Hiking to the top of Mont Kaaikop in the Laurentians

After our hiking weekend in the Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm region in Lanaudière, my sister-in-law Mireille and I decided to make a stop on our way back for a final hike. We opted to climb to the top of Mont Kaaikop in the municipality of Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides.

The name “Kaaikop” comes from the Algonquin language and means “rocky, high and steep site”. The name should have given us a little idea of what to expect. But as we had reached the summits of Mont Ouareau, of Montagne Noire and of Cap de la Fée without too much difficulty, for us it was only a matter of adding one more summit to our list of conquered mountains.

Not that we thought it was going to be easy, but we definitely thought it was going to be easier.

Trail 7 at L'interval
On the way to another summit

You can access the Mont Kaaikop trailhead via L’Interval outdoor base, a solidarity cooperative that manages the trails. We paid our access fee ($8) and set off on Trail 7, the one that was to take us to the top of Mont Kaaikop.


It was raining lightly, but under the tall trees we barely felt the rain. The trail was a bit muddy in places, but the first few metres didn’t seem too difficult. In fact, we had set ourselves the goal of doing the six-kilometre hike in under two hours and at that point it seemed easily achievable.

Then the trail got a little steeper …

Trail to Mont Kaaikop
My legs still ache just looking at this photo

The trail began to climb steadily giving us little opportunity to catch our breath. You had to navigate through the rocky rocks and the sometimes slippery roots. This hike would have been a challenge under normal circumstances, but since our legs were a bit sore already after our hikes of the previous days, let’s say the climb started to be a bit strenuous.

Especially when we got to the sign saying we only hiked a quarter of the way.

Quarter of the way up
When you think you are almost done but you are only starting

The next kilometre was difficult. The trail continued to climb quite steeply. At one point, ropes along the trail helped us climb from boulder to boulder. I admit that I was starting to get a little discouraged, especially when I thought about the fact that we would have to come down the same way.

We passed the sign indicating the halfway point, then the one that marked three quarters of the way. Each of these moments felt like a little accomplishment.

Stretcher on Mont Kaaikop
A stretcher on the mountain. I think Mireille is getting worried.

Then the view between the trees began to clear a bit, and we were able to take the measure of our elevation gain. Mont Kaaikop, 838 metres high, is the third highest peak in the Laurentians. The gloomy weather did not allow us to fully appreciate the view (it seems that on a clear day you can see all the way to Montreal), but it was still possible to see the surrounding mountains around us.

View of Montréal
No views of Montréal for us today

I had read that the last few metres before getting to the summit were the hardest, but after the hellish first kilometres, they actually seemed pretty easy.

And then, we finally got to the top.

Sometimes the most difficult hikes are the ones that leave us the biggest impression. With the gloomy sky, the view was not as impressive as those offered by Mont Ouareau and Montagne Noire. But I think standing on top of Mont Kaaikop was my favorite part of my hiking weekend. The personal accomplishment that made me the proudest.

Summit of Mont Kaaikop
The summit of Mont Kaaikop: DONE!

In addition, for the first time of our weekend, we were completely alone on the summit. We didn’t meet many hikers on the trail.

Trail 7 continues past the summit and descends on the other side of the mountain to make a long 12-kilometre loop. In fact, from this path, it is also possible to join the Sentier National and continue your hike towards Mont Ouareau. But we had accomplish our goal (to reach the summit of Mont Kaaikop), so we came back down using the same way.

The descent was not easy because we had to constantly watch each of our steps and be careful not to slip. But gradually we got back down and when we finally got to our car, we realized that our 5.9km hike had taken us exactly two hours. That too was a small accomplishment!

The L’Interval outdoor base includes a system of trails totaling more than 40 kilometres, in addition to having campsites, an inn and small lodges. It seems like a beautiful and quiet place, and we promised ourselves that we would come back one day and stay there for a few days.

PS – Apparently, there is a lot of pressure to make this area available for logging. So do your part to protect this beautiful nature by not forgetting to pay the entrance fees for the site!

Mont Kaaikop:
Altitude : 838m
Ascension : 363m
Trail (return) : 5.9km
Access : L’Interval

***Mont Kaaikop Small Loop is part of the 75S Challenge, an hiking challenge managed by Rando Québec. To learn more about the challenge or to follow my progress, visit this page.***


  1. I just climbed Kaaikop in mid May. I was shocked at how much snow and ice was still on the mountain. Coming down the other side was a nightmare. Ice, mud, rivers of melted snow. I fell flat on my back in a huge puddle of mud. Most challenging hike I’ve ever done.

    But I loved it.

    1. Oh wow! I felt like it was a challenging hike in summer, so I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been with ice and snow! But sometimes the hardest challenges or also the most enjoyable ones!

  2. This does not look like an easy hike! It’s one thing dealing with a steady incline while hiking up a mountain, but it’s another thing when having to trek through all those rocks (especially in the rain!). I actually laughed out loud when I saw the picture of the stretcher on the mountain. That certainly doesn’t look like a good sign. Glad you were able to reach the summit. The views look beautiful.

    1. It was a challenging hike, but worth it! This summit apparently has some of the best views of the area. It’s a bit sad the weather wasn’t great, but it still felt so good reaching the top!

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