Among the outdoor activities that have become popular in recent years, trail running offers the possibility for everyone to reconnect with nature at their own pace, motivated by different goals. As a trail running enthusiast in the Mont-Tremblant area, I am pleased to share my experience with you while suggesting some itineraries to get you started on the trails.
Having fun while training (and vice versa!)
We often hear that running is repetitive and monotonous. It may be true… but not on the trails! While road running is often associated with performance, trail running is also about taking time to slow down and look up at the trees, observe wildlife and, of course, enjoy the views (the reward!). I often refer to it as “high-pace hiking”, the ideal compromise for me to discover the surrounding’s beauty.
Above all, trail running perfectly awakens all the senses. When you run on trails, you must adapt to the terrain by varying your pace and playing with the elements: rocks, roots, puddles and even tree trunks are visible obstacles that, while they may seem inconvenient, are a lot of fun to jump over. Let the flow of the trails lull you and don’t be afraid to blend in with the elements!
Even if you are moving fast through the mountains, you will soon notice that looking at your watch will not be a priority. In the steepest sections, it’s even better to alternate running and fast walking to lower your heart rate and save your energy. Your legs will thank you… until the next climb! A shorter stride, close to the ground, will also give you more endurance. If you’re going for longer than an hour, make sure to bring water and nutritious food (gels, banana, bars) to keep your energy level up.
Did you know that the end of the day is the optimal time for our bodies to provide sustained physical effort? It is also the ideal time to see the sun go down on the trees, shining through the branches, while the wildlife quietly appears… what better way to disconnect (reconnect?) after a day of work!
If you’re interested in gaining elevation, the trail network on the mountain managed by Mont Tremblant Resorts and Company is a must with several options to reach the summit. Check out the interactive map to see the status of the trails.
For a quick introduction to trail running, I suggest you take Les Ruisseaux, a 2 km mini-loop that takes you on a stroll at the bottom of the mountain. Then test yourself on a more difficult 6 km loop, starting on Vertigo and then joining the Canada Cup Criterium Trail (shared with mountain biking). You’ll face some good technical sections and enjoy refreshing water stops.
For more experienced runners who are comfortable on wilder trails, I suggest a 15 km loop via Johannsen Peak (930 m altitude, 650 m Elevation+). This progressive ascent to the highest peak of the region will start directly from the pedestrian village (via the Vertigo trail). You will then continue on Les Sommets, flying over Edge Peak and a unique view of the North Side, before starting a quick descent by the Sasquatch – a local favourite on the South Side.
If you want to go even farther, note that it is possible to reach Mont-Tremblant National Park from Johannsen Peak. Following the direction of the Toit-des-Laurentides trail, you will arrive at the starting point of the Centenaire loop (9 km), located in the Diable sector. Although the national park has a large network of trails, most of them are not very technical because they are designed for cross-country skiing. Choose this peaceful haven for long endurance outings across lakes and rivers!
On Mount Tremblant, you can also take on the official and marked courses of La Classique Salomon Tremblant (5 km, 10 km, 20 km and 30 km). Having participated in each edition, I can confirm that they offer an excellent technical challenge and an unusual positive elevation. The event is usually held in mid-October and should be back in 2021…
Finally, from the resort but also from the old village of Mont-Tremblant, the mountain bike trails (shared with walkers) are a good alternative for a rolling outing, not very technical, but still hilly. I recommend an 8 km loop along the Cachée River and the Diable River (Lynx/ Chouette/ Boneyard/ P’tite Cachée/ Sciotte/ Truite).
Coming to the area soon?
Come run with the locals on Tuesday during lunch time for an hour of fun on the trails. Follow the FB page for announcements.
For advice on equipment, I recommend a visit at the Salomon Tremblant specialty store, which has the brand’s reference products. Located directly on the resort, it is the beginning of your adventure!
Cover photo by Alex C.D Photography.
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