With its 261-hectare extension, Pointe-Aux-Praries Nature Park gathers the Rivière-des-Prairies Park, Pointe-aux-Trembles Park and Bois-de-la-Réparation Park. It is located at the Easternmost point of the Island of Montreal and it includes swamps, prairies and forests. As the parc is so large, the best way to visit it is by bike. For our first visit, we went by bus for a hike, so we have only visited the three smaller sectors: the River sector, the Heritage Forest sector and Bois-de-la-Réparation.
The River sector is the smallest of the sectors, but it is well worth a visit. You enter via an opening on Sherbrooke Est, through a lane lined with flowers. The lane eventually rolls through the swamps, crosses the train railway and eventually ends to the Saint Lawrence river.
To access the Heritage Forest sector you need to go back to Sherbrooke Est, cross it, and follow a large lane that leads to the Chalet. Here you can drink something or buy some snacks, and then continue your hike to the forest. The woods offer shade and freshness, and are home to many interesting birds. That was the first time I saw a wood-pecker and it was quite an exciting encounter. If you go during less busy times of day, you will also be able to see the deer that live in the forest.
This sector takes its name from a Church located inside the forest. To get there you need to go through a swamp, leave the wooden area and walk along a gravelled trail surrounded by a flower field. Then, you will find yourself in the forest again…
At the end of our hike we had walked a bit more than 10 km but we still hadn’t seen a lot. Friendly advise: if it’s a hot day you will need a lot of water and hats.
Addendum: we have returned to the park by bike at the end of June 2019, and we’ve had a completely different experience, for the better! The park is very bike friendly. You can see the video here!