonds Ski

3. Mount Royal Park, Montreal

No list would be complete without Mount Royal park. Right in the heart of the city, you can access the park by car, public transportation or on foot.

Mount Royal’s ski trails are full of twists and turns, and ups and downs, so it’s ideal for the more seasoned cross country skier. If you aren’t that confident, or are new to the sport, the park offers ski lessons to help you develop your skills and conquer our beloved mountain.

Don’t have skis? You can rent equipment from the park rental center.

Cost: park access is free, but parking is… well, it’s city parking, so driver beware!

Additionally, Mount Royal has some of the best sledding runs in Montreal and is a great spot for snowshoeing as well. You can even grab a hot drink and snack from the Beaver Lake Pavilion before heading back out on your skis. It really is the perfect family activity! It is located at 1260 Chem. Remembrance, Montréal, QC H3H 1A2, Canada.

Trees and house in the snow

4. Botanical Gardens

Many people don’t know this, but the Botanical Gardens opens its trails to the public for cross country skiing every winter.

They only have about 3 km of trails on the grounds (which wind through the beautiful arboretum), but the trails connect with those of Maisonneuve park for about 10 total km of trails.

The trails are mostly flat, making it ideal for beginners and families, and it is truly a unique way to experience one of Montreal’s most stunning attractions.

Cost: park access is free, but parking is $12 for the day

Also the Botanical Gardens offer night skiing as well, making it a great spot to take in some stellar city views from a different point of view. This is also a great spot for snowshoeing! It’s a must-see. You won’t regret it. It is located at 4101, rue Sherbrooke Est Montreal, Quebec H1X 2B2.

trail in the snow between trees

5. Bois de l’Île Bizard

Though less than an hour drive outside the city, you should note that Bois de l’Île Bizard is simply not accessible by public transportation, so a car or cab is a must.

This densely wooded park is a bit of a hidden gem that has been described as truly breathtaking and also… creepy. Going from open wetland trails to dark, eerily quiet woods is quite an experience and, if you can make the trip, not one to be missed. Just make sure you don’t get caught there after dark ;-)

Cost: park access is free, but parking is $6 for 2 hours or $9 for the day

Furthermore, Bois de l’Île Bizard has a variety of trails, from flat and easy to hilly and challenging. It is also popular with snowshoers, so keep an eye out for them while you’re out on the trails. All in all, a great spot for cross-country skiing! It is located at L’Ile-Bizard, 2115 Chem. du Bord-du-Lac, L’Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève, QC H9C 1P3, Canada.

Sky view of cross country skiers

What Are Some Tips For Cross-Country Skiing?

Here are some tips to help you have the best experience possible while cross-country skiing:

1. Invest in quality gear. The right equipment will make a world of difference in how you feel out on the trails.

2. Get the right fit for your skis and boots, as a good fit can help you ski with more efficiency and less strain.

3. Start slowly and build up your speed over time. This will help you learn proper technique and make your skiing experience more enjoyable.

4. Stretch before and after skiing to reduce fatigue and help you move more efficiently.

5. Practice good trail etiquette by following the rules of the trail and staying to the right at all times.

6. Stay hydrated and energized by carrying snacks with you on the trails.

7. And lastly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! Stop along the way to take in the scenery and appreciate what you are doing.

Bottom Line

Montreal is a great place to be for cross-country skiers of all levels. From beginner-friendly trails to advanced and challenging options, there is something for everyone. So check out these spots and get ready to make some ski tracks in the snow! You won’t regret it.

Do you have a favorite cross-country ski location in the city? Share it with the Montreal Tips community in the comments! As avid skiers, we’ll likely check out your suggestions ourselves :-)


Where can I rent cross-country skiing gear?

Many of the parks mentioned in this article have rental centers where you can rent skis, boots, and poles. Alternatively, there are several outdoor stores in Montreal where you can rent gear as well.

What should I wear while cross-country skiing in Montreal?

It is important to dress warmly when heading out on the trails. Wear several layers of warm clothes that are breathable, and make sure to bring a hat and gloves. Waterproof boots or ski boots are also recommended. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to have sunscreen handy just in case the sun makes an appearance!

Why is Mount Royal a great place to cross-country ski?

Mount Royal is an excellent spot for cross-country skiing due to its variety of trails. With flat and easy trails, as well as challenging uphill sections, it offers something for everyone. Additionally, the atmosphere at Mount Royal can’t be beaten, as stunning views of the city and river surround it. And you can grab a snack before heading out on the trails!

Do you have a favourite cross country ski location in the city? Share it with the Montreal Tips community in the comments! As avid skiers, we’ll likely check out your suggestions ourselves :-)

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