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Outdoor activities

Trail access

Trail access

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Welcome Centre opening hours

Welcome Centre opening hours

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Payment

Payment

Cards only

Photo of a man and a young girl running on a snowy trail.

Trail conditions

Icy, crampons recommended
Photo of a man and a young girl running on a snowy trail.

Cross-country skiing

Closed

We are open every day of the year

Getting here | Online reservation | Contact us

Activities

A hiker on a snowy trail.

Hiking

25 km of trails is yours to discover. Please make sure to follow instructions, rules and do not use closed trails.

A woman is holding a bird identification guide as a man standing next to her looks up through binoculars.

Bird watching

Gault Nature Reserve is recognized as a Migratory Bird Sanctuary since 1960. The Société d’ornithologie de la Vallée du Richelieu (SOVDR) is a partner of Gault Nature Reserve offering activities in the region.

Close-up of snowshoes and walking sticks being used in the snow

Cross-country skiing

Through our 8 kilometers of skiing trails, you can explore a network of narrow, winding mountain paths designed for classic cross-country skiing. We remind you that off-trail cross-country skiing is not permitted.

Note: The Reserve’s ski trails are open when weather and snow conditions allow it. Before you visit, check out our homepage to see if the cross-country skiing trails are open.

A chipmunk is perched on a branch

Self-guided tour of the Reserve

For the young and young at heart, this approximately 90-min self-guided hike will invite you to look closer at the nature that surrounds you. Open the Pocket Naturalist to start exploring.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

This free activity, geared towards students in primary school (cycles 2 and 3) and families, will help you discover the exceptional biodiversity of Mont Saint-Hilaire. Learn more about the Nature Scavenger Hunt.


Trails

Hiking trails schedule

Period Opening Closing
November to March During normal eastern time 8 a.m. 4 p.m.
March to November During daylight saving time 8 a.m. 6 p.m.
Exception: April 16 to August 31 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.

The Welcome Centre is open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. year-round.

Photo of a man and a young girl running on a snowy trail.

Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing

EMERGENCY : 911
McGill Security : 514 398-3000
All Hike Times ratings are approximate.

Trail

Lake Hertel

Length

500 m

Elevation

41 m

Time

10 min

Trail

Boardwalk loop (brown)

Length

1 km

Elevation

-

Time

20 min

Trail

Boucle mauve

Length

4.9 km

Elevation

-

Time

1.5 hours

Trail

Burned Hill loop (Orange and Yellow trails)

Length

4.0 km

Elevation

177 m

Time

1.5 hours

Trail

Pain de Sucre (Yellow trail)

Length

5.4 km

Elevation

281 m

Time

1.75 hours

Trail

Dieppe (Green trail)

Length

7.6 km

Elevation

238 m

Time

3 hours

Trail

Rocky 1 Loop (Red and Blue trails)

Length

5.5 km

Elevation

272 m

Time

3.5 hours

Trail

Rocky 2 loop (Red and Green trails)

Length

8.0 km

Elevation

267 m

Time

3 hours

Trail

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING - ROUTE NO 1

Length

3.8 km

Elevation

Easy

Time

45 min.

Trail

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING - ROUTE NO 2

Length

4.2 KM

Elevation

Difficult

Time

45 min.

Trail

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING - ROUTE NO 3

Length

4.8 km

Elevation

Very difficult

Time

45 min.

Trail

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING - ROUTE NO 4

Length

5.4 km

Elevation

Very difficult

Time

1 h

Fees

Hiking

Category Day Pass - Taxes included Where to buy?
Adult $ 9.55 Reservation online required
17 and under Free No reservation required

Terms and conditions of the entry fees

Cross-country skiing

Category Day Pass - Taxes included
Adult Day pass and an extra fee of $ 5.25 payable by credit or debit at the Welcome Centre.
17 years and under Free. No reservation required.

Equipment rental

The equipment rental is located at the Alice Johannsen Welcome Centre. The selection of equipment available is based on weather conditions.

Equipment for rent Daily fee - Taxes included Annual card holder fee - Taxes included
Walking sticks $ 8.05 $ 6.44
Crampons $ 11.50 $ 9.20
Crampons and walking sticks $ 13.80 $ 11.04
Adult snowshoes $ 16.10 $ 12.88
Adult snowshoes and walking sticks $ 18.40 $ 14.72

Annual card

Category Annual cost - taxes included Where to buy?
Adult $ 88 Online FIRST TIME SUBSCRIBER ONLY
Adult - Mont-Saint-Hilaire resident1 $ 79.72 Welcome Centre only2
65 and older $ 74.54 Welcome Centre only2
65 and older & Mont-Saint-Hilaire resident1 $ 67.29 Welcome Centre only2
RENEWAL You will receive a 10% discount if you renew your annual card online before the previous one has expired. Online. You will receive a renewal link by email approximately one (1) month before your renewal is due. Write us if you did not receive it.

1. This discount is available thanks to Ville de Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
2. If you must present yourself to the Welcome Centre to buy your annual card, do not forget to reserve a day pass online ahead of time. The day pass will be reimbursed during the purchase of the annual card. The annual card must be purchased on the same day and proof of payment must be shown.

Annual card benefits:

  • No reservation required.
  • Early access starting at 7 a.m. from May 1st to Labour Day.
  • Access to the cross-country skiing trails at no additional cost.
  • Discounts on equipment rental and on selected items at the Welcome Centre.
  • For more information, please consult the terms and conditions of the annual card.

Groups

Daily quota for groups

Group type Number of participants
Elementary school / High school 80
Organized groups and higher education 80

Daily rates

Number of participants Elementary school and high school Higher education (outside of McGill University) Organized groups (adults)
20 to 30 $57 $115 $191
31 to 40 $88 $178 $296
41 to 50 $116 $235 $392
51 to 60 $144 $292 $487
61 to 70 $173 $350 $583
71 to 80 $201 $407 $678

Important:
1. The prices above only apply to groups (schools, sports or other) accessing the Reserve by the main entrance at 422 chemin des Moulins by bus.
2. Elementary school and high school groups must comply to a supervising ratio of one adult per 10 students. The group must be subdivided in sub-groups of 10 participants.
3. Price includes taxes.

Reservation

To make a reservation, read the planification guide and fill out the following form at least two (2) weeks before the activity. We will communicate with you by email in 2 business days to confirm your reservation or to propose alternative dates.

Please note that you need to pay ahead of your visit and show a proof of purchase upon your arrival.

Spring thaw:
1. We do not accept reservations during the spring thaw period (from April 1st to May 6th inclusively) to protect the trails and ecosystems of the Reserve that are fragile at that time.

Rules and trail etiquette

Some activities are incompatible with our goal of protecting the ecological integrity of the Reserve so that it can be appreciated by future generations. The following restrictions therefore apply throughout the Reserve, and to visitors from the University as well as the public.

Plan your visit

Rules and guidelines
 Plan your visit by checking the rules and the code of ethics. You must always carry your day pass or your annual card during your visit.
 Pets are not allowed.
 Wear comfortable clothes suited for hiking. Dress in multiple light layers so that you will be comfortable in a wide range of weather conditions. Wear waterproof/breathable lightweight boots or shoes. If recommended, wear crampons.
 People visit the Reserve to relax, please keep noise to a minimum or wear earphones.
 Smoke-free environment.
 You must remain on the hiking trails.
Trail etiquette Hikers coming uphill have the right of way. Please respect one-way travel on the trails. Keep right, pass left. Make your intentions known! Call out when passing. If you want to pass, clearly and politely communicate your plans to other users.
 Access is only permitted during opening hours. The Reserve is private property; trespassers could face fines.

Protecting wildlife and flora

Rules
 Leave your garbage or recycling in the containers provided.
 Do not feed, disturb, trap or hunt animals.
 Help preserve the flora and reduce your environmental impact: stay on marked trails to keep from trampling the plants.
 It is forbidden to take plant specimens, minerals or anything else from the Reserve (animals, plants, wood, rocks, etc.) or to introduce species.

Prohibited activities

Rules
 No climbing, orienteering, horseback riding, hang-gliding or sliding.
 No swimming, sailing or fishing on Hertel Lake.
 No operating a drone or other remotely operated device.
 No bikes, motorcycles, snowmobiles or other vehicles.
 No BBQs, campfires or camping.

Guide dogs and service dogs

Guide dogs and service dogs are allowed at the Reserve. The dog must be trained to meet the needs of someone with a physical, cognitive, or visual impairment. Upon arrival to the site, you will need to:

  • Show official documentation attesting to the animal's training by a recognized institution
  • Dogs must wear their working harness at all time

Emotional support dogs (therapy dogs) are not allowed.

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