The Laurentides of Quebec

The Laurentides, also known as the Laurentian Mountains, run across southwestern Quebec, from the area northeast of Quebec City to the region north of Montreal; the highest peaks are in the eastern section of the range, including the summit of the Laurentides, Mont Raoul-Blanchard (3855 feet).

Like the Adirondacks of New York, these ancient mountains crumpled skyward during the Grenville Orogeny, some 1.2 billion years ago, as the eastern and southern margins of Laurentia (proto North America) collided with other continental plates during the assembly of the supercontinent Rodinia.  During that period, the range stretched from what is now eastern Canada to Texas and northern Mexico; most of the range has since been obliterated by erosion and buried by younger sediments.  Of course, the Laurentides themselves were significantly diminished by the erosive power of the Pleistocene ice sheets.

A number of parks, resorts and wildlife reserves are spaced along the forested corridor of the Laurentides, offering a fabulous diversity of outdoor recreation.  Unfortunately, our upcoming travels will take us south of these mountains, though we will surely glimpse their eastern summits north of the St. Lawrence estuary.  The scenic ridges, sparkling lakes and whitewater streams of the Laurentides are reason enough for a second, future visit to Quebec.