This page covers Machabee Trail, Colophanes Trail, and Pilgrim Trail as they are all variants on the same route. The distance and altitude information below is for the standard Machabee Trail, the variants will change it slightly.
This trail connects the Petrin entrance with the Riviere Noire entrance of Black River Gorges National Park. It can be done in either direction and in a variety of different ways by taking the Pilgrim Trail or Colophanes Trail on ascent or descent.
Colophanes Trail continues to follow the dirt road that runs from Petrin to Riviere Noire, whereas the Machabee Trail rapidly ascends the ridge. The Colophanes trail provides significantly better views, although it is slightly longer.
Pilgrim Trail is a more direct route on a foot trail that avoids the long switchbacks on the road that Machabee Trail follows. It is short and steep, although well maintained.
- Type of trail: Out and Back/Loop/One Way
- Start point/End point: Petrin/Riviere Noire
- Length: 5.5 miles one way.
- Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours one way (depending upon route).
- Lowest point: 362ft
- Highest point: 2139ft
The first section of the Machabee Trail runs from Petrin to Machabee Viewpoint along a dirt road. There is well marked junction along the way where the Colophanes Trail splits off to your left/the south. The Machabee Trail reaches the viewpoint and then narrows into a footpath and steeply descends the ridge until it rejoins the gentler Colophanes Trail.
Shortly after this junction you will reach an open, broken metal gate. The Pilgrim Trail splits off here to your right/west. Machabee continues straight ahead and gently descends on the road until it reaches Riviere Noire. You will cross the river several times along a well marked trail before reaching the kiosk. The water level in the river is variable and might require getting your feet wet. The Pilgrim Trail joins the trail again after the first crossing.
From Riviere Noire:
Follow the main road and signs for Machabee/Petrin. You will cross Riviere Noire several times. Pilgrim Trail splits off with Mare aux Joncs at a well marked crossing after 10-15 minutes. After the last river crossing you will begin gradually climbing along a dirt road. You will reach a broken metal gate – Pilgrim Trail rejoints on your left/west just before it. A few minutes later you will reach a narrow footpath that begins to ascend steeply on your left/east. The Machabee Trail continues up this trail. Colophanes continues straight along the road. Machabee will lead you to the viewpoint and you can continue along this road. You will reach the well marked junction with Colophanes. This road is well marked and will take you to Petrin.