Last weekend, I went to Ripon Black Mountains Park for the first time. In fact, I must admit that even though I live south of the Ottawa River, I have almost never been in the territory of La Petite-Nation, which is just north of the river. The possibility of hiking a mountain gave me the perfect reason to finally go there!
The Black Mountains Park (parc des Montagnes Noires) is located near the village of Ripon and has an area of 800 acres. There are a few cottages, as well as hiking trails and mountain bike trails.
The most popular trail is undoubtedly the one leading to the summit of Mount Grand-Pic. At an altitude of 426 meters, the Grand-Pic is the highest mountain in the region west of Mont-Tremblant. So I, too, had to get to the top.
I started my hike from the main parking lot (where I paid the $ 5.75 access fee) and then followed Trail 7 to the top. The ascent to the summit is not too hard. The trail is just a little over one kilometre, and the climb is gradual, but still a good exercise.
There is a look-out at the top, as well as a few picnic tables. Without being spectacular, the view at the summit is still pretty. You can see the beautiful landscape of La Petite-Nation, and, on a clear day, even Mont-Tremblant is visible. A sign at the top indicates the location and the distance of some landmarks.
As hiking to the summit took only twenty minutes, I continued my hike. Trail 7 makes a loop following the mountain plateau before descending gradually back to the parking lot. The map of the site indicates the existence of an observation tower, but it appeared to be under construction during my visit.
Interestingly, there are big granite blocks along the trail. These large rocks were deposited on the mountain a few thousand years ago when the glaciers melted. It reminded me of Mount Rigaud.
In all, my hike lasted almost two hours. It could have been shorter, but without realizing it I followed the mountain bike trail for several minutes, which lengthened my hike. But hey, hard to complain when you’re in such a beautiful forest!
Note that there is a parking lot near Grand-Pic look-out, so technically you can also reach the summit by car. But, really, why deprive yourself the pleasure of a short and pretty hike?
Mont Grand-Pic :
Altitude : 426m
Trail (loop): 3.4 km
Access : Parking lot P2 or P4