Hiking Guide: Montagne Noire
Are you ready for another COC hike? This Sunday, October 17th, we're headed to Montagne Noire for the first time in 2021! Nestled a couple of hours up north, Montagne Noire has some tough hiking but unique landmarks—including a Lost-style plane crash site—that make it all worth it. ✈️
At 892 metres high, Montagne Noire is one of the highest mountains you can find on a COC trip. Our tickets are sold out this time around, but keep tabs on our socials for the next one! You'll have even more time to plan and daydream about the stunning views that the Montagne Noire area has to offer.
How Do I Get There?
Montagne Noire is by Saint-Donat, which is around an hour and a half to two hours driving, depending on traffic. It's around the same area as Mont Tremblant and the Centre de Plein Air de l'UQAM, so if you've been out there before, you already have a good sense of what the trip there is like.
If you have COC trip tickets, congrats, your transportation is included! Otherwise, you can grab a friend with a car and drive up on your own. If you need to take a bus, you can also check out CRT Lanaudière's Route 125, which will take you to Saint-Donat (but not to the trailhead). This option is going to take around one more hour than driving would, and it'll cost you around $20.
What Do I Bring?
Since Montagne Noire is, if you can believe it, a mountain, you should prepare for an intense hike. Wear shoes that you can rely on to be comfortable all day. No matter the time of year, you'll want to wear light layers (think a thin t-shirt, long sleeve, and packable jacket) so you can adjust accordingly when you start sweating.
As for food, you'll need to pack your own stuff—unlike Tremblant or other frequented spots, you won't find any cafes or little panini shops or wherever the kids go these days. Bring enough human fuel to get you through the day plus a snack for a friend. And as always, don't forget water!
If you still aren't sure exactly what else to bring, check out our comprehensive hiking guide for newbies! We'll make sure you won't look like a fool out there (and even if you do, you're not alone).
What Can I Do There?
Obviously, there are a few great hikes in the Montagne Noire area where you can reach the summit. What makes this place unique is that it has a lookout tower that you can climb up for an even better view. You can get a full 360-degree perspective of the summit! All it takes is a few extra stairs (okay, more than a few 😅).
Montagne Noire also houses the crash site of an old airplane called the Liberator Harry, which went down in 1943. It was actually considered missing for over two years before the wreckage was found. The site is pretty special to look at (and might give you the spooks, but it's October, so that's only fair). This isn't a formal essay and you don't have to cite your sources, so take a look at the Wikipedia page if you want to learn more about the history.
Best Montagne Noire Hikes
Montagne Noire has pretty straightforward trails compared to some other locations, but this does mean that there are fewer options for routes. You can take a look at the trail map (and print it out for extra points) before you go to get a sense of the area. You should also keep it open if you want to follow along with the suggested hikes below because the names don't quite match up with AllTrails and we're just making it up as we go.
The "COC Hikemaster 3000" Route
This is the ideal route if you want a decent hike while hitting all the main sights of Montagne Noire. It's just around 10 kilometres and you'll be able to hit both the plane crash ruins and the summit of the mountain. It's a win-win situation with lots to see, lots to do, and lots of uphill. This is the COC recommended trail, so follow us and we'll show you the way!
The "Mom, Pick Me Up, I'm Scared" Route
If you're not a huge hiker or you just want something moderate for the day, try this route. At just over seven kilometres, it's still a good way to go to spend some time in the sweet fresh air and see a lookout or two. If you want something more exciting, you can also take a quick detour up to Lac Crystal or Lac Lézard!
The "Yeah I Work Out, Haha Is It Obvious" Route
If you've got quads for days and you're here to impress, this is the longest route on Montagne Noire for you. Take the long (16-kilometre) way around, why not? NOTE: We would advise against doing this hike on a COC trip unless you can teleport or run very fast without getting tired. It will take too long and we will leave without you, no survivors.
As per usual, keep up with our Facebook and Instagram if you want to learn about our upcoming events! We'll be posting about our November hikes soon, so don't miss out on the last of the fall colours. 🍂 Hope to see you there!