Ahead of my second weekend in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, I picked
up a rental car on the afternoon of 10 June 2016. Taking advantage
of some nice weather, I drove out after dinner to nearby Mont Saint-Grégoire
for an evening hike. Mont Saint-Grégoire is one of several forested
hills, known collectively as the Monteregian Hills, that dot the
landscape east of Montreal (within the Montreal city limits, Mount Royal
is also considered part of this group). While there is a good
trail that runs all the way to the summit of Mont Saint-Grégoire, it is a
bit tricky to find since it does not start directly from the parking lot
on the southwest side of the mountain. A number of other trails
head off in different directions from the parking lot, and it can be
confusing deciding which one to take. The trailhead map is largely
useless especially for Anglophones like myself, and in the end, I simply
picked one of the trails and started hiking. The trail I picked
soon petered out, and I scrambled uphill until I intersected the obvious
main trail which leads to the summit. Further up, I lost the main
trail after making a wrong turn at a junction, but another short stretch
of off-trail scrambling popped me out of the forest and onto the summit.
Given the number of vehicles that I saw in the parking lot, it was odd
that I had the summit all to myself; it is quite possible that the
parking lot is actually meant for the Érablière Charbonneau (some sort of
maple syrup resort) across the road. My timing was also impeccable
as I arrived just in time to witness a beautiful sunset. When the
sun finally disappeared over the horizon, I descended the main trail and
followed it all the way down to a partially hidden locked gate beside the
access road (Chemin du Sous-Bois). I hopped the fence here and
hiked back to the parking lot about 200 metres up the road.
||Mont Saint-Grégoire rises above the
||The map near the parking lot shows a number of
trails crisscrossing the mountain.
||Sonny hikes through a boulder-strewn
||Mont Saint-Grégoire still harbours
some old industrial artifacts.
||Stairs provide an easy way up.
||Sonny stands on the summit of Mont
Saint-Grégoire (251 metres).
||Mont Saint-Grégoire is an island in a
sea of farmland.
||A clearing at the summit grants this
view of Mont Saint-Hilaire to the north.
Sonny jumps over the setting sun near the top of Mont