With around 40 000 inhabitants, the town is the result of the merger of two cities, Rouyn and Noranda, in 1986. More smaller towns and villages were incorporated into Rouyn-Noranda later.
Located in the centre of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda can serve as a good starting point for exploring that part of the Canadian shield. At least two parks are located nearby that are worth visiting:
- Kekeko: Roughly a 20-minute car ride south of the city, this small (unofficial) park offers many adventures. Trails are relatively undeveloped with sections consisting of former, or still used, paths for snowmobiles and other vehicles. The park is not a protected area, although many locals will tell you it should be. It is possible to hike to the so-called first lake in 45 minutes and enjoy an afternoon of swimming. A longer hike to the second lake will fit in an afternoon, possibly a bit more. It is sometimes possible to still find a small booklet detailing trails in the Kekeko mountains. Most likely out of print.
- Aiguebelle: This park is a protected area and is quite developed. Trails are well-marked and maintained. Popular trails include one hike to a small mountain top, from where, if weather permits, Val d'Or, Amos, La Sarre and Rouyn-Noranda (the so-called Quadrangle or Quadrilatère in French) can be seen. Also noteworthy is a longer hike, for which you should reserve a day to really enjoy the scenery, that will take you across a suspended bridge that straddles the water divide line. Waters to the north flow into the Hudson Bay, while waters to the south flow to the St. Lawrence river.
One other noteworthy park is located further south:
- Enchanted Forest: Located near Ville-Marie, some 2 hours away, you'll be able to enjoy the sight of strangely shaped trees in this park.