Duvernay Woods are one of those places that only reveal their secrets at certain times of the year. In winter, thanks to a collaboration between local farmers and the Coureurs de Boisés, these woods are the official training ground for the Canadian Ski Marathon: its cross-country skiing network is almost entirely located on private land. In winter, trails are prohibited for hikers. Thanks to the ice and snow that form a floor on the ground and bridges over the irrigation canals, the roads that skiers go through in winter are very different from those that hikers can travel when the snow disappears.
However, there is a short window of time during which hikers can walk on the winter tracks: in Spring, when the tracks are closed due to the fact that ice and snow start to melt. Then it is still possible to walk the ski routes and enjoy the views that are normally forbidden to hikers. Jeff and I went there on Easter’s Eve. Bois Duvernays is located in Laval, not far from Papineau Avenue (about 30 minutes from the island of Montreal).
Most of the ski trails wind through the trees. From thick woods to tunnels in between the fields, the trails offer a wide variety of views. The departure for all the tracks is common, then it forks on different paths.
We followed The black trail, then we have taken the red, with a detour towards the belvedere.
During the last part of the path, with the sun high and a pleasant temperature of 3 degrees, we took advantage of the rare view of melting snow, forming temporary currents that flow under the layer of ice that still covers the ground.