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We recently wanted to go on a long trek in the region and, after some research, the idea of hiking across the Sentiers de l’Estrie seemed like an ideal choice for us. We just had to determine which route would please us most.
By Ian Roberge
At first, we thought about doing the entire route, from the southern end all the way to the north, covering 156 km, but then we realized than several portions of the trail were presently closed off, and that we wouldn’t have enough time to complete the whole route!
We must admit, our search wasn’t an easy one, but we finally were able to plan an accessible and interesting formula. By hiking about thirty kilometres spread over two days, it’s possible to explore different sectors of the Réserve naturelle des montagnes vertes, the Appalachian Corridor and the Parc d’environnement naturel de Sutton. Overall, the best of what the Sentiers de l’Estrie have to offer, plus as a bonus, uncrowded trails.
We started out from the S06 parking area located on Baker Talc Road in South Bolton. The match plan: to reach Mount Sutton before the following day evening, and to ask a kind volunteer to come get us at the other end of the trail and eventually take us back to our car. We could also leave a car at each end of the route. We hiked 11 kilometres on the first day, notably across the summit of Mount Singer which is always as pretty and especially accessible even with our heavy backpacks.
We finally put up our tent in the early evening at Mount Singer’s campground, near the beaver pond. A well worth overnight stop for sleeping on one of the four platforms here. We took advantage of the beautiful views by the water and all these peaceful surroundings. It’s so wonderful to be able to be off the grid once in a while and to find ourselves deep in the heart of nature.
The next morning, we took off towards the chemin de la Falaise by way of Mount Echo. This was definitely one of the trip’s most beautiful discoveries. The unobstructed view from the summit on the edge of this impressive cliff is really worth taking the 400-meter detour!
After this invigorating break, we continued our journey on the trail leading to Mount Sutton. Up until now, the trail is wide and well maintained. However, the section between Mount Echo and Mount Sutton sees very little hikers, it’s therefore less open and more demanding. By taking our time, it’s still quite pleasant to walk here as we trace our route. Note that more than half of the elevation is completed here. In fact, there are very few flat sections throughout the trek, we’re either always going up or going down!
Finally, the “cherry on the cake” as they say, is, without a doubt, our arrival on Mount Sutton, which was well worth climbing some fairly technical sections! This mountain overflows with viewpoints and trails that will totally charm you! However, you might feel a bit agoraphobic when you find yourself at the top surrounded by many other hikers. The feeling is very different from what is felt over the last 24 hours spent almost always alone in the woods! The contrast is striking!
If you wish to prolong the experience, you can also sleep very close to the summit of Mount Sutton; An exceptional overnight stay at more than 800 metres in altitude! Then, at the end of the trek, why not drop in for a bite to eat in one of the restaurants you’ll find in the magnificent town of Sutton?
In all, we covered a distance of 30 km and more than a 2000-foot height difference. It was, a truly great experience, but one that needs to be well prepared. In fact, some rights of way for sections of the route were lost over time; therefore these trails are no longer accessible.
It just goes to show how important it is to hike responsibly and to comply with trail regulations. Also, it’s essential to pay your access fees and to reserve your camping platform with the agencies who manage the territory because this is what sustains the region’s hiking trails!
Departure from the parking S06 on Baker Talc Road (Bolton-Ouest) and hike to reach Mount Singer. It is required to reserve a camping platform here. To do this you must contact the Sentiers de l’Estrie organization.
Head to the Chemin de la Falaise by way of Mount Echo until you arrive at Mount Sutton. There you have the possibility to sleep near the top of the mountain. Reservations are made by contacting Mont Sutton.
Total number of kilometres: 30
Height gain: 2000 metres
Please note that if you begin your hike on the Sentiers de l'Estrie and that you plan to sleep here, just as our collaborator did, you can exit the trail on the next day by the Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton, without paying any access fees. An agreement has been established between connecting networks (Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton and the Appalachian Corridor) so that hikers pay the trail management fees at their entrance point and can exit elsewhere on the same day.