This small pyramid shaped mountain juts out of the former Champlain sea in the region of Montérégie in what is now the Saint-Lawrence river valley. While it is a short mountain it offers visitors a quick hike to a splended view of Montreal as well as the surrounding mountains to the east and south. It easily reached in 35 minutes from Montreal.
Formally Mt. Johnson, named after Sir John Johnson (1741-1830) who was the owner of the Manoir and Seigneurie at its’ base beginning in 1795. The town with its’ post office nearby was called Mount Johnson from 1845-1923. The town and Mountain was was renamed in 1923 Mont Saint-Gregoire after Grégoire le Grand (540-604) who invented Gregorian chant. He was also the doctor of the church (of Rome) and Pope from 590-604.
The first european settlers came beginning in 1705. The territory was settled by the Acadians in 1758. A settler named, Grégoire Bourque tilled the farmland around the mountain and helped build the church in 1805. The town was called Saint-Grégoire-le-Grand-de-Monnior in 1845. Combining the seigneurie de Monnoir given to Claude de Ramezay in 1708 by the French Governeur Vaudreuil.
Abolished in 1847, it was restablished as a town in 1855 under the parrish name of Saint-Grégoire-le-Grand. The town is now called la municipalite de Mont-Saint-Grégroire.
Getting to the trail head
From Montreal take highway (Autoroute) 10 across the Champlain bridge (Pont Champlain) and continue till you get to the Maireville exit. You will be exiting right onto "Chemin sous la bois". Continue till you get to "rang de la montagne" turn right and follow the road around the mountain till you get to the parking lot of "le centre de plien aire". You can park here for a small fee ($5.00 per car). It is run by the owners of the campground across the street.
The trail is short and direct with you getting to the summit easily in 35-40 minutes. 1.5 hours with a small child.
I mention this as this is not necessarily the best hike for very small kids. I took my three year old up the steep trail and while he did very well there are two sections that can require the use of a chain that has been installed for aid. I had to carry him under one arm as he was determained to do it himself. This is not advisable as one slip is these two areas and you fall about 100 feet. This was my first trip here and I will not bring him back till he is older. You can however take them easily to a small lookout with not much trouble. it is only from this point where is is a bit more difficult for them.
Red tape4.25 CD to the conservation group to walk the trail
See http://www.cimehautrichelieu.qc.ca/ for more information.
People sometimes approch it from other properties notably behind some of the "Cabines à sucres" that are closed most of the summer.
It is best to try and use the trail head for conservation reasons and to help promote the people who maintain the trails.
On some of the trails you will come across areas that are roped off for conservation. Please respect these lines. If you follow the regular trails you will get to the summit easily.
There is a privately owned quarry on the south east side of the mountain. Much of the stone that was quarried here helped build the stone buildings that still stand in Montreal.
Topos and Geology (in French)
Here is an interesting site to visit which has 3-D maps and topos of this mountain and the other in this region.
It also explains the interesting geology of the region. But you will have to speak French.
This peak can be hiked all year round. Due to some of the steeper sections crampons might come in handy in the winter.
The only problems you might encounter in the spring is mud.
In the early summer black flies and or mosquitoes.
Fall is a pretty time due to the foliage.
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