Hiking to the top of Mont Larose in Montcalm in the Laurentians has been on my list for a long time! There are so many trails to discover in this region that I haven’t explore enough yet and Mont Larose seemed like a not-too-complicated short hike not too far from home.
But in fact, the trail network in the Montcalm area includes more than Mont Larose! There are three trails there, which together can provide a hike of approximately 13 kilometres. Once I arrived at the small parking lot along Chemin Larose, I decided that I would hike these three trails, the perfect way to enjoy of this beautiful sunny Saturday in the Laurentians mountains.
The first trail is about 1.2 km and goes directly to the top of Mont Larose. And from the first few metres, I realized that it wouldn’t necessarily be a “not-too-complicated” hike as I expected. The climb up the mountain is quite steep and the trail offers little opportunity to catch your breath.
The trail first runs along the rock face of Mont Larose, on which there seems to be several rock climbing routes. Much like the Prevost Cliffs at the Alfred Kelly Nature Reserve that I visited last June, the place is also an important nesting area for peregrine falcons.
I reached the top of Mont Larose in less than 30 minutes, but completely out of breath. I still suffer from exhaustion and jet lag after spending much of the summer in Japan for work. But I had the summit of the mountain all to myself and I took the opportunity to rest, catch my breath and admire the scenery.
So I had reached my first goal of the day: the summit of Mont Larose! I retraced my steps to find the junction with the Nid de l’Aigle Trail and be able to continue my hike.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Nid de l’Aigle Trail (in English, Eagle’s Nest Trail), but I ended up really enjoying it! After coming down from Mont Larose, the trail took me past a pond, where it is possible to see a large beaver dam up close. I took the opportunity to take another break (I was really struggling with my energy levels).
Then the trail started to go up, rather steeply. The trail was also a little narrower and bushier, proof that it is less taken than the one leading to Mont Larose. It also got a little more technical. As I got closer to the rocky top, the climb became a bit more difficult, even requiring in places that I use my hands to help me climb over bigger rocks.
But what a magnificent trail! Without being very high (the elevation of the Nid de l’Aigle Trail is close to 500 metres in altitude), the trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding area in addition to offering an interesting physical challenge.
The trail eventually left the rocky ridge to descend back under the canopy of trees. In total, the Nid de l’Aigle Trail is a little over three kilometres (one way), and it eventually joins another trail, the Boucle de la Loutre, which is 3.9-kilometre loop.
My original plan was to hike the loop and then retrace my steps back to the parking lot. But I was starting to feel pretty exhausted, and I knew that the whole route I had done so far, all the climbs and descents, I would have to do it all again to come back to the trail head. I’m not used to giving up hikes as I’m quite stubborn, but I decided to be wise this time and to postpone the Boucle de la Loutre hike to another time.
So I retraced my steps. I climbed back up to the Nid de l’Aigle Trail, crossed its rocky summit again, descended back to the beaver pond, climbed up to Mont Larose again, then went back down to the parking lot. In total, my hike was almost 9 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 476 metres.
I will take some time to recover properly from the jet lag and my fatigue. Boucle de la Loutre, I’ll be back!
Note that the access to the Montcalm trails is free! The trails were generally well marked. Check out the trail map here.