Kenauk Nature: Experience The Call Of The Wild At Montebello, Quebec’s Outdoor Paradise

Explore the natural wonders of Kenauk Nature in Montebello, Quebec, through our in-depth guide. Uncover the rich history of this private 63,000-acre wilderness, originally a private reserve, now transformed into a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts.

A man and his son share a drink while snowshoeing at Kenauk Nature in Montebello, Quebec
Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Rook to bishop 4, and it was over. My son proudly knocked over my king and our lengthy chess game was over.

The two of us were visiting the small town of Montebello, Quebec, about halfway between Ottawa and Montreal in the far eastern region of Outaouais in Quebec. Specifically, we were in a gorgeous lakeside cabin situated in the midst of 63,000 acres of pristine Canadian wilderness at Kenauk Nature.

Montebello is famous for its outdoor adventure lifestyle. In true Quebec form, life here revolves around activity and the outdoors. With a population of less than 1,000 residents, Montebello punches far above its weight in this category.

It’s a town that effortlessly blends natural beauty with outdoor adventure. It is a year-round paradise where hikes amidst the gorgeous fall foliage seamlessly blend into winter snowshoeing and then to mountain biking.

The town has been made famous as home to the world’s largest log cabin at Fairmont Chateau Le Montebello, a luxury resort run by the legendary company with properties in La Malbaie, at the end of the Train de Charlevoix, Quebec City, and as far as Banff, Alberta in the Rocky Mountains.

Montebello is probably most famous for its epic Canadian wildlife sanctuary, Parc Omega. At this incredible location, visitors can drive among herds of elk, boar, and hand-fed deer. There are even cabins where guests can sleep on the edge of a wolf sanctuary to watch the packs howl at the moon at night.

Cohen and I had come to Montebello to enjoy all of these things, but as my son and I enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal next to a towering stone fireplace, with nothing but the sound of nature around us, there was no place that we would have rather been than at Kenauk.

About Kenauk Nature

Two people warm up by a fire outside of a cabin in the woods at Kenauk Nature
Enjoying the outdoors at Makwa Chalet – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

The history of Kenauk Nature can be traced back to 1674 when a 259 square kilometre estate was given to Monsigneur Laval, the first Bishop of Quebec, by the King of France. It may be hard to believe, but in the 350 years since, the property has only had four other owners, all of whom have been committed to keeping this gorgeous stretch of wilderness intact.

Before 2013, Kenauk Nature was actually a part of the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello but was put up for sale in 2013. That same year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada partnered with four Canadian families with the ambitious goal of preserving the land and maintaining the wild state of Kenauk’s forests and lakes.

Today, the vast property encompasses 65 lakes spread throughout lush Boreal forests. The property is dotted with 25 cabins, yurts, and prospector tents that sleep between three and nineteen people each. The small number of Kenauk accommodations means that each property is cloaked in privacy.

To pair with their serene accommodations, Kenuak Nature also offers a wide range of outdoor activities that include guided fishing expeditions, a floating sauna, hiking, climbing, and family-focused programming.

While most of their activities are focused on the summer and fall seasons, winter at Kenauk isn’t without its wonders as well. In fact, our visit to Kenauk in February was packed with snowshoeing, winter hiking, and marshmallow roasting over outdoor fires.

Accommodations At Kenauk Nature

A father and son play cards inside a beautiful log cabin in Montebello, Quebec
Playing cards in our Makwa Chalet – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

With 25 cabins spread over 65 lakes, the privacy at Kenauk Nature is astounding.

While many might picture this former hunting camp to be dotted with rundown cabins more focused on practicality than comfort, that is far from the reality of the Kenauk experience.

Kenauk Nature has embraced a mission of conservation and sustainability, aiming to preserve the natural beauty of the region while providing visitors with immersive outdoor experiences. The estate is steeped in heritage, offering guests the opportunity to explore its historical landmarks and engage with the legacy of a bygone era.

And because the property was formerly owned by the luxurious Fairmont property in Montebello, a little luxury is going to be on offer with each stay.

Our cabin was the Makwa Cabin, a beautiful one-bedroom log home overlooking Mills Lake.

The open concept design was incredibly welcoming, with a large stone fireplace, dining table, elegant kitchen, and a living area with large, comfortable chairs and a beautiful antique-style chess table, which we made ample use of.

Upstairs was a spacious single bedroom overlooking the fireplace. The bedroom had a large en-suite bathroom with a massive shower and heated floors.

The main floor had a hide-away bed, perfect for children.

The large windows gave ample natural light during the day and offered a brilliant view of the forest and lake as night fell.

The remaining accommodations at Kenauk are spread across 25 units that range from small, glamping-style prospector tents and yurts that are perfect for those who don’t mind doing their cooking outside to vast chalets that can comfortably sleep 17-19 guests.

The Fairlight Chalet is one of these. It’s open year-round and has seven bedrooms that sleep up to 17 people. The chalet has two large stone fireplaces and a screened porch so that you can enjoy the fresh air free from the spring bug season.

All of Kenauk Nature’s chalets come fully equipped with canoes, kayaks, and row boats. There are also stand-up paddleboards available for rent at Whitefish Lake.

Their booking system gives you everything that you need to know about each chalet.

Activities at Kenauk Nature

A boy looks up at a frozen waterfall while snowshoeing at Kenauk Nature
Frozen waterfalls on Mount Baldy – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

As I mentioned earlier, Kenauk Nature is a year-round destination. During our winter visit, my son and I spent time out on the frozen lakes, enjoyed cross-country skiing in the park’s scenic trails, and went on a snowshoe excursion up the 420-metre-high Mount Baldy.

But it’s not all do-it-yourself adventures at Kenauk; this Montebello wilderness getaway has some incredible activities for those who want to spend a few days or more than a week here.

Along with the activities listed below, Kenauk offers art and graphite experiences, guided hunting, a fish hatchery, and beehives to explore.

Guided Fishing

With 65 lakes across the property, fishing is one of the most popular things to do at Kenauk Nature. All of the lakes are stocked with a range of fish, including Rainbow, Speckled, and Lake Trout, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, and Northern Pike.

Kenauk offers guided fishing tours where guides can offer tips, tricks, and expertise to take your Quebec fishing trip to the next level.

The guides have experience in both fly fishing and spinning, so no matter what type of fishing you love, you’ll have what you need.

Floating Sauna

Last summer, Kenauk Nature released its most innovative attraction, a wood-burning sauna that floats on a large barge for a unique and relaxing experience.

The floating sauna can hold four to six people and is available to those renting chalets on Papineau Lake, including Papineau Chalet, Cedar Chalet, Commandant Chalet, Hidden Chalet, and Fairlight Chalet.

Clay Shooting

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at blasting targets out of the sky?

The clay shooting at Kenauk Nature has nine stations of varying difficulty that mimic the environments for hunting small game and birds. There are expert guides on hand to ensure that the clay shoot is done safely and responsibly.

The package includes everything you need to get started, so if you’re a complete beginner, the two-hour experience is a great way to start.


All of Kenauk Nature’s chalets come fully equipped with canoes, kayaks, and row boats. There are also stand-up paddleboards available for rent at Whitefish Lake. All of the rentals and boats include life jackets and paddles.

Outside boats, including stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and rowboats, are not allowed in the waters of Kenauk Nature in order to protect the environment.

Climbing Tower

If you’re looking for a surge of adrenaline, the 14-metre high climbing wall at Kenauk might be calling you.

Explore the 209-square-metre climbing area that’s suitable for anyone aged five and up.

The climbing walls range from 5.6 to 5.11 difficulty levels and there are both lead and top rope climbing options. Don’t miss the views of Whitefish Lake from the top!

Hiking and Snowshoeing

No matter what time of year you visit Montebello, the trails at Kenauk Nature are incredible.

My son and I had a wonderful time snowshoeing up Mount Baldy with a thick bed of snow. But there are more than 50 kilometres of hiking trails and more than 33 kilometres of cross-country ski trails throughout the park.

Pick up a trail map from the main office or Whitefish Lake and follow the well-marked guides that indicate the trail difficulty.

The trails can be accessed for free by chalet guests, and there are day passes available for those who want to spend the day at Kenauk.

More Things To Do Near Kenauk Nature

A man and a boy dogsledding in Montebello, Quebec
Cohen dogsledding with Attelage de la Lievre – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

If you’re looking to use Kenauk Nature as your home base for adventures in Montebello, Quebec, you’ll be happy to know that this outdoor paradise is less than 20 minutes from the main street.

It’s very easy to access some of the regions top attractions including:

  • Parc Omega is a wildlife sanctuary where you can interact with elk, deer, bison, and boar.
  • Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is the world’s largest log cabin located on the banks of the Ottawa River. It’s home to the Aux Chantignoles restaurant, and the grounds house hiking trails, fat bike rentals, a marina, and a golf course.
  • Attelage de la Lievre is a dog-sledding experience that covers 500 acres of pristine Montebello nature. Jason Baril and his sled dogs will make sure that you have an incredible time.
  • Fromagerie Montebello in the centre of town shouldn’t be missed. After all, Quebec and cheese go together like tequila and limes!

Would You Embrace The Outdoors At Kenauk Nature?

My son and I absolutely loved our time at Kenauk Nature in Montebello. The great outdoors rarely feels as peaceful as they do when you have the whole shore of a frozen lake to yourself.

I hope that these tips for experiencing Kenauk and the town of Montebello, Quebec, help you plan a wonderful visit for yourself. Located just an hour from Ottawa, it’s an easy visit from the nation’s capital, and we at We Explore Canada are proud to encourage tourism in Quebec. The wonderfully unique culture of Canada’s only French province is exhilarating.

Do you have a favourite attraction or restaurant in Canada? Head over to the We Explore Canada Facebook Community and join the conversation! You’ll find an amazing group of people in Canada who are passionate about travel and love to share their local secrets.

Disclosure: My time at Kenauk Nature was made possible with the support of Tourisme Outaouais. All opinions remain my own.

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