Outdoor Activities in and Around Montreal

Information about some of the most popular outdoor activities in the Montreal region…

Did You Know?

  • There are over 200 islands in the Montreal Islands group (also known as the Hochelaga Archipelago). Montreal is the biggest island covering an area of 499 Km2
  • It snows an average of 60 days per year and the record snowfall for one day was over 45cm on 27 December 2012
  • Temperatures can drop below -30ºC in winter and rise above 35ºC in the summer
  • In the winter months there are over 200 Km of cross country skiing trails around the city. There are also many outdoor ice skating circuits
  • Although not a mountainous region, there are several popular ski resorts within one hour's drive from the city
  • Montreal is regularly voted as one of the best cycling cities in North America, with more than 350 Km of dedicated cycle paths
  • No building in the city is allowed to be taller than the cross on Mount Royal

With many parks and open spaces, an island location and four distinct seasons, Montreal is ideal for different outdoor activities all year round.

Below is some basic information on some of the most popular outdoor activities in the region, and how to get involved.

Cycling

There has been much development of cycle routes, paths and roadways over the last 20 years. There are now more than 350 Km of dedicated and well-marked cycle routes in the region, including the Route Verte which crosses the city, linking up with some 5,000 Km of cycle trails across Québec.

There are many well equipped cycle shops and bicycle manufacturers in the region. For bicycle rental there are two main options:

  1. Renting a bike from one of the many bicycle shops around the city. This is the best option for sightseeing, and many of the rental shops also organise guided tours or can recommended sightseeing routes. See the Business Directory for Bike Hire, Scooter & Cycle Rental
  2. Renting a bike using the BIXI system. For further information see the Guide on the BIXI Bike System

Some of the most popular cycle routes in the city are around Mount Royal Park and along the Lachine Canal. However, there are many routes across the island and maps are available to help cyclists find them and plan their rides.

  • PédalMontréal is an interactive map showing the cycle lanes and paths around the city along with a key indicating the different types of paths used
  • The Bonjour Québec website has useful information on cycle routes around the province, and also guides on cycle-friendly accommodation
  • Vélo Québec is a non-profit organisation that encourages cycling for recreation, tourism and general active transport. The website has links to their cycle travel agency, events calendar, maps and more bicycle related information

Walking and Running

With a huge selection of parks, cycle paths and open spaces, Montreal has unlimited options for running, jogging or leisurely walks. All of the city's parks have various paved routes for pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, there are many running and walking groups and clubs for both social and serious runners.

Boating and Water Sports

Although the boating season in Montreal is relatively short, generally May to September, it is very popular in the region due to the wealth of places to go and see. There are many waterside bars and even some sandy beaches to stop off at.

There are many marinas around the region for sailing and motor boats, and some have boats available to rent.

Other water sports that can be carried out are waterskiing, canoeing, kayaking, jet boating, rafting and body surfing on the Lachine Rapids, jet skiing and swimming.

Beaches

There are four beaches on the island of Montreal, three of which are accessible by public transport.

  • Montreal Plage Doré is located on Île Notre-Dame. With grass and sand areas for sunbathing this is a popular location, with facilities for picnicking, roller blading, swimming and more
  • Clock Tower Beach is sandy beach in the Old Port area, with sun loungers, parasols and misting stations for cooling off on the hotter days. Swimming is not permitted here
  • Cap St. Jacques Nature Park beach is situated on the west end of Pierrefonds
  • Plage du Bois de l'Île Bizard is a well sheltered and picturesque beach away from urban life. There are plenty of trails for walking and sheltered waters for swimming

Other beaches can be found on Laval and on the north and south shores.

Parks

There are 17 municipal parks on the Island of Montreal and each one has a range of organised activities throughout the year. All the parks are well maintained with plenty of open spaces and paths for dog walking, running, roller-blading and cycling. Some parks also have open facilities for sports such as tennis, cricket and baseball.

In the winter most parks have cross country ski trails and some have ice rinks and circuits for casual ice skating. Parks with a hill often have designated sledding runs, and those without a hill will often make one by piling up the snow.

  • For more information about the parks on the Island of Montreal, including links to events schedules: Click here
  • For information about the parks and green spaces on the Island of Laval: Click here

Skiing

There are some ski resorts within driving distance from the City. Mont Tremblant and Mont Saint-Sauveur are two of the better known resorts and are an easy drive up Highway 15 to the north. There are also several resorts to the southeast in the Eastern Townships area.

  • For information about ski resorts in Québec: Click here
  • For information about ski resorts near Montreal: Click here
  • For general information about downhill skiing and snowboarding in Québec: Click here
  • For information about cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Québec and areas around Montreal: Click here

Ice Skating

During the winter months there are many outdoor rinks around the city. Many of the larger ponds and lakes are cleared of snow and open to the public for skating.

  • For information about outdoor skating rinks: Click here

ATV and Snowmobile

ATVing is a popular sport throughout the year in Québec. There are approximately 17,000 Km of marked and maintained trails in the province and plenty of these are within easy reach of Montreal on both the north and south shores.

Snowmobiles are popular during the winter months and these can generally follow the same trails as ATVs.

Golf

There are a number of options for golfers in Montreal with driving ranges and courses to suite every level and budget, as well as Links and PGA championship courses.

There are even indoor and virtual golf centers for those that want to practice their swing during the winter months.