An autumn classic: Hiking to Sutton’s Round Top
I’ve been living in the Brome-Missisquoi region for just over three years now and I had never taken the time to do some hiking on the trails of the Parc d’environnement naturel de Sutton (PENS). Some people might chastise me for such negligence, but the fact is I love hiking and I’ve done a bit of it throughout the province of Québec and in other parts of the world.
So, last week, I finally had the opportunity to end this laxity when some friends of mine organized a hiking outing in the area. We met at the PENS sentry hut that’s located just a few minutes’ drive from MONT SUTTON’s main chalet.
Our group ready to hike
My initiation occurred on a sun-splashed Saturday in October, at the peak of the fall foliage season. It wasn’t too cold or too hot, so it was a perfect day for hiking. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – we weren’t the only ones to have this great idea for a hiking outing. There were quite a few people on the trails, but not to the extent it was overcrowded. For the best hiking experience, I would recommend you go when there aren’t as many people on the trails – on a weekday or in the summertime.
For our first experience, we decided to do the classic hike, which is the Round-Top loop that passes by Spruce Lake. It’s a loop that can be covered in three or four hours if you take your time. The level of difficulty is intermediate and hiking boots are recommended.
After paying our $6 admission fee, we set out on our hike amid a mass of glorious-coloured trees. It should be noted that PENS’ trails are really well laid out. The beauty of the premises rivals that of any of the other trails I’ve been able to do in the province.
The trails are well marked, but if you want to be sure you don’t get lost, you can buy a map for $5, or rent one for just a dollar.
Once we reached the Round Top’s look-out area, we stopped to admire the magnificent view of the Green Mountains, White Mountains, and even the Adirondacks. But because this spot was quite crowded, we walked a bit farther, up to the second look-out point where the view is more toward the northeast side of the mountain. While the view isn’t quite as spectacular, this is still an impressive spot, and it’s an ideal area to take a lunch break.
View from the Round Top
On the road back, we stopped at Spruce Lake, a pretty little mountain lake. You can bet that the more daring just love taking a refreshing dip here on those hot summer days.
The return to the base of the mountain was done in very leisurely fashion, without any strain on the knees. I came back with a wealth of fine memories and some great pictures. We capped off the day around a huge plate of spaghetti and a nice bottle of Québec-made wine.
I’m especially looking forward to going back there to try out the Mohawk Lake loop, which, from all accounts, is well worth the trip.