Should You Go Camping at Mont-Tremblant during COVID?

I'm not going to judge Québec for how quickly they are reopening their economy after a very strict lockdown and being hit pretty hard b...

I'm not going to judge Québec for how quickly they are reopening their economy after a very strict lockdown and being hit pretty hard by Covid-19, but for someone who live in Ontario, the difference in the reopening approaches between the two provinces seems very noticeable. When the right opportunity came, I didn't think twice before booking our first family camping of the year at Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. Incidentally, a camping in Ontario was not even possible in mid-June. Traveling to Québec brought a very nice and completely unexpected bonus: an ability to eat inside a restaurant even if it's only pizza and ice cream. Indoor dining has become a faraway luxury after the four months of a lockdown. If you're still questioning whether you should go camping to Mont-Tremblant or, frankly, any other provincial park in Québec, the answer is "Absolutely". Let me tell you why.

Parc national du Mont-Tremblant with its sparkling lakes, pristine rivers, sandy shores, delicate mountains, unspoiled forests, abundant wildlife, and rich history offers prime outdoor recreation opportunities for its visitors year-around. And the best way to experience them all is to stay within the park boundaries - in a tent or any other roofed accommodation. 
Located relatively close to two big cities (Montreal is only a 2-hour drive while Ottawa is just slightly farther away), the main park's attractions are very accessible. Yet the park seems worlds away. 
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant makes the oldest park in Québec. It was established in 1895, almost at the same time when Banff and Yoho National Parks in the Canadian Rockies and Algonquin Park in Ontario were created.
La Diable sector, where we camped, attracts most visitors to Parc national du Mont-Tremblant thanks to its good infrastructure such as campgrounds, rental facilities, interpretive trails, beaches and a nice discovery centre. Our campground (which I would definitely recommend) bears a funny name - "grenouille" or "frog" in English.
However, as funny as it sounds, the name makes total sense considering the number of bull frogs we saw. Well, almost frogs - babies that haven't yet developed legs and look more like fish. Have you ever try to catch them? A pretty fun activity.
What's interesting is that I was able to pick a nice campsite out of many available options in less than a week in advance. Our campground (and all other campgrounds in the area) however was fully occupied by Friday evening. 
Alright, the information you have probably been waiting for - what about the COVID-19 impact on the camping experience? I'll be very honest - it wasn't much different from our usual camping experience. Water taps, washrooms and showers were all open and well functioning, no closures of hiking or biking trails, a discovery centre welcomed visitors and even canoe, kayak and paddle-board rentals opened up during that weekend in mid-June. I'm glad that governments realized that camping overall is a pretty safe activity as being outdoors generally helps prevent spreading infections and maintaining social distancing is quite easy.
Some new, COVID-19 precautionary measures included hand sanitizers (I like the French spelling - "Anti-Microbe") at washrooms and garbage containers, fewer faucets at washrooms to enforce social distancing, new signs on busy hiking trails indicating traffic directions, and a limited number of visitors allowed at the discovery centre.
Hiking in the park is world-class. With relatively low effort, you can enjoy breathtaking vistas and beautiful waterfalls. I particularly liked three hiking trails - two of them are easy (La Chute-du-Diable and Le Lac-aux-Atocas) and one is moderate (La Roche).
La Chute-du-Diable, as the name suggests, takes you to the gorgeous and powerful Devil's waterfall. 1.6 km / 1 mile trail should take you less than an hour both ways including all photo stops.
Le Lac-aux-Atocas, another short (1.5 km / 0.9 mile) loop trail with a nice boardwalk, will showcase a dazzling lake, a charming stream and a picturesque wetland. Don't forget your mosquito repellent.
La Roche is a 5 km / 3 mile return trail (can be combined with La Corniche and La Coulée trails into a 10 km / 6 mile loop) is pretty strenuous, however the view from the top over Lake Monroe and surrounding mountains is well worth it. Consider hiking it early in the morning for the best experience and lesser crowds as the trails is pretty heavily travelled during the day.
It was my first time visiting Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, but certainly not the last. Now I know exactly what I want to do there when I come back:
  • Via Ferrata - a 3 to 5 hour journey along a vertical rock cliff using beams, footbridges, and one suspension bridge.
  • Kayak or canoe floating on the La Diable (Devil's) River.
  • Multi-day hut-to-hut backpacking.
  • One of the four canoe-camping trips into the wilderness. 
  • Cycling the 13 km / 8 mile La Bouche-des-Chutes-Croches loop trail around Lake Monroe.
As an added bonus to your camping trip, consider visiting and dining at the ski resort Mont-Tremblant. It's bustling even in the summer, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
What attracts people, mostly Montrealers, to the resort? Swiss-style colourful houses, nice restaurants, pubs and clubs, amazing views and a good selection of sport and recreational activities.
Mont-Tremblant is a cycling paradise, no kidding. One of the most popular biking trails in Canada - the 200 km / 124 mile long Le P'tit Train du Nord makes a midway point at Mont-Tremblant. Like many other biking trails in North America, this one was originally a railroad that was transformed to a trail after it became unprofitable. This one in particular was never profitable since it was built by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1890s.
Another popular activity in the area is riding a gondola to the summit. Unfortunately, it was closed in June 2020, however it can reopen any time, so check their website. The views must be amazing from the top.
Dining at the ski resort Mont-Tremblant was pretty special considering the four months of a lockdown. Basically, everything remain the same, except you are supposed to wash your hands (or at least use a hand sanitizer). It's mandatory and you'll be watched. Then, there is no paper menu. Instead, you will scan a barcode located at each table to get a menu from your phone or tablet. Most waiters wear a full face mask, but you don't have to as tables are spread further apart from each other. And last but not least, if you touch, let's say, another table, it will be disinfected before anyone else can sit there. Overall - a quite comfortable experience.
What else to do in the area? I suggest just hit the road at a leisurely pace for a chance to see a non-tourist Mont-Tremblant region with its grazing fields, lovely villages, covered bridges, tree-covered mountains, and enjoy very delicious and beautifully decorated ice cream. Looking for a recommendation? Crèmerie MaBel just off the route 117 and 323. 

You Might Also Like

0 comments