Gault Nature Reserve of McGill University, Chemin des Moulins, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC, Canada
Driving time from Montreal
Species of wild animals, birds, reptiles and butterflies
Trails to explore
Entering a nature zone
Even though it’s not far from the city, it’s important to remember that the Gault Nature Reserve is – as its name implies – a nature reserve. Get to know the 7 tips for being a responsible hiker so you can leave things wild for the next hikers coming through (and your #adventuredog will need to stay home for this hike).
Once you arrive
Parking is near the entrance of the nature reserve by the trailheads. If you’re looking for more of a challenging workout, try either of the two trails that lead to the Rocky Lookout. You’ll also find a designated place to eat there, but feel free to pack snacks and drinks and enjoy a picnic near Lac Hertel. Keep an eye on the time: the park closes one hour before sunset.
Call the Nature Reserve at 1-450-467-4010 to find out the trail conditions for the day.
Way up high
The Gault Nature Reserve can be a bit of an uphill trek, but the views from the top are worth it. Much of the park centres around Mont Saint-Hilaire, a hill whose slopes are more than 400m in height.
While both routes to the Rocky Lookout will have you hiking for a solid hour and a half, none of the trails are too strenuous. Just remember that since the purpose of this park is to preserve old woodlands, management of the land is kept to a minimum. That means the trails can be narrow and hilly and are often strewn with roots, sticks and leaves.
After your hike, find a place to refuel. Depending on if apples or grapes are more your style, you can pop by a nearby orchard for a refreshing treat, or sip a glass of wine in the foothills of Mont Saint-Hilaire. There are more than ten different types of apples to sink your teeth into one at Croquez Mont-Saint-Hilaire (depending on the time of year), or you can toast to your hike at Vignobles les Murmures (provided you’ve arranged transportation, of course).