Classic and skate cross-country ski (top 10 places near Montreal)


  1. Mont-Orford National Park
  2. Oka National Park
  3. Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
  4. Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare
  5. Club de golf Les Cèdres
  6. Centre de ski de fond et raquette dans les Laurentides (Esterel)
  7. Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord
  8. Le Mont Grand-Fonds, La Malbaie, Charlevoix
  9. Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses, La Malbaie, Charlevoix
  10. Park Gatineau

There is something special about the places where we go skiing. All those areas always have groomed ski trails for classic and skating XC skiing. For us, it is requirement number one.

Let’s start with the ski trails in SEPAQ parks. Oka, Mont-Saint-Bruno, and Mont-Orford are the national parks that are the closest to us and have both classic and skating ski trails. We buy season ski passes SEPAQ, as we go skiing to those parks very often.

1. Mont-Orford National Park

 Website: https://www.sepaq.com/pq/mor/

 Address: 3321 Chemin du Parc, Orford, QC J1X 7A2

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 45 km. Skate XC ski trails – more than 25 km.

Cross-country ski trail map in Mont-Orford National Park

We opened a new 2018-2019 ski season in Mont-Orford park. On December 9 it was the only SEPAQ park that had enough snow accumulation for cross-country skiing.

We fell in love with Mont-Orford park at first sight!

The picturesque road to the park, light snow, not so cold outdoors, excellent ski trails and hot tea after ski with a winter view made our day.

 Pros 

  • Large XC ski trails in perfect condition and maintained during the day.
  • Waxing room is on the ground floor. You can go straight to ski from there.
  • Ski rental.
  • A spacious cafeteria with huge windows overlooking ski trails and winter lake.
  • Alpine ski resort Mont-Orford is within 5 minutes of driving.
  • Free Wi-Fi.

 Cons 

  • A little far for us. 
  • Ski trail signs could be marked better. For example, on ski trail number 1 there are a couple of points where it is not clear where to go for those who ski for the first time in Mont-Orford Park.

2. Oka National Park

 Website: https://www.sepaq.com/pq/

 Address: 2020 Chemin d’Oka, Oka, QC J0N 1E0

 Cross-country ski trails: Oka National park has 5 cross-country ski trails. Classic XC ski trails – 25 km. Skate XC ski trails – 25 km. Only trail number 6 has classic and ski trails going parallel. Usually, we take that trail to warm up. Mostly it is a flat trail with small ups and downs.

Cross-country ski trail map in Ока National Park

 Pros

  • Ski trail quality is perfect. Maintained during the day.
  • Level of ski trails from easy to difficult for both classic and skating.
  • Two-story spacious cafeteria. On the main floor, there is a fireplace.
  • Ski rental.
  • Free Wi-Fi.

 Cons

  • Tiny waxing room. It is not comfortable. Plus there are only three very old tables for ski waxing.

3. Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park

 Website: https://www.sepaq.com/pq/msb

 Address: 330 Rang des Vingt Cinq E, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC J3V 4P6

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 35 km. Skate XC ski trails – 3.2 km.

Cross-country ski trail map in Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park 

 Pros

  • The closest park.
  • Ski rental.
  • On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays the park offers night skiing until 9 p.m.
  • Big waxing room with modern and comfortable tables.

 Cons

  • Only one trail to practice skating skiing (trail 2).
  • The ski trails are not lighted in the evening. Do not forget your headlamps!

4. Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare

 Website: http://ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/pnf

 Address: 2800 Chemin Lotbinière, Saint-Lazare, QC J7T 3H9

 Cross-country ski trails: More than 20 km both classic and skating ski trails. The classic and skating trails are parallel to each other.

Cross-country ski trail map in Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare

 Pros

  • Ski rental.
  • A couple of waxing tables.
  • Cross-country ski lessons and Vaudreuil-Soulanges biathlon club.
  • Other winter activities: an ice rink, snowshoeing, tubing.
  • Daily access and activities for Saint-Lazar and Les Cèdres residents are free.

 Cons

  • Skating ski trails are very narrow.
  • On-site credit cards are not accepted.
  • Be ready to take off your ski on trails 4 and 5 because the trails cross the road.

5. Club de golf Les Cèdres

 Website: https://www.golflescedres.com/ski-de-fond-et-raquette

 Address: 669 Coupland, Granby, QC, J2H 0P7

 Cross-country ski trails: There everything is easy. There are 6 ski trails. The trail number is equal its distance in kilometers, i.e. trail 1 is 1 km, etc. For skate skiing is trails 3 and 5. Classic skiing is on all trails.

Cross-country ski trail map in Club de golf Les Cèdres

 Pros

  • Ski rental.
  • Always well-groomed ski trails.
  • Comfortable main pavilion with a beautiful view of the winter landscape.
  • Soup and hot chocolate near the fireplace.
  • There is no need to mention the beauty of forests in Canada, but the trees in the snow there are just gorgeous!

 Cons

  • There are only 2 trails for skating skiing.
  • Ski trails are flat. For those who love skiing often, like us, at some point the trails may become boring.

6. Centre de ski de fond et raquette dans les Laurentides (Esterel)

 Website: http://www.skidefondesterel.com/

 Address: Avenue d’Anvers Estérel, QC, J0T 1E0

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic and skate XC ski trails – 35 km. The trails are parallel to each other.

Cross-country ski trail map in Centre de ski de fond Esterel

The ski center is within 1.5-hour drive from Montreal and located in the resort Esterel.

Since that area is close to Mont-Tremblant, the landscape is mountainous. So be ready for ups-downs and sharp curves on Esterel ski trails. One of the ski trails crosses a lake once it is covered by ice.

 Pros

  • Ski rental.
  • Small cabins on ski trails to keep warm.
  • Extreme lovers will appreciate difficult ski trails.

 Cons

  • Narrow ski trails, sometimes dangerous.
  • Waxing room is small and located apart.

7. Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord

 Website: https://www.laurentides.com/en/linearpark

Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord is not an ordinary park with loop ski trails. Actually, it is an old railway from Bois-des-Filion to Mont-Laurier passing Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Tremblant. In the winter time, a 232-km cycle path is transformed into a cross-country ski trail. It’s the longest park of its kind in Canada!

An ideal place for those who do not like to ski in a circle. So there are many entry points to the Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord. Some of them are more comfortable for skiers, some of them less. We have not explored the whole 232 km of the ski trail. Here you find the coordinates of an entry point we found good enough.

Entry point km 25 Gare de Sainte-Adèle (Mont-Rolland)

 Address: 1000, rue Saint-George, J8B 1J9

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 232 km. Skate XC ski trails – more than 60 km.

Le P’tit Train du Nord official guide

 Pros 

  • Almost unlimited distance.
  • Ski and skate ski trails go in parallel.
  • Two-way ski trail. You can always make a U-turn and come back.
  • The cafeteria on site.

 Cons

  • The parking lot is small.
  • Have some cash. Credit cards not always accepted.
  • Ski rental is not available.

Every kilometer you will see a small post indicating the distance you covered.

8. Le Mont Grand-Fonds, La Malbaie, Charlevoix

 Website: http://www.montgrandfonds.com/cross-country

 Address: 1000 chemin des Loisirs, La Malbaie (Québec), G5A 1Y8

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 140 km. Skate XC ski trails – 60 km.

Cross-country ski trail map in Le Mont Grand-Fonds

The ski resort Le Mont Grand-Fonds is located in a picturesque region Charlevoix within 2-hour drive from Quebec City.

Once we started skiing in Le Mont Grand-Fonds, we were charmed by that place! The trees covered with snow along the trails are absolutely magic. Unfortunately, the bone-chilling cold weather did not let us fully enjoy the beauty of the place. 

We would like to say a couple of good words about the chalets on the trails. We have never seen the service like that anywhere else. Usually, there are small cabins for a couple of people. Le Mont Grand-Fonds have big heated chalets. Inside you will find at least half-dozen tables with benches. Free refreshments: coffee, tea, hot chocolate or chicken broth. You can even dry your clothes inside.

 Pros

  • It is a ski resort. You can do the alpine ski here as well.
  • Ski rental.
  • Large waxing room.
  • Restaurant and bar on site.

 Cons

  • Waxing tables are old.
  • The parking lot is huge. If you do not park in the first line, be ready to walk.

9. Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses, La Malbaie, Charlevoix

 Website: http://lessourcesjoyeuses.com/

 Address: 141 Rang Sainte Madeleine, La Malbaie, QC G5A 2T2

 Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 35 km. Skate XC ski trails – 15 km. The trails are partially parallel.

Cross-country ski trail map in Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses

The Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses is much less than Le Mont Grand-Fonds. However, you will also find breathtaking views there. On one of the ski trail, there is an observation tower with an amazing overview of Charlevoix at 360 degrees.

As we already mentioned above, we were in Charlevoix in very cold weather. We would have frozen if we had not worn our favorite ski pieces of clothing, i.e.  

1. Buff kept our faces warm.

2. Merino as a base layer kept our body warm.

3. Ski socks kept our feet warm. 

 Pros 

  • Cabins offering hot tea on the ski trails.
  • Ski rental.
  • Lockers available. Bring your own padlock.
  • Cafeteria
  • Other activities: a skating rink, snowshoeing.

 Cons 

  • Credit cards are not accepted.

10. Park Gatineau

 Website: http://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/cross-country-skiing

 Address: Gatineau Park, 33 Chemin Scott, Chelsea, QC J9B 1R5

Cross-country ski trails: Classic XC ski trails – 200 km. Skate XC ski trails – 125 km. 

Interactive cross-country ski trail map in Gatineau Park

Park Gatineau is within 20 minutes drive from Ottawa.

When we arrived at the main entrance, there were two news for us a good one and a bad one. The bad one was “no waxing room on-site.” The good was as SEPAQ ski pass holders we had 50% discount on daily ski pass at Park Gatineau.

 Pros 

  • More than 50 cross-country ski trails from easy to difficult.
  • A lot of parking lots along the ski trails.

 Cons 

  • Rental ski not available.
  • No waxing room.
  • Small parking lots.
  • Minimum of comfort for cross-country skiers. Only an outdoor toilet available.
Cross country classic ski in Gatineau Park
Cross country skate ski in Gatineau Park

What did not we say about?

  • About the beauty of each cross-country ski trail. They are all beautiful in their own way. Besides the beauty of a ski trail is subjective and depends on the weather.
  • About natural bad conditions of XC ski-trails, i.e. all kinds of leaves on trails. The most of ski trails pass through the forest. And you’re not going anywhere.
  • We always bring our own equipment: ski, poles, ski boots, wax and… wax iron.

Useful links

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