It had been forever since I last visited Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park in the Montérégie region! In fact, the only times I went there was to go cross-country skiing, and that goes back more than fifteen years ago. So I took advantage of a recent visit in this area to rediscover this Sépaq park.
The weather was nice, the air smelled good, and spring seemed to have definitely arrived. It was therefore the perfect conditions for a long hike. I decided to follow the Sentier des Lacs (Lakes Trail), as it is one of the longest trails in Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno, but also because this trail is part of the 75S challenge that I am trying to do.
I arrived as soon as the park gates opened (8 a.m.) and immediately set off on the Lakes Trail, which I was going to follow clockwise.
Like Mont Saint-Grégoire and Mont Rougemont, Mont Saint-Bruno is part of the Monteregian Hills, massive, isolated hills made up of metamorphic rocks and spread out across Montérégie. Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno therefore protects the unique environment of the hill, making it a true natural oasis in the heart of an urban and agricultural region.
The Lakes Trail makes a large loop of nearly 9 kilometres around the park’s five lakes. These lakes are special, since there are few bodies of water in the St. Lawrence Valley. Following the Lakes Trail is therefore a good way to learn more about these unique aquatic and wetland environments.
Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno is located near Montreal, which makes it an extremely popular place. But since I arrived early, the trail was still pretty quiet when I started my hike.
The first lake I arrived at on the trail is the largest in the park: Lac Seigneurial (Seigniorial Lake). This lake bears this name because it was on its banks that the manor of the Seigneurie de Montarville was built in the 19th century. It was interesting to learn that in addition to their natural importance, the lakes around Mont Saint-Bruno had historical importance, as their hydraulic energy was used to develop industries within the seigniory.
After Lac Seigneurial, I continued on the trail to reach Lac des Bouleaux (Birch Trees Lake). I think this one was aptly named because the trail around it was actually lined with birch trees. It seems that during the summer, it is possible to rent canoes and paddleboards there, and I thought to myself that it must be a really nice place for a paddle.
After going around Lac des Bouleaux, I had the impression that the trail gain a bit of elevation, in order to reach the third lake, Lac à la Tortue (Turtle Lake). At 130 metres above sea level, this lake is the highest in the hydrographic network of the hill. Then a little further, I arrived at Lac des Atocas (Cranberry Lake), a lake that isn’t really a lake anymore (it’s more of a bog now… and you can only observe it from afar).
It was from this point that I started meeting more and more hikers and runners on the trail. On this beautiful spring Saturday, they too had come to enjoy the beautiful nature of the park.
Luckily for me, I was almost done with my hike. I finally arrived at the last lake on the trail, Lac du Moulin (Mill Lake), so named because on the other side of the lake is an old flour mill, dating from 1761. It seems that there is now a tearoom in the old mill. I promised myself that I will visit it next time!
I still had a short distance to hike before returning to the parking lot, my starting point. Since I walked at a brisk pace, and since it is a relatively easy trail, I was able to cover the almost 9 kilometres of the trail in less than two hours. And it made me realize that despite its great popularity, Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno is a great place to enjoy nature. I will come back one day to explore its other trails!