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Cherry Lake in Mont Orford national park

Cherry Lake in Mont Orford national park

Mont Orford is the highest peak and the largest national park in the Eastern Townships. It’s run by the Sépaq so has all the standard facilites including parking, a visitor centre, camp sites and trails.

 

In addition to the national park, the mountain also has an area reserved for alpine skiing, and when there is no snow, gondola rides in the cable car.

The national park has several walking trails of different difficulty, although there is not a vast choice compared to other parks. I have the feeling that this park really comes to life during the winter when there are several cross-country skiing and racket trails.

At this moment in time, the change in the colour of leaves is absolutely spectacular throughout the park and in the surrounding area.

Just outside the Sépaq park is the Ski Centre Orford which is set up for skiing on Mont Orford, but during the summer offers hiking trails up to the summet of the mountain. The easy trail is about 4km long. There is also the gondola cable car which will take you up to the top for the modest fee of $6.50 plus tax.

The nearest town is Orford, but Magog is near by too and has many more hotels, restaurants and shops so makes a good base for exploring the mountain and indeed the rest of the Eastern Townships.

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The sun was shining, it’s the weekend, what’s more Canadian that escaping the city to find the countryside? With that in mind we ventured out of Montréal to the Eastern Townships (Cantons de l’Est or Estrie in French). Not really knowing them too well, we chose Magog, one of the better known towns.

Magog is on the Northern edge of lake Memphrémagog who’s southern end stretches into the US. It’s a quaint and very touristic town, really with one main street full of cafés, restaurants, ice-cream parlours and clothes shops. Really nice for lunch and a mooch around. 

Walking along the main street you come to the lake. There’s a nice big childrens’ playground with is very well maintained (like all I’ve seen in Canada). In the same area there are lots of picnic tables, trees for shade and groups of Canadians meeting up with friends. 

Walking a bit further, you come to the small stretches of beach. The sand is quite coarse and dark, but it’s sand and when the sun is shining, the lake’s water lapping in your ears, it’s great. The kids love paddling there too. Magog even provide life-guards!

There are lots of bikes around Magog and their occupants seem to love peddling gently along the promenade which is split between pedestrians and cyclists.

Walk a bit further and you’ve left town! Well, not quite. On the edge of Magog is the infotourist cabin. It’s well worth stopping off and having a look at what’s on offer. It’s well stocked with leaflets and the staff are very friendly.

Of course the main attraction in the Magog area is the Mont Orford national park, but that will be for another post.

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