Located between Québec’s two major urban hubs, Montreal and Québec City, Mauricie and Lanaudière is a vast region where visitors come to disconnect and get away from it all. Here, natural landscapes reign supreme with picture perfect scenery and dense, untouched forests begging to be explored any season of the year. Full immersion of the region is the only way to experience it and while most will flock here during the warmer months, winter brings a unique sense of beauty to the area. To get the most out of Mauricie and Lanaudière, here are five winter activities to try in the region.
1. Winter Hiking
With 2 national parks, 15 regional parks, and 3 wildlife reserves, there is no shortage of hiking options in Mauricie and Lanaudière. In the winter months, many of the trails are still accessible and it’s recommended you use either snowshoes or crampons, the latter being less obtrusive and cumbersome. At the La Mauricie National Park, you have 8 trails to choose from ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert levels and covering distances from 3km all the way up to 17km. The trails take you past frozen waterfalls and lakes, and give you incredible viewpoints along the way.
Cycling isn’t just reserved for the warmer months anymore. Over the past couple of years, fatbiking has been gaining popularity as biking enthusiasts extend their riding season into the winter months. Using a specially designed bike with a lighter frame and wide tires with deep treads, riders can now navigate snow-covered trails. La Mauricie National Park allows fatbiking on two of their snowshoeing trails and campground roadways. Fatbiking has a very different feeling than your regular bicycle, so it’s highly recommended you practice on wide roadways before hitting the mountain biking trails.
3. Ski Plane
To get a really unique perspective on the region and to see just how vast it is, hop on a ski plane and get the ultimate view from the air. In a small, four-seater Cessna, you’ll speed down a frozen lake before soaring above the region. From this vantage point there’s nothing but dark green forests and snow-covered lakes below. Hydravion Aventure runs scenic flights year-round and offers 30-min and 1-hour long flights.
Have you dreamed about being a musher and leading your own dogsled? Then head to the Auberge du Vieux-Moulin in Lanaudière and live out those dreams! Located among the mountains, your team of 6 dogs will guide you along the trail as you weave your way up and down through the forest. While dogsledding can be a peaceful and relaxing experience if you’re the one sitting in the sled, keep in mind that it can be a physically taxing job as the driver.
5. Ice Fishing
There are over 30,000 lakes in Mauricie and Lanaudière, which means once those lakes freeze over, there’s ample selection for ice fishing. At the Pourvoirie du Lac Blanc, you can head out for the morning learning how to ice fish. At the nearby Rock Lake, a guide will show you how to fish for trout using a simple wooden rod and fishing line. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take long before you feel a little tug on the line and reel in your first catch of the day. The guide will then take all the fish caught, clean them, and cook them on an open fire in a skillet with vegetable oil right on the edge of the lake. Fish doesn’t get any fresher than this!
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