About an hour east of Montreal is a large area called the Eastern Townships, the “Cantons de l’Est”. It’s a popular year-round recreation destination, known for its lakes, hills, ski resorts, and numerous farms. Sherbrooke, with a population of ~200,000, is Quebec’s sixth largest city and the Townships’ anchor city. There’s some nice running in Sherbrooke and the Eastern Townships, with several lakefront paths, lenghty multi-use trails, and several large mountain parks terrific for trail running.
The best places to run in Sherbrooke are paths along the Lac des Nations, Magog & Saint-François rivers, the area around the University of Sherbrooke & Mont-Bellevue, our ‘runseeing‘ tour of the city’s famous 18 Murals, and easy trail running in the Beckett Woods. In Magog, there are some nice paths along the lake. Several sections of the Route Verte, Quebec’s long-distance cycling path, pass through the Townships — we’ve mapped a route between Lenoxville (just south of Sherbrooke) and North Hatley. There’s fabulous trail running at Mont-Orford National Park and Mont Sutton, with something for everyone. There are also numerous quiet roads passing by farms for runners to create their own route.
Runners should note that the area’s winters are very cold and snowy – the Townships are a major winter recreation destination. This might affect road and trail conditions — in fact many trails are used for XC skiing. The paths might be very muddy and not runnable in early spring.