Pack up the stroller and baby, running shoes, or your bike! This 30-hectare nature park in Laval-des-Rapides sector of Laval is open the entire year and you can wander the almost 5kms of walking and biking trails, workout at one of the TrekFit stations, or play in one of the two playgrounds. With hard-packed gravel walking trails, and asphalt paths, it’s great for strollers or wagons.
We parked on Avenue du Crochet and Boul des Pariries and entered the park at the western tip. When you access the park there’s a large map to view and you can visit the chalet and playground right away. There’s also tons of greenspace to run around in, and picnic tables under the trees and surrounding the playground. In summer you can ask the park monitor for frisbees and balls, and you’ll also find bathrooms, a vending machine, drinking fountain, first aid kit, and even kids’ books and toys inside the chalet.
The monitor was super helpful when I mentioned it was our first visit, and said it should take about 45 minutes to walk to the other side of the park and back. There are no printed trail maps available, so I used Google Satellite on my phone to figure out where we were. Reading the tree information panels along the way, we made our way (slowly) to the OTHER playground which is sort of like a fitness course for kids and adults with lots of ropes to climb, monkey bars, and pods to balance on. Turning back, we followed the paved path back and surprise! There’s a sweet little pond complete with ducks and a little waterfall. You can pause here for a snack at the picnic table or one of the surrounding benches.
Though there are older fitness stations throughout the park, complete with descriptive instructional panels, near the centre of the park are new TrekFit stations. The park wasn’t super busy when we were there, but there were quite a few joggers, parents with strollers, and teens from the nearby high school running laps in inappropriate footwear.
You can also visit the park in winter for activities such as: sledding, outdoor skating, and 4.2km of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. And at the chalet visitors can borrow – for FREE but in limited quantities of course – snowshoes, skates, hockey sticks, and magic carpets.
Things to note:
-See the brochure below for the chalet’s summer and winter opening dates and hours, as well as more details including phone numbers etc.
There are no maps of the trails available at the park’s chalet, so be sure to download and bring along this brochure if you want to know where you’re going. Download the Park’s brochure below:
Parc des Prairies brochure
-You can park where we did along Avenue du Crochet, across the street in the parking lot at Parc Gagné, in the lot along Boul des Prairies (you’ll see the green “P” sign), or north of the park at the bottom of 15e Rue.
-Bring water along with you as there are no fountains on the paths.
-The park also hosts cultural and sporting events, movies and concerts. Check Laval’s website or FB page for details.
-A reminder about why you should NOT feed the ducks. Read this sad article about why feeding them is dangerous to their health.