This was my third time visiting Montreal (despite living next door) and subsequently my third time climbing up Mount Royal, or Parc du Mont-Royal as the French would say. Not only is it completely free, but it’s a great way to get out of the city centre without having to hop in a car. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Montreal below. Whether you’re there in the winter or summer, climbing up Mount Royal should be high up on your to-do list.
How to get up to Mount Royal (Parc du Mont-Royal)
To get to the starting point of the trail, head up to the intersection of Pine Avenue West and Peel Street, minutes from the downtown core.
There are two ways you can head up to the top: one is a direct route that will take you straight up and the other is a much longer route that winds around the mountain. If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a run, and have a few hours to kill (and if it’s not 20 below 0 outside!), then take your time while heading up. There are a tonne of trails that surround the mountain, and, while I haven’t actually gone this way, seem very straightforward to follow.
If you’re pressed for time, take the direct trail that goes straight up to the top of the mountain. Give or take, this route should take about 30 minutes to reach the top.
Why it’s worth the climb up
Once at the top, you’ll see a large viewing area that will likely be crowded with dozens of other tourists. To avoid the crowd, try to come at an off-peak time (early morning, during the week, later at night, etc.). We made it to the top just as the sun was beginning to set and although it was busy, we managed to get a bit of space to ourselves to enjoy the views and take some photos.