Road Trip Across the Townships: 140 km of Trails, Mountain Biking and Alpacas

Published on Jun 16, 2021

My playground? 114 square kilometres occupied by a famous mountain, a multitude of hiking trails, mountain biking for all kinds of enthusiasts, green landscapes where horses, cows and sheep are grazing, a downtown as charming as it is dynamic and a pied-à-terre with everything right for greeting us and for our comfort. Welcome to Bromont!

By Isabelle Bergeron

I’ve come here dozens of times for their evening skiing, for the water park, for mountain biking at Bromont, montagne d’expériences (where I stop breathing every time I see my son tear down the trails), for the Fromagerie gourmande (our Sunday ritual after my daughter’s riding class), the vegan restaurant Gaïa (where I ate the world’s best nachos) and the boutiques on Shefford Street—Ema Rose, Bibop et Loula, L’Apothicaire—that I have to keep myself from emptying each time I stop by. Overall, I suppose you guessed it, Bromont represents a good part of what I enjoy in life, outdoor fun, shopping and gourmet treats, in any order.

The Arrival

Thursday, towards the end of the day I arrive at the Hôtel Château-Bromont. The place is quiet, sparkling, welcoming, and the balcony of my room offers me a view overlooking the golf course. I leave my bags and head out for a walk down Shefford Street, in the Vieux-Bromont. After having bought some tea for my mother at L’Apothicaire and finding a little something at the boutique Ema Rose for my daughter to give when she goes to her friend’s birthday party, I stopped by Gaïa to order an Indian bowl which savoured back in my room, wearing my pyjamas while watching a little TV. Amen.

Eight excellent hours of sleep, and two cups of coffee, later, I put my running shoes on and headed out for a run to discover that the only other early birds out there were golfers!

We’re Never Done Exploring the Park des Sommets

Especially when one has my sense of orientation, and will take the same trail twice almost without realizing it! I’m exaggerating a bit, but I wouldn’t really have minded getting lost here, the decor is so luxuriant and magnificent, that one visit isn’t enough to truly appreciate it all. By myself, I covered about fifteen kilometres in the Parc des Sommets, on the mountain network of trails. The park offers more than 140 km of trails divided in 5 different networks:

  • The Villageois Network. 17 km notably unfolding through the Vieux-Bromont sector.
  • The Mont Berthier Network. Which links the Villageois network to the mountain network.
  • The Mountain network. 50 km that wind through the mountain, and 15 km of which encircle Mount Brome.
  • The Lake Gale Network. 3.5 km that will take you around the mountain. However, you can also opt for the summit of Mount Gale or other easier circuits.
  • Bromont, montagne d’expériences. A few trails have in fact been designated for hikers here as well.

I left my car in the P7 parking area, at the end of O’Connor Street, and I walked mostly on the C1 trail, which goes around Mount Brome. I regretted not bringing Whisky a little, he’s my Australian shepherd, but I still really savoured these couples of hours of solitary walking. If you go with your canine friend, don’t forget your leash! The decor is superb and the trails are well maintained. I’m sure the money recently invested in the Parc des Sommets project (more than a million dollars over the last three years) has helped a lot! Just be careful to pay attention to the signs identifying the trails, because several are reserved for mountain bikers.

After this mom-finally-alone-meditative-walk, I head back to the Château-Bromont. I had just enough time for a quick bath before my partner, my daughter, 10, and son, 11, walked in. OK, my quiet bubble just burst to give way to the exuberance of my kids, too happy to experience a vacation in such a cool place! “Mom, can we try the spa outside?” Of course! So, we called the hotel’s room service to bring us a meal to our room: beef flank steak, Caesar salad, burgers… Perfect.

At The Centre national de cyclisme de Bromont

The next morning, we had an appointment at the Centre national de cyclisme de Bromont. This centre is much more than a venue for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush, it’s a place where young and not-so-young feel they belong. The fun family atmosphere that reigns here makes us feel very welcome. The team working at the centre seems to be tightly knit and always ready to provide tips and advice to enhance everyone’s experience.

Our gang headed out on the 3.5 km network behind the Centre. From there we could have gone all the way to Mount Oak, but since we’d already tested this route previously (we’ll try it again, for sure!), we decided to stay right here. The trails at the Centre are perfect for both novices as for those wanting to improve their techniques. We spent a couple of hours on the trails and had a lot of fun, including when we tried the pump track the children discovered. It’s really sweet to see all these little tykes on their BMXs, all proud and enthusiastic! We declined the invitation to try the BMX 365 metres long track where competitions are held regularly. When I see all the acrobatics being performed, some on jumps, others on walls, which would have sent me rolling on the ground in less than two seconds, I’m truly awed by such boldness. I’ll just continue to build up my courage on the trails and later, I’ll come back…

By the way, the indoor velodrome and the multisports centre construction is well underway and testifies to the dynamism of the place. An investment that will pay off in many ways, I’m sure!

At the Ferme Norli

Alpacas have a gestation period that lasts about a year. This is one out of several things we learned when we visited the Ferme Norli, exactly 7 minutes from the Vieux-Bromont. As I was looking at all the females huddling close to each other, their bellies full of promise, I felt a little sorry for them, I must admit. They were all just about ready to give birth and didn’t seem to be very inclined to socialize with us. “Oh! Mom, did you see that? Two of them are playing together!” Two one-year-old brothers, so cute! Really attractive as well was all the clothing made with alpaca fibres, soft and warm, and ideal gift ideas!

The Ferme Norli keeps for a herd of about 150 animals under the attentive care provided by Lise and Normand, the owners who offer very instructive, and also very friendly, guided tours.

“Mom, are alpacas pretty or ugly?” my daughter asks. What do I think? They’re absolutely a-do-ra-ble!

The next time I’m in the area…

  • For sure it will be to enjoy the water park with a friend of mine and her daughter, as well as the aerial obstacle course Divertigo, just next door.
  • Unless I decide to head up the mountain on my bike while my three loved ones will take the chairlift to tear down the mountain at high speed (and complaining about their too slow mom!).

Isabelle Bergeron

Editor-in-chief at Eastern Townships Tourism for the past 4 years, Isabelle has worked for 20 years in the magazine industry. A native of the Eastern Townships, her roots in the region run deep. Family, running, SUP, friends, hiking, biking, coffee, reading, culture, animals, villages, road trips are all part of what she prefers. “And it all these lives so well here in my Townships!”
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