Where to plane spot in Montreal (YUL)?

Obviously, the closer a plane spot to the airport, the better. Montreal has one International passenger airport YUL Montréal-Trudeau

Three plane spots that we will be talking about are along 06R-24L runaway. In total, Montréal-Trudeau airport has three runaways 06R-24L, 06L-24R, 10-28. The last one is the shortest and is used for small aviation.

Depending on the wind direction, two main runaways (06R-24L, 06L-24R) can be used both for departures and for arrivals of the aircraft.

As a rule, airplanes take off and land against the wind. At the bottom of the post, you will find a link to the resource where, in real time, you can find out the direction of the wind at the airport of Montreal.

Jacques-de-Lesseps observatory park

 Address: Jacques de Lesseps park

If you want to plane spot with comfort, we suggest going straight to Jacques-de-Lesseps park. After driving around different plane spots around Montréal-Trudeau airport we can say with confidence that the park is the best. Yet, Jacques-de-Lesseps park is the official place spotting location for aircraft fans. Moreover, the park is the perfect place to spend a day with the whole family. On a sunny summer day, you can see some visitors under tents or just sitting on folding chairs.

Why is Jacques-de-Lesseps Observatory park so special for the plane spotting? The biggest advantage of the park is its location facing the runway 06R-24L. So you can always watch aircraft either at the full speed while taking off, or flying very low while landing. 

We have been to the park Jacques-de-Lesseps to plane spot both in the morning and in the afternoon. At any time of the day, you can take amazing shots of the aircraft with your photo camera. No drones are allowed.

 Did you know?

Jacques-de-Lesseps park was designed and build for the plane spotting, and it was opened in May 2012 to commemorate Montréal-Trudeau airport 70th birthday.

 Pros

  • Close to the fence there is a mound to take pictures with an unobstructed view. 
  • Plenty of benches.
  • You can bring your pet. We have not noticed any “No Pets Allowed” signs. 
  • Parking along the street.
  • There is a washroom.

 Cons

  • Pretty crowded location.
  • No shade! On a hot sunny day do not forget your sun cream.

Once in June 2019 while plane spotting at park Jacques de Lesseps, we noticed one IL-76 with the Russian flag on the tail. It was unusual because there are no direct passenger flights between Montreal and any Russian cities. In the meantime, as we see some cargo aircraft are traveling between Canada and Russia.

Field at the end of avenue Jenkins

 Address: The end of avenue Jenkins  

We had discovered that location for the plane spotting even before we knew about Jacques-de-Lesseps park. In the beginning, we thought that this point was the main plane spot. We were surprised why so few people coming there. We should admit the landscape around is scaring. However, what we like about that wild field is you can plane spot sitting in a car with a cup of coffee or tea. That’s why we come here in winter.

From that spot, you can watch aircraft taxiing and acceleration before taking off.

 Pros

  • You can plane spot sitting in a car.
  • Not crowded.

 Cons

  • Absolutely “wild” place (perhaps, for now, you never know).
  • In winter the ground is covered by snow and ice. In another season, either dusty or muddy. 
  • The fence might disturb. You may need a small ladder or maybe not if you drive a Ford-150 for example:-)

Parking lot on the Avenue Chartier

 Address: Parking lot on the avenue Chartier

The Parking lot on the avenue Chartier is regular parking lot for employees of nearby companies. We have not tried to plane spot in the middle of weekday. But we suppose it is better not to. 

From the plane spotting point of view, the difference between that place and the one at avenue Jenkins is that here you can see the moment when a plane is taking off.

 Pros

  • You can plane spot sitting in a car.

 Cons

  • The fence might disturb.

The Pitfield Circle 

 Address: The Piffield Circle

The Piffield Circle is a dead-end of the Pitfield boulevard. That spot is located within 10-15 of driving from the three spots we have already told. At the Piffield Circle you can get an amazing view of the planes landing on 06L-24R runway in the afternoon.

Usually, huge transatlantic aircraft arrive in Montreal in the afternoon. When a plane flies overhead, it seems you can touch it. By the power of emotions, the Pitfield Circle is the best!

 Pros

  • Plane is flying overhead very low.

 Cons

  • The fence disturbs. The ladder is needed.
  • Pretty noisy because of low flying planes.
  • Good spot only for the plane landing.
  • View disturbed by electricity poles and cables.

Valois Bay park

 Address: Valois Bay park

Valois Bay park is located in the Pointe-Claire city (west of Montreal Island) on along the scenic Lakeshore Drive. Valois Bay park is facing St. Lawrence River and in half an hour’s drive from Jacques de Lesseps Park.

Valois Bay park is a typical park where local people spend their time. We discovered the park while our bicycle trip along the western part of the island of Montreal. We stopped at the Valois Bay park for a break and to enjoy an incredible view on St. Lawrence River. While enjoying the silence, we were surprised to hear growing noise behind us. When we turned around, we saw a huge aircraft taking off above the houses and trees. We stayed in Valois Bay park for more than half an hour watching the plane flying away over the river.

 Pros

  • You can combine a bike trip with the plane spotting.
  • No ladder needed.
  • Nice place to spend with the family.

 Cons

  • Not interesting in the winter time.
  • Hard (very hard) to find parking close by.

For sure, there many other plane spots. For example, we drove to the opposite side of Montreal airport (06L-24R runaway) to watch planes at Chemin St Francois

However, that point has the same issue as most of plane spots around the airport – you need a ladder to be over the fence.

Here are our top 5 plane spots.

Almost forgot to tell you – all plane spots are absolutely free!

We are still looking for a spot to take a photo of the moment when a landing plane touches the runaway. If you have already taken the photos like that, we will appreciate if you share in comments below. Or if you know other good plane spots and not necessary in Montreal, it will be great if you share.

We wish you all to have a great flight!

P.S. Next times while your landing or taking off from Montreal, have a look in a window – there is a chance “somebody is watching you” 🙂

 Useful links 

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