1. Stay in a Parks Canada oTENTik
oTENTik’s are a brilliant accommodation offering that provides an alternative to winter camping. A cross between a cabin and a tent, the raised floor and wood-burning stove keep everyone toasty and warm. Plus, they are very roomy! oTENTiks come complete with 3 beds that can sleep up to 6 people and are also equipped with cutlery, dishes (some cook wear), table and chairs, and an outdoor BBQ and firepit. All you have to bring is your sleeping bag (or bedding) and food.
2. Ski the trails
A huge draw for cross country skiers, Mauricie boasts 80 km of both marked and groomed trails for classic and freestyle cross-country skiing. The park also has a number of trails specially prepped for ski skating. Heated shelters can be found approximately every 5 km (3 mi.)
3. Try fatbiking
Fatbikes are specifically designed bikes with lighter frames and wide tires, which enable riders to navigate snow-covered trails. They can be rented in the park and driven on campground roadways, and along two of the park’s snowshoeing trails.
4. Learn how to snow tag
Once you make your way to Lac Solitaire you’ll trade in your crampons for snowshoes. Think of snow tagging as mixing snowshoeing with art. Working together with a small team (2-5 people), you’ll use compasses, a drawing pattern, and your snowshoes as tools to create snow art designs on the frozen lakebed. The activity usually takes about an hour or two depending on the size of the group and design. The self-guided activity is booked through Parks Canada and reservations are required. (Snowshoe rentals are also available for rent – $12).
5. Take an alpine hike
During the winter, the park offers 8 hiking trails that range in difficulty from beginner to expert. Strap on your crampons and hike one of three Lac Solitaire (5.5, 8.3 and 13.1 km) loops. Along the way, you’ll take in two lovely vantage points – one is a sprawling view of St. Maurice River and the other a bird’s eye view of Lac Solitaire below. All three trails lead to the lake where you can try your feet at snow tagging.
A few other awesome activities just outside of Mauricie (+1 hour)
While in this area, consider a stay at the Sacacomie Hotel. Overlooking 42 km of shoreline, the rustic hotel nestled in the heart of a forest offers absolutely beautiful views. It’s an absolute must visit destination if you are in the Mauricie region.
1. Skate in an enchanted forest
Before heading back home, take the time to drive a bit further (1 hour and 10 minute drive from Sacacomie) and skate a loop or two in the completely charming enchanted forest, The Domaine de la Forêt Perdue, where 12 km of icy trails await.
2. Go dogsledding
If you’ve ever dreamed of dogsledding, this is the place to do it. Be advised that it’s hard not to fall in love with the adorable malamute and husky pups! Ride along in the sled wrapped cozily in a blanket through forest trails and across Sacacomie Lake. Then switch spots and give mushing a try!
3. Kick up some powder via snowmobile
Get outfitted from head to toe, hop on a Bombardier snowmobile and zip through the breathtaking winter scenery found in the Mauricie forest for an exhilarating ride.
4. Learn about flora and wildlife
Go on a Woodsman Hike with a local guide and trapper to learn all about the natural environment. Enjoy storytelling at its finest, while you hear about local customs and cultures. If offered, definitely try a glass of Caribou, a sweet Québécois concoction made from red wine, hard liquor (usually whisky), and maple syrup or sugar.
5. Drive like a boss on ICE!
Learn to drift and master icy twists and turns on a frozen lake circuit with Ice Driving Canada. Oh, did I mention you get to do this in a Porsche Boxster? Alongside a professional driver, you’ll start out on a circular skid pad to learn basic driver training fundamentals like handling the curve of the track using your eyesight to direct your driving. Once you’ve mastered that, you can put the pedal to the metal trying to control the car while drifting or rallying on the second track – a 3.4 km cleared and winding course. *Ice Driving Canada has recently relocated to Lac des Sables in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, 2 hours and 30 minutes from Trois-Rivières.