Montreal's Best Cross-Country Skiing Trails

people cross country skiing in montreal

Linda Raymond/Getty Images

An affordable, easy to learn activity, cross country skiing ("ski de fond" in French) is a great winter sport suitable for all ages, and Montreal is crawling with nearly 200 km of trails. Cross-country skiing season is from roughly mid-December to mid-March, which can vary every year as it's contingent on weather conditions. Be sure to check trail conditions beforehand.

Note that park equipment rental offices, bathrooms, and locker rooms are closed on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day in Montreal.

If traveling to Montreal, consider staying at the best Montreal winter hotels. They're perfect accommodations for the season.

  • 01 of 18
    cross country skiing montreal

    Dough MacKinlay/Getty Images

    Montreal's best-known park is a winter wonderland with trails suitable for beginners as well as a little something for more advanced enthusiasts: cross-country ski possibilities involving sharper inclines. Centrally located and easy to get to with public transit.

    • Trails: 22 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 02 of 18
    Parc Jean-Drapeau winter

    ohbernadine/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Parc Jean-Drapeau is a little too level for my daredevil tastes but the park offers great trails for families. Note that ski rentals are only available at Parc Jean-Drapeau on weekends from January 20 to February 11, 2018.

    • Trails: 4 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 03 of 18
    Lachine Canal attractions include cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

    Matias Garabedian/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Cross-country ski session doesn't get more uneventful than the Lachine Canal's 6 ​kilometers of trails running from Lasalle through St. Henri. I wouldn't even count on a mogul. We're talking flat. Lovely view of the canal though. A great trail for beginners and families.

    • Trails: 6 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: No
    • Food/vending machines: No
  • 04 of 18

    Parc-nature Bois-de-Liesse

    A beautiful nature park in northwest Montreal, Parc-nature Bois-de-Liesse proposes trails with varying degrees of difficulty and some of the most visually appealing trail scenery in Montreal. Both Pitfield and Des Champs reception chalets invite visitors to heat up by their fireplaces.

    • Trails: 18 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
    Continue to 5 of 18 below.
  • 05 of 18
    Montreal Botanical Gardens in winter

    Photo- Joanne Levesque/Getty Images

    One of the largest botanical gardens in the world lends its dormant outdoor grounds to cross-country skiers come winter, free of charge.

    • Trails: 10 km of trails shared with Parc Maisonneuve
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 06 of 18

    A sizable urban park adjacent to the Montreal Botanical Gardens and across the street from the Olympic Stadium and the Biodome, Parc Maisonneuve's trails are adapted for classic as well as skate skiing techniques. Its characteristically flat trails are perfect for beginners.

    • Trails: 10 km of trails shared with the Montreal Botanical Garden
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 07 of 18

    Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies

    Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies

    guizmo_68/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     

    A borderline bird sanctuary, Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies is the most likely park in Montreal to spot deer while discovering enough trail to keep you on your skis the whole day.

    • Trails: 23.5 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 08 of 18

    Possibly the eeriest and most enchanting of Montreal's large parks, it's unfortunately also the most difficult one to reach by public transit.

    • Trails: 20 km of trails (3 beginner trails, 1 intermediate)
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • 09 of 18

    Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation

    A riverside park on Montreal's north shore, Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation is the only large nature park in Montreal where you can unwind at the end of a day of skiing with cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres, on site.

    • Trails: 8 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 10 of 18
    Parc nature du Cap St-Jacques

    abdallahh/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     

    Montreal's largest park also features the most extensive cross-country ski setup in the city with generally level, novice-friendly trails.

    • Trails: 32 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 11 of 18

    Morgan Arboretum

    Morgan Arboretum

    Robbie Sproule/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     

    The Morgan Arboretum is a picturesque cross-country skiing option ideal for beginners and the whole family. One caveat: it's out of the way by public transit.

    • Trails: 15 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Call for details
  • 12 of 18

    Parc René-Lévesque

    Parc René-Lévesque

    abdallahh/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     

    A peninsular park linked to the Lachine Canal, overlooking the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Louis near the Lachine Museum. Area doubles as one of the most beautiful bike paths in North America according to TIME Magazine.

    • Trails: 4 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Not in the winter
    • Food/vending machines: No
    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • 13 of 18

    Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci/Île Perry

    A neighborhood riverside park in the northern district of Ahuntsic frequented by locals more so than visitors from out of town.

    • Trails: 4.7 km of trails
    • Bathrooms/Facilities: No
    • Food/vending machines: No
  • 14 of 18

    Parc Angrignon

    Parc Angrignon

     Aurélien Adoue/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    A large, mildly manicured park easily accessible by public transit. Trails adapted for classic as well as skate skiing techniques.

    • Trails: 9.5 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 15 of 18

    Sharing space with circus city La TOHU, the St. Michel Environmental Complex's complete transformation from landfill to 192 acres of park is slated for 2020. A large portion has already been turned into green space, used for a variety of team sports and family-friendly activities including cross-country skiing.

    • Trails: 5 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 16 of 18

    Parc Thomas-Chapais

    Parc Thomas-Chapais

    abaWEB/Flickr/

    CC BY 2.0

     

    A patch of country in the middle of the city, in Montreal East's Tétraultville.

    • Trails: 1.3 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: No
    • Food/vending machines: No
    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • 17 of 18

    Parc de la Promenade Bellerive

    Bordering the St. Lawrence River, Parc de la Promenade Bellerive is a gorgeous park in southeast Montreal. The cross-country ski trail is right by the water.

    • Trails: 3.8 km of trails
    • Bathrooms: Yes
    • Food/vending machines: Yes
  • 18 of 18
    William Cosgrove Centennial Park

    Michel Rathwell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     

    Dollard-des-Ormeaux's largest park is open to cross-country skiing.

    • Trails: Call for details
    • Bathrooms: Call for details
    • Food/vending machines: Call for details