After exploring the big state that is Quebec for 1 month (full programme available here), it’s time for me to rethink about the 5 hikes that made my road trip wonderful!
Note that 4 parks of this top 5 are SEPAQ parks: I therefore recommend you to maybe think about getting a pass (we explain everything here).
1- The Draveurs Acropolis – Hautes Gorges de la Rivière Malbaie national Park
This one gets the hardest hike trophy! There’s no secret: to have access to such landscapes, you have to deserve it! The 800m of ascending elevation were hard on my blisters I’ve accumulated through all the kilometres.
Indeed, the first 3/4 of the hike are only ascending: we can spot the promising landscape through the trees… And it is! Arrived at the first point of view, I’m thinking it’s over as it’s so beautiful: the canyons are in front of my eyes. But no, there’s still some way to go and breathtaking points of views to see: dizzying mountains and lake at their top will be there to please you for sure.
Departure point : Pin Blanc Camping.
Distance : 11,2km round-trip.
Duration : 6h.
Drop : 800m.
Difficulty : Hard.
2- The Pioui + The Mont du Lac des Cygnes – Grands Jardins National Park
Located at only an hour drive from the first hike, this one is actually drawing it’s the Draveurs Acropolis’. Two gems in a same region… (full article ont he Quebec region available here). It deserves a visit!
The first part is quite confusing: it starts by a small sign informing how to react in case you come across a bear… I only came across some humans on the trail, but it’s a good way to become paranoid at each sound you hear!
I also want to reassure you: all the efforts done during this hike are worth it; it’s certainly the richest landscapes wise that I’ve done: dense forest, colourful plateau, breathtaking points of views, lost lake in the middle of a mountain surrounding my colourful trees… All the elements to be amazed!
Departure point : Mont du Lac des Cygnes service centre.
Distance : 13km loop.
Duration : 5h30.
Drop : 480m.
Difficulty : Hard.
3- The Sentier des Crêtes (until the Pic de l’Ours) – Mont Orford National Park
Here I am in the Estrie region, or how to be so far away from the city agitation at only 30 minutes away from Sherbrooke (article 3 days in the Estrie region here).
It’s the longest hike of the park: 18,7km, 9h walk.
Okay, I have to admit it, I cheated a bit! I walked until the Pic de l’Ours and I walked back to meet the Grande Hall car park where my car was. Which is still an about 10km walk!
But there 5 hours of walking were enough for me to be amazed: it’s not easy because it’s going up quite a bit and sometimes you have to climb to get to reach the path, but it’s wort it. The points of views on the different lakes surrounded by the automnal trees are truly beautiful.
Departure point : The Grande Halte.
Distance : 10km.
Duration : 5h.
Drop : 455m.
Difficulty : Hard.
4- The Mont Saint-Alban departing from Cap-Bon-Ami – Forillon National Park
For the first and last time, a Quebec Park in this classification (it’s normal, they are less numerous than the SEPAQ parks). It’s my crush of Gaspésie (article 1 week in Gaspésie available here).
The departure is from the Cap-Bon-Ami or from the Petit Gaspé beach, but I strongly recommend you the first option: the view there is splendid and the hike will be a little bit easier.
Once the first kilometre done (which is suffering only), I loved this hike: it’s giving access to magnificent points of views on the Forillon cliffs. On the way, there’s an observation tower. You can go up there (and test your vertigo) to have a 360° breathtaking view between land and sea!
Departure point : Cap Bon Ami.
Distance : 7,8km loop.
Duration : 3h30.
Drop : 245m.
Difficulty : Average.
5- The Grand Tour – Bic National Park
After a first rather disappointing try in this Bas-Saint-Laurent park (details here) because the “Les Murailles” hike didn’t convince me, I’m trying again with “Le Grand Tour”.
Can’t really improvise here because you have to leave depending on the tide time. Indeed, the departure has to happen 2h before the low tide. For example, that day, the low tide was at noon. I therefore had to start at 10am.
Here I am, reconciled with this park! This hike is atypical: it’s on rocks next to the Saint-Laurent river and you have to climb onto them to create your path. Usually, I prefer the hikes where you go higher because you can appreciate the landscape better, but this one gives access to some nice open landscapes, and different from the ones I’ve seen so far.
Departure point : Discovery and service centre – Ferme Rioux.
Distance : 8,7km loop.
Duration : 3h.
Drop : very little.
Difficulty : the easiest of the 5.
As said earlier, I usually prefer the hikes where you go higher (although my thighs are burning!). It allows to see so many open and high relief landscapes that Quebéc has to offer. Now… Come on and let’s go hiking!