After hiking Mont Saint-Grégoire in Montérégie, I decided to take advantage of the face that I was in the area to make a detour to Rougemont. Being a cider lover, I figured there were no better places to stock up on my favorite drink than in the apple capital of Québec, so I stopped at Cidrerie Michel Jodoin in Rougemont.
I particularly chose Cidrerie Michel Jodoin because I usually like the cider from this cider house, but also and above all because the cider house also has the particularity of having hiking trails on its property. Delicious cider and some mountain hiking? There was no more perfect combination for me on this sunny Saturday.
The Jean-Baptiste-Jodoin trails (named in honour of the first owner of the orchard) total 4.6 kilometres on the southeast side of Mont Rougemont. It is accessed by passing through one of the orchards (where trees were crumbling under apples ready to be picked). I paid the access fee ($ 4) and then left the apple trees behind to dive under the tall maple trees of Mont Rougemont.
Like Mont Saint-Grégoire, Mont Rougemont is also part of the Monteregian Hills, massive, isolated hills made up of metamorphic rocks and spread out across Montérégie. And just like the trail leading to the top of Mont Saint-Grégoire, the trail at Cidrerie Michel Jodoin is quite steep and climbs rather steeply.
The ascent follows a winding path on the sides of a rocky cliff. After about 500 metres, I arrived at the first lookout. Between the trees, I could see the orchards and fields of the Rougemont countryside spread out in front of me and, in the distance, the distinctive silhouette of Mont Saint-Hillaire. It almost looked like a painting!
The trail descends slightly before going back up. This portion of the trail was very pretty and well laid out (a small culvert crosses a stream and stairs follow rocky sides).
My only downside was that I found myself behind a large group of hikers. These were going at a much slower pace than mine, and since the trail was narrow, I couldn’t pass them. Since they didn’t have the courtesy to stop to let me pass, I had to wait and follow them slowly, which took away from the fun of the hike.
Luckily the group of hikers decided to take a break when we got near the highest point of the trail. I then took the opportunity to overtake them and pick up the pace to try and regain some of the tranquility of the forest.
So I arrived alone at the belvedere on the south-eastern side of Mont Rougemont. The view there was just as magnificent as at the first lookout. The Jean-Baptiste-Jodoin trails do not reach the summit of Mont Rougemont (the summit is located further north), but they do reach an elevation of 230 metres and the views are definitely worth it.
A few metres after the belvedere, the trail splits in two and offers two options for going back down: a shorter trail, marked in blue, or a longer trail, marked in red. Since I found that there were a little too many hikers on the trail for my liking and I was starting to get a bit exhausted, I decided to go for the shorter option.
The descent was not too difficult, but since you have to descend on some shaky rocks, I still had to be careful. But I finally made it back to the trailhead and left the forest to find myself again in the orchard. In all, my hike totaled 3 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 201 metres.
Before leaving, I obviously had to go to the cider house shop. It offers different varieties of cider, sparkling wine, spirits and apple must. I stocked up on cider, of course. Cider and a mountain hike: for me it’s the definition of a perfect Saturday!