The summits of Marble and Saddle Mountains sit on the Canadian-American border. They overlook the vast forests of the White Mountains from Maine and New Hampshire and the sea of mountains in the Lac-Mégantic region. The border trails in Southern Quebec make it easier for hikers to explore the mountains along the border. The hike to Marble Mountain and Saddle Mountain will prove this region’s natural beauty.
Hiking Marble and Saddle Mountains
Both mountains are found not too far from the charming little town of Notre-Dame-des-Bois in Southern Quebec. Hikers wander through a mixed forest where maple dominates. The peaks of both mountains offer splendid views of the Appalachians and the White Mountains across the border. Marble Mountain stands just over 900 meters, whereas Saddle Hill reaches an altitude of 975 meters.
The border trails SF-1, SF-2 and SF-5, make a loop to reach Marble Mountain and Saddle Hill summits.
- distance: 13 kilometres
- elevation gain: 590 meters
- estimated time: 4 hours
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Hiking Marble and Saddle Mountains is a longer hike that requires some preparation. Therefore, any hiker should always prioritize clothing, snacks and hydration in preparing the essential gear.
The trailhead is easy to find; you follow the signs from Notre-Dame-des-Bois. It is merely 10 minutes south of the town. At the parking area, there is an outhouse available to hikers. A large sign indicates the trailhead and displays a map of the loop.
The first kilometres wander through a mixed forest. The trail crosses a stream in the first kilometre. Fortunately, rocks here and there allow you to cross without getting wet. Unfortunately, the stones are very slippery, and a few are unstable. So, with caution and great care, you will have to cross the stream, hopping from one rock to another.
The first three kilometres are not very demanding; the terrain is flat. Then, after wandering in the forest for a couple of kilometres, the trail comes across a few buildings. Then, it comes out of the woods on a wide, open road.
Marble Mountain rises in front of you to give you a little preview of what is coming. From this far, it might look more like a hill than a mountain but be assured that it is very much a mountain.
Before long, the trail plunges back into the forest and follows a stream for more than a kilometre.
Eventually, you will come across Danger Lake, which is 4 kilometres from the start. The trail markers are not always obvious. It is best to have a GPS map, so you don’t stray from the correct route. You can use the AllTrails map of the loop to keep you on the right trail.
After the lake, the climb is steady to the top. Most of the elevation is over a little more than a kilometre; a few breaks are in order. The trail can be very muddy, so be careful not to slip on the mucky wet ground. Appropriate footwear is essential on this leg of the hike.
The top of Marble Mountain is just over 5 kilometres from the start. The views are breathtaking. At an altitude of more than 900 meters, the sea of mountains stretches to the horizon. The rocky summit of Marble Mountain is a perfect place for a snack while admiring the stunning landscapes.
After the top of Marble Mountain, the trail continues to Saddle Mountain. The route from one summit to the other has minimal elevation gain. The path continues on the border between the two countries. Have you ever been in two places at once?
Again, be careful to follow the blazes. The path along the border is wide and open, giving hikers a glimpse of the mountains behind. The trail plunges back into the forest more than once. Some parts of the territory not far from the trail are private property, be mindful and follow the indications.
Mount Saddle stands at 975 meters high. The views at the top do not disappoint. Although I prefer the ones on Marble Mountain’s summit, I thoroughly enjoy the view before getting back on the trail.
The return path runs through a forest of maple trees where leaves carpet the ground, a nice change from the earlier mud up Marble Mountain. The descent is covered over 3 kilometres, less steep than the climb.
You will be back at the trailhead in the blink of an eye, closing the loop.
For more hiking along the border, you can set your sights on hiking the highest mountain in Southern Quebec: Mont Gosford. This hike will impress any hiker who dares to reach the summit. I was also impressed with the small town of Sutton and its hiking trails of all levels perfect for all nature lovers.