An amazing hike that will bring you « from the Earth to the Sky »! Mont Megantic is located in the Dark Sky Reserve of the Eastern Townships of Quebec !
Mount St-Joseph is an intermediate hike located in Notre-Dame-des-Bois, near Megantic.
It’s a 8,5km loop hike with a 475m ascend that should take approximately 4 hours to complete.
From the parking lot, start your hike following the « Parcours du Soleil », a 1,2 km trail. This trail, will lead you to the first point of view of the day. The first viewpoint, even if not on the summit, is quite impressive itself. You’ll be surrounded by an infinity of mountains and valleys.
After a short stop, continue your way up to the summit of Mont St-Joseph by following the trail leading to the « Halte des Pelerins ». It’s the most difficult part of the hike, passing some steep and rocky hills. It sure is a challenge, but the hike is actually pretty short and the view is worth it. It should take 1h30-2h00 to reach the summit of Mont St-Joseph. From the top you’ll see the impressive Lac Megantic and even some mountains located in Maine, USA.
On the summit is located a small chapel that is open to public. There are also some picnic tables for you to enjoy lunch. During peak season, a guide should also be there to answer all of your questions.
Be careful, there is no water point on the mountain. Make sure to pack enough with you.
On your way back, follow the trail that leads to the « Col-des Trois-Sommets » for a longer hike. You can also follow the indications for the main entrance (« Accueil ») if you prefer to cut it short. Following the »Col-des-Trois-Sommets » trail it should take approximately 1h00-1h30 to reach the parking lot, even if the distance downhill is longer ; it’s way less steep.
Spend the night in the area to make the most out of your trip
After the hike, I suggest you to stick around for the stars observation night, which take place in the Astrolab located near the parking lot. It’s important to book in advance. Mont Megantic is located in the Dark Night Reserve ; there is not a lot of lightning pollution in the area. The nights are really dark and you can easily see the stars and even see the northern lights during summer (mid august is the best time for that!).
The activity begin at 19h30 and you’ll receive a lot of explanation regarding our solar system and the different scientific discoveries. There is also special activities for children. The main part of the night is the stars’ observation. As for us, we weren’t lucky and it was raining the night we went so we couldn’t see the stars. Luckily enough, our guides offer us to observe the moon thru a giant telescope instead.
There is plenty of sites were you can do camping in the park. You can either do traditional camping, rent a space in a refuge camp, rent a chalet or a Huttopia tent. My friends and I chose the last option for our stay. Our Huttopia tent was located in the Franceville sector, which is on the other side of the park (22km from the main park entrance). I would totally recommend this type of accommodation which is perfect for couples, friends and family.
I also had the chance to sleep under the stars in a EXP. Cabin during a following snowshoe trip with my family. The cabin has an unique architecture and an intimate contact with nature ; you almost have the impression to sleep outside. The EXP Cabin can accommodate up to 4 people.
- Entrance fee: 8,50$CAD
- 2L of water
- Lunch & snacks
- Good hiking shoes / boots
- Hiking pole are recommended
- Camera / Go pro
- Always bring a map of the area
7.30-8.00am – Leave Montreal for Mont-Mégantic (3h drive)
10.30am– Arrived at Mont-Megantic
Buy your entrance ticket (can be paid while booking the accommodation in the park)
11.00am – Start hiking Mont-St-Joseph
1.00pm – Arrived on top of Mont-St-Joseph
1.00-2.00pm – Eat lunch and enjoy the view
2.00pm – Start the descend
4.00pm – Back in the parking lot
Time to go to your accommodation, have a little snack, relax & get ready for the night
7.00pm – Go back to the AstroLab for the observation night
7.30pm – Activity start
9.00pm – Enjoy the surrounding of the park by night and go back to your accomodation
You can either leave the next morning or make the most out of your time in the area to do an other hike ; there are some nice hike located in the Franceville area as well.