Mount Royal rises right on the edge of Downtown Montréal. It is this mountain, or hill depending on how you look at it, that has given the city of Montréal its name. The mountain, with its peak at 233 meters above sea level, could almost be considered the central park of Montréal. Upon entering the park city life soon feels distant. It’s not until you arrive at the viewpoints that you understand how close the highrise buildings actually are. That is until a squirrel leads your attention in another direction once more.
Hiking to the Top of Mount Royal
From our Airbnb accommodation in Saint Henri, we took the metro to the stop Mount Royal. From here it was just a short walk before we entered the park. There were large paths leading through the area and several smaller ones that functioned as shortcuts. Finding the correct path turned out to be a bit challenging as there really is a maze of them with very few guiding signs. We took the paths leading up-hill, in that way making sure that we always got closer to the top.
It was, however, first when we reached a long staircase that we could start to gain proper altitude. Don’t ask us where it was, we wouldn’t be able to tell. However, there were plenty of other visitors there with us. What we do know is that it took us almost all the way to the top plateau. It was just a shorter walk along the edge until we reached the first viewpoint out over downtown Montréal.
Enjoying the Views from Mount Royal
I must say, that there are only two things that would attract me to Mount Royal. The first one is nature and the silence compared to the big city. Secondly, the views really are spectacular. These reasons do, however, make it worth the climbing of stairs to the top. When the wall of leaves opens up and frames the highrise buildings of Montréal, that is a view worth the effort of getting there.
We were soon back on the wider path that formed the long route up the hillside. This path took us to what is probably the main attraction. That is the Chalet du Mont-Royal or the Mount Royal Chalet in English. This cottage, that would probably be better described as a mansion, dates back to 1932. Its huge outdoor terrace overlooks Downtown Montréal and is probably one of the best viewpoints out over the city. The building also houses a café.
After a coffee break and before walking back down the hill we looked around the area at the top. Except for the chalet, there really isn’t much to see except nature. There are a few telecom antennas and one giant steel cross. The Mount Royal Cross was erected in 1924 and is around 31 meters high.
Descending the Hill back to Downtown
Are you of the opinion that it is easier to walk downhill than uphill? I’m usually the one to consider it harder to walk downhill as you always need to break the speed that you otherwise would build up. Our walk down took us along the smaller paths directly towards Downtown. We eventually got out of the forest in a fancy looking neighborhood close to McGill University.
We will continue our trip, read more about our adventure in North America here >>