One word: TREEHOUSE. Like how fun is that right? I mean, so what if you’re a grown ass adult. The possibility of staying in a treehouse is still too much fun to pass up. So maybe you bring the kids, and maybe you don’t…staying at Refuges Perchés in parc eco-laurentides is a good spot for outdoor lovers to explore.
The Low Down
- Distance: 2hr 30min drive from Ottawa.
- Address: 5000 Chemin du Lac Caribou, Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, QC J0T 1J2
- Directions: Autoroute 50 east and exit at Montebello, taking the 323 North. Route 117 to Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, exit 107. At Mont-Blanc take Chemin des Lacs (11km) and turn right on Lac Caribou Road for 6 km.
- Cellphone Range: No
- Trail Distance: Over 36kms of trails.
- Dogs: Yes, on leash.
- Crowds: Low traffic on trails
- Washrooms: Washrooms and showers open 24/7 at the reception building. Outhouses centrally located near treehouses.
- Entrance Fee: 10$ per day to visit the park, kids are free.
- Season: All year.
- More Information: Visit the Refuges Perches website and Eco-Laurentides for more information along with the trail maps.
After already hiking trails out west together like Iceline Trail, EEOR, Larch Valley, and Big Beehive…and easy weekend in the Laurentides seemed like a no brainer with my hiking buddy Marlena. Some adventures are best with friends, and thankfully going back to university has given me some of the most easy going, adventurous friends to go exploring with!
What to Bring
- Bug spray: Lakes + forest = all the bugs….so bring all the bug spray.
- Latern/Flashlight: Although there are batteries to rent so that you can use the interior lights and charge any devices however it is still recommend to bring a headlamp/latern/flashlight for those evening trips to the washroom or early morning walk to the showers.
What Not to Bring
- Too many clothes/stuff. Or if you do, leave them in the trunk of the car. It’s a good hustle to the treehouses so less you bring the better. On my second weekend there, I found it helpful to leave my clean clothes in the car. The parking lot is near the showers, so I’d walk out in the mornings, grab clean stuff, shower, and then get back to enjoying the day.
Refuges Perchee Treehouses
One of the things that’s neat about the Refuges Perchés is that each treehouse is different. Some are high up, other on boulders, two rooms, yurt style, etc… Each forever are equipped with a wood stove and everything you could possible need for a kitchen during your stay.
On the second weekend when I took my niece and nephew for the adventure, it was fun to involve them in the booking. My nephew was able to look online with me and pick out the treehouse he wanted.
There are currently 10 treehouses, with plans for an expansion of another 10 treehouses on the other side of the lake.
The owner, Nancy, it great at proactively sending out information prior to your booking and explaining things once you arrive. Admittedly I found all the instructions a bit overwhelming, but throughout the two stays I can appreciate the need for the robust welcoming package. Read through the instructions, it’ll help make your stay all the better.
Le Panoramique Trail
It’s easily the “must do” trail of the park. The short 800m, yet completely bum burner of a steep trail leads up to a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and lakes. In the distance, you can even see Mont Tremblant.
The trail is a well marked narrow dirt path, steady incline, with multiple wooden staircases. There is a covered bench to enjoy a little rest at the lookout. The trail ends at the lookout, and is best not to explore beyond that point to support the park’s efforts in promoting a bio diverse and thriving environment.
Le Riverian Trail
The Riverian is a shorter 700m hike around the lake. The trail itself is family friendly and suitable for those with mild mobility challenges. It’s a mix of both wide dirt path and boardwalk sections.
Le Tour-du-lac Trail
It was a drizzly afternoon when we decided to hike around the lake following the tour-du-lac trail. It’s a 4.7km loop that offers multiple lookout points. The path is narrow in sections, with a few boardwalks. The wooden walkways tend to be slippery in damp conditions. Plenty of flora to explore along the way, nothing but wildflowers and mushrooms.
Lac du Cordon
Sooooo there are two options to get to your tree house in the summer months – you can either hike it in (carts available) or canoe in! Canoes are available to rent and a great way to explore the lake.
The lake itself is ridiculously clear, and perfect for swimming!
On rainy days with the kids, the welcome pavillion (reception building) was a godsend. Inside there are display, a naturalist onsite to answer questions, showers/washrooms, and a common room with games/books.
Wrapping it up
After two weekends stays, and two very different experiences, Refuges Perchés is one that I’ll keep on the list for the future. The trails are open year round, snowshoeing is always an option! Perhaps though, I’ll just stick to the shoulder months, those seem to be more my thing. Do you camp out in the winter months?