In 1992, an ambitious project to create hiking trails from coast to coast was begun and named the Trans Canada Trail. The first Quebec section of the Trans Canada Trail was created in Sainte-Émélie. Other sections were added over the next few years to create the Sentier de la Matawinie which now covers 170K. The Sainte-Émélie access is at the intersection of route 131N and Rang 4. From this access, one can also hike the sentier de l’Ours (9.3K, ending at the Domaine Bazinet outfitters) and several municipal trails, such as the sentier Onikan (3.5K) and sentier Maskanaw or Maskana (3K).
Click here to access the on line map of the Trans Canada Trail (sentiers de l’Ours et de la Matawinie).
Click here to see the map of the municipal trails.
These forest trails are ideal for running, but you may be tempted by berry and mushroom picking. If you persist in your run, you will be rewarded by the exceptional vistas of lakes and mountains revealed when you get to the summits.
There is also a tradition of running in Sainte-Émélie. The roads recommended are the same as those for cycling but there are other possibilities left to explore. Should you be interested, join the Sainte-Émélie running group on Facebook and ask the locals to give you pointers.
Triathletes and freshwater swimmers who prefer seeing the great outdoors as they swim, rather than white ceramic pool tiles have several options to choose from in Sainte-Émélie:
The beach is a favourite place for many, especially among the local population. The beach reappears every spring when a dam on the Rivière Noire is activated within the village. The river water which has just coursed through les Sept-Chutes is well oxygenated and constantly renewed. The water is fresh, free of algae but relatively shallow in spots. At the beach, one cannot really swim sizeable lengths. On the other hand, the site is truly welcoming and easily accessible. During the hours when a lifeguard is on duty, there is a family atmosphere. To add to everyone’s pleasure, a canopy for shade, picnic tables, a play area for the little ones and even a self-serve vegetable garden have been installed!
On Saturdays and Sundays, you can rent canoes and kayaks at reasonable hourly rates. A brand new volleyball court is open to all.
The beach opens officially around the 24th of June and a lifeguard is on duty 6 days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM. The adjacent parking is at 336 rue Robillard.
For further details, please contact the offices of the Municipality at 450-886-3823.
Lac Koël is the only large public lake in Sainte-Émélie where anyone can swim and camp overnight. There are no buildings, public or private around the lake and access to its shores is via a 1.3K trail. All agree that the setting is beautiful.
From the village, take route 131N (route des Sept-Chutes) until Rang 4. Leave your vehicle in the parking area and take the Maskanaw (or Maskana) trail to the Séguin headland which opens onto the lake and offers an excellent opportunity for enjoying the sun.
A map of the Lac Koël trails can be consulted here.
Tourist installations such as inns, outfitters and “bases de plein air” (family outdoor activity centers) are usually at quiet lakeside locations which are perfect for swimming. Finally, access for swimming in one of the numerous lakes in the region can be obtained if you get to know the owner of a property along its shores.
As with cycling, swimming in unsupervised waters is not without risk. However, if you take elementary precautions, accidents can be avoided:
By the time cyclists take to the roads in earnest, trout fishing is not as good as it is in the early spring but it is still possible to enjoy a good catch. Let us suggest a few days at an outfitter’s; chances are you will book a return stay before you leave. As you arrive, often at the end of a gravel road, you’ll notice the peace and quiet. Stress will melt away as you sit on the porch of your small chalet, lakeside, watching the sun set. Many other family activities are available. For example, at Domaine Bazinet children can learn to fish, there is a mini farm, water slides, kayaking, trail hikes and organized treasure hunts. In such surroundings, it’s easy to make new friends with whom to share these activities.
Some outfitters have campsites as well as chalets and/or rooms in a lodge. All three of the outfitters mentioned above are located just north of the village, off route 131N. Unfortunately the route des Sept-Chutes, despite its spectacular vistas, is hardly safe for bicycling because of heavy usage by articulated logging trucks. If you stay overnight at one of the outfitters, it is recommended that you load your bicycles in your car to get there and to go back to the center of the village. In Sainte-Émélie, you can park beside the small garden at the center of town, easily recognizable by its fountain and flower displays. From there, you can do your bicycle circuit for the day.
There are also two public lakes which are not stocked with trout in Sainte-Émélie: Lac Clément which can be accessed by the road to Domaine Bazinet and beautiful Lac Koël which is on the Matawinie trail. From the parking area at the intersection of 131N (route des Sept-Chutes) and Rang 4, a 1.3 K hike will get you to Lac Koël.
You can consult a map of the Lac Koël trails here.
Finally, keen fishermen can seek out trout at several locations on the rivière Noire and the Leprohon.
The Dépanneur du centre on rue Principale in Sainte-Émélie sells fishing licenses.
Several rock faces available for ice climbing in winter or conventional climbing in summer have been documented in Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie. Detailed information such as access and current conditions is available on the blog of the Club d’escalade de Lanaudière.
Tourist installations such as inns, outfitters and “bases de plein air” (family outdoor activity centers) are usually located lakeside and many of these lakes communicate with rivers. The operators will often lend kayaks and canoes to their customers.
Camping Sainte-Émélie offers a non-guided trip down the Rivière Noire to Saint-Damien, a 2 to 3 hour trip on calm waters from the campground. There are two departures a day and return transportation from Saint-Damien is included in the cost of the kayak rental. For further information, please call 450-886-5879.
During the summer season, you can rent a kayak at the municipal beach at Sainte-Émélie on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. However, one is not permitted to travel downriver with the kayaks. Therefore, this could do well as an initiation for the younger set or for a relaxing paddle on the small lake at the beach. You can contact the municipality at 450-886-3823 for further information.
If you can portage your own canoe over 1.3 K, lac Koël is strongly recommended. From the village, take route 131N (route des Sept-Chutes) to Rang 4 and leave your vehicle in the parking lot for hikers. Take the Maskanaw (or Maskana) trail to reach the lake.
Maps of the trails to and around lac Koël can be consulted here.
Of note is Canots Roby, a well known and respected builder of cedar strip canoes which was established in Sainte-Émélie in 1960. If you’ve arrived without a canoe, now is the time to see these beauties and perhaps even put in your order.
The Sainte-Émélie skate park is at the end of rue Frappier, facing the front door of the primary school (501 rue Adèle-Deschênes). The school itself is part of the Jean-Antoine-Leprohon cultural and sports center, where there is ample parking.
Whether you’re a seasoned skate boarder or someone looking for a relatively quiet place to sharpen your skills or try new tricks, you will appreciate this skate park.
Information in this section is hardly exhaustive and is only meant to give an overview of available outdoor activities. Any further suggestions would be welcome. Please send them to email@example.com.