La Société de Conservation, d’Interprétation et de Recherche de Berthier et ses Îles (SCIRBI) is a wetland reservation, known for its richness with fauna and flora. The main activity besides hiking is observing the 200+ species of birds, fish and rare plants in the island along footbridges, interpretation signs, and observation towers. This place was awarded by UNESCO in 2000 as one of the six world reserves of the world’s biosphere. The islands host a resting and feeding area for migratory birds such as herons and waterfowls. There are three trails on the island, this post is about our 7km+ hike on the island.
How to reach the trail starting point:
Address: 100, route 158, Sainte-Geneviève-de-Berthier. The address is confusing and a bit difficult to find. If you drive from Berthierville, the entrance is the first right after the bridge, direction Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola.
Drive about 1h drive northeast from Montreal
Open all year round – Free admission. Open during the winter for cross country ski and winter hiking.
There are two picnic tables at the entrance. There are not too many picnic tables along the trail (see map).
Suitable for a baby stroller, bicycles are not allowed.
A map showing the entry to the reservation:
There are three different trails on the island. At the map below, we highlighted in yellow the trail we did, a total of 7km combining these three trails. Start at the acceuil near the parking area. The walk will start on sentier des trois tours (red) – with three observation towers. However, after 700 meters we separated from this trail to explore the sentier du barrage near the swamps.
We reached the first observation tower, watching the swamps and the birds.
The trail will separate at this point – turn left towards the sentier du barrage (3km long):
Walk along the footbridge over the swamps, watching the birds waiting to hunt their next meal.
There were hundreds of frogs along the path, jumping every step we took.
The trail will then continue nearby the water, where you can see the other small islands.
From one side views of the Saint Lawrence River and the from other, beautiful fields.
A picnic spot near the end of the 3km walk of sentier du barrage. It is marked on the map as barrage.
At this junction, we completed the 3km trail of sentier du barrage, and we continued on a section of the sentiers des marécages (1.5km) towards the parking.
Walking between the fields:
The walk on sentier des marécages is mainly inside a forest with trees all around. After the 1.5km, you will need to join the sentier des trois tours which is leading to the parking area.
Second observation tower: