In Quebec we are fortunate to have an extensive
backcountry hut system. There are many huts you can get access by hiking,
snowshoeing or skiing, allowing you to spend an overnight or even several out
in the forest.
Generally, you’ll need to reserve these huts in
advance, sometimes many months in advance if it’s around the holiday season or
in a popular area. Huts typically cost between $22 and $35 per person per night
but this can vary. Sometimes you can reserve the whole hut; other times there
can be many groups in the same hut.
Huts in Quebec tend to be quite simple and rustic,
with an open, communal sleeping area, a wood stove, and a nearby outhouse. You
can often get water at a nearby stream or lake, or melt snow in winter. This
water should be treated before you drink it. Some huts provide a big pot to
facilitate melting snow, as well as a shovel. There are simple mattresses in
certain huts but you should ask ahead of time. In winter, some parks can
transport your bags from hut to hut for you for a (hefty) fee. There is usually
no electricity nor running water in huts.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some areas with
huts and trails in Quebec, of varying distances from Montreal. Always check the
distances between huts and remember that with a big heavy pack, you’ll probably
want to do fewer kilometers each day. Some huts are more remote than others.
Either way, prepare properly and tell someone where you are going and when you
plan to return.
The SÉPAQ, or Quebec park system, has many
hut to hut trails in various parks and reserves, such as Parc national du
mont-Tremblant, Parc national des monts Chics-chocs, Parc national de la
Jacques Cartier, Parc-national du fjord du Saguenay, Parc national des
Monts-Vallin, Réserve faunique Papineau-Labelle, and many others.
Sentier Inter-Centre (near St-Donat): http://www.intercentre.qc.ca/
Other trails and huts in the St-Donat network:
Parcs régionaux (MRC de la Matawinie): http://www.parcsregionaux.org/parcs-regionaux/hebergements/
Vallée Bras du Nord (Portneuf) : http://www.valleebrasdunord.com/refuge.php
Parc régional Montagne du Diable (Ferme
Mont Gosford: http://www.montgosford.com/hebergement
Refuge de l’Alpage (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts):
Sentier des Caps (Charlevoix): http://www.sentierdescaps.com/hebergement-en-refuges/
It’s probably possible to get to this
hike by bus (Inter-Centre to St-Tite-des-Caps).
Traversée de Charlevoix: http://www.traverseedecharlevoix.qc.ca/
Sentiers de l’Estrie: http://www.coopcdn-refuges.com/
Refuge Charles-D. Campbell
Here are a few items to remember to bring during
For the group: First aid kit, moleskin (to help
treat blisters), cooking pots, cooking stove, fuel, matches/lighter, emergency
blanket, cell phone or other communication device if there is no cell reception
(often there isn’t), compass, detailed map, garbage bags to carry everything
out, pills or filter to treat water, repair kit (duct tape, string, compact
tools), biodegradable dish soap, sponge, dish towel, candles, etc.
Personal: Food, snacks, water bottle, 50-70L
backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, raingear, warm clothing in layers, extra
socks, sunscreen, hat, mosquito repellant, toilet paper, earplugs (people snore
in these huts!), toiletries, medications, headlamp, walking poles, hiking
boots, bowl, mug, spoon, Swiss army knife, whistle, health insurance card, etc.
Pack light to have the most enjoyable experience.