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mont royal look out.jpg

mont royal


So you're new to McGill and want to venture outside the scary world beyond the borders of Sherbrooke and University, but you don’t know where to begin. New students often find themselves asking, where do McGill students even go when they leave campus? Or, what are some essential McGill traditions? For many current students, the answer to this question is a hike up Mount Royal. You know, the reason why you're out of breath on the way to McMed every day. 


1196 Voie Camillien-Houde, Montréal, QC H3H 1A1

Location in Montreal: Le-Plateau-Mont Royal 


Distance From McGill: 18-25 minutes 

Mount Royal, better known to locals as “the mountain,” is a classic Montreal landmark capturing a glimpse of the city’s history, geography, and heritage. The Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and inaugurated in 1976. You may have already heard of him as the designer of New York City’s Central Park. The mountain’s 200 acres of beautiful landscapes and diverse flora and fauna are pretty hard to miss from campus.

A classic
McGill tradition is hiking to Mount Royal’s lookout (Mont Royal Chalet) to gaze down on the city you’re going to call home for the next three or four years. The lookout is a rewarding 18-25 minute walk north from the front gates of the campus, so be sure to bring your running shoes! Make sure to time your hike so you can get to the top around sunset, or, if you’ve been pulling an all-nighter, sunrise. 

To help you out here are some basic directions to get to the top…

Start by heading up McTavish, the inclined street with the student service buildings. When you reach the peak of the street, turn left until you reach the intersection of Peel and Pine Avenue West. If you see the traffic light, you know you’re heading in the right direction! Right behind the light, there is a set of stairs--this is where the trail, and the struggle, begins. Follow the stairs all the way up until you reach the second set of stairs. This may seem like a long, exhausting journey, but things are looking up! From there you can race your friends all the way to the top and arrive at your final destination. Below is a YouTube video of the Mount Royal stairs so you know what you’re looking for! 


Credit: Diliff

Once you discover the lookout and feel comfortable navigating to the top, you can begin to explore the other activities Mount Royal has to offer year-round. 

During the winter, you can…. 

  • Go tubing

  • Ice skate on Beaver Lake Pavilion

  • Rent snowshoes and skis

  • Rent skates and snow carpets

  • Birdwatch

  • Explore biking and running trails

In the warmer weather, you can…. 

  • Rent a paddle rowboat

  • Rent a remote-controlled sailboat to sail across Beaver Lake

  • Explore biking and running trails 

Good luck on your first off-campus adventure! Make sure to stay tuned to Simplify McGill to discover more about Mount Royal and other classic McGill Traditions. 

Find more info about Mont Royal here: 

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