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. http://www.sepaq.com/
Sentier Inter-Centre (near St-Donat): http://www.intercentre.qc.ca/
Other trails and huts in the St-Donat network: https://clubpleinairsaint-donat.org/
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 Neuve): http://www.parcmontagnedudiable.com/
Mont Gosford: http://www.montgosford.com/hebergement
Refuge de l’Alpage (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts): http://www.clubpleinairsainteagathe.com/
Sentier des Caps (Charlevoix): http://www.sentierdescaps.com/hebergement-en-refuges/ It’s probably possible to get to this
hike by bus (Inter-Centre bus company 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 (Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard): http://www.geopleinair.com/destinations/Refuge-dans-les-Laurentides
Here are a few items to remember to bring during your trip:
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. Happy trails!