Although there was a -30-degree Celsius windchill, I drove to Sainte-Adèle last Sunday with the goal of hiking to the top of the highest mountain in the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut: Mont Loup-Garou. So I headed to Parc du Mont Loup-Garou and, warmly dressed, I set off on the snowy trails of the Laurentian forest.
Parc du Mont Loup-Garou covers an area of 788 acres in Sainte-Adèle and has several kilometres of trails where you can go hiking, snowshoeing, skiing and mountain biking. As soon as I arrived at the parking lot, I consulted the trail map and chose the route I would follow to get to the top of Mont Loup-Garou.
From the parking lot, I followed La Poirier trail, probably the easiest and fastest trail to get to the summit.
Winter is not my favourite season to hike and I was very hesitant to take on a trail when it was that cold. But the beauty of the scenery quickly convinced me that this winter hike was not a bad idea. The branches of the trees were covered with fresh snow, and it was just beautiful!
La Poirier trail goes around one of the two lakes in the park, Lake Matley, before starting to gain a little elevation. It passes near a large rocky escarpment, covered with large icicles (it reminded me of Sheila McKee Park in Ottawa), before continuing its route gently through the forest.
The forest of Parc du Mont Loup-Garou is varied and typical of the Laurentian landscape, in addition to sheltering some wetlands. It is undoubtedly a great place to observe the typical fauna and flora of the region, but the forest was very quiet and very silent on this cold winter day.
After four kilometres, La Poirier trail eventually brought me to the summit of Mont Loup-Garou, at an altitude of 498 metres. The climb was very gradual, so I didn’t find it very difficult. There is a nice shelter at the top as well as chairs to better enjoy the view.
It is said that the name of the mountain comes from local legends dating from the 19th century, which say that anyone who spends the night on the mountain on a full moon evening is doomed to certain death (Loup-Garou means werewolf in French). It was a bit too cold for werewolves when I was there, but I preferred not to wait for nightfall to see if there was any truth in these legends.
I decided to take another trail on my way back to the parking lot to explore this beautiful park even more. I first took the Ouaouaron trail, which I followed to Cap Bruce-Foy. This lookout offers a magnificent view of this region of the Laurentians, a view that I personally found more impressive than the one you get at the summit.
Then after the Ouaouaron trail, I followed the Rainette trail which descended gently into the snowy forest. This trail led me to the Lac Richer trail, a trail that loops around the lake of the same name and which I followed on the north shore.
The Lac Richer trail offers some views of the lake, but above all, it crosses a wetland. Hiking over these marshes covered with a thick layer of snow was rather picturesque.
After the Lac Richer trail, I followed the Marais trail for a few metres, which eventually brought me back to the La Poirier trail and my starting point. I finally got back to the parking lot after 8.3 kilometres of hiking, very proud to have braved the cold and to have reached yet another peak!
A quick note that the organization that manages the park suggests making a voluntary contribution if you visit it (details here). It is a small price to pay to make sure that we can continue to enjoy the trails of a beautiful site like this!