Mont Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, QC, Canada
Driving time from Quebec City
Trail length (one way)
What to bring
Le Sentier des Pionniers is one of the most direct trails that leads to the top of Mont-Saint-Anne. It’s possible to run up this trail in a reasonable amount of time (30 to 40 minutes) as long as you’ve got some skills, endurance and proper footwear. For spring and summer trail runs, pack lightly. A small running pack, water bottle, camera (or smartphone), watch and a pair of trail runners will be some of your must-haves as you challenge yourself to reach the top.
At ground level
Make your way past the colourful signpost directing you towards La Crete and Le Chemin des Belvederes. Tighten your laces, and start your warm-up run to loosen up your limbs as you saunter past the gondolas. Follow the trail as it slowly starts to ascend.
By the halfway point, you’ll have passed through the smoothest terrain of the trail, ignored the access points to the beach (because you’re not there to relax just yet) and made your way through the forest. The terrain gets trickier and you might find yourself breathing a bit deeper. You’ll find yourself in a forest, hopping from stone to stone and holding on to tree trunks as you pull yourself up the trail. Almost there.
If you’re looking for an excuse to catch your breath, there are two scenic viewpoints approximately 1.5km from the base (look for the “eye” signs).
Congrats! When you make it to the top of Mont-Saint-Anne, pull out your smartphone, set your camera mode to panoramic and snap away. The view from the top of the trail is wide-reaching and pretty epic. Make your way to the summit lodge where you can take off your trail runners to stretch your toes at a picnic table or hit the restrooms before you head back. Make sure you check out the observation area across from the summit lodge to get the best views from the top of Mont-Saint-Anne. After a rest, ride the gondola back down the mountain – you’ve earned it.