Québec is a pretty city that has a lot to offer as you can discover it in our article “The must-do in Québec”. But it’s also an interesting place because there are a lot of places to visit around it, easily accessible to spend the day.
To make it easier, we’ve organised these places from the nearest to Québec centre by car, to the farthest.
Montmorency Falls – 15 minutes
Known to make the famous Niagara Falls blush, the Montmorency Fall are located only 15 minutes away by car from Québec city centre. It’s also easily accessible by bus.
After a few difficulties (puncture…), we eventually arrived at this SEPAQ park by the end of the day… Which wasn’t such a bad thing because SEPAQ means buying an entrance ticket… (except if you’re clever and that you read the article “Prepare a trip to Canada / Québec” beforehand!)… Except when it’s 6pm and that all counters are closed. After the good surprise of the free entrance, we discover the fall which indeed is quite imposing. The park is really nice and we can observe it under all its angles: from above thanks to a suspended bridge, from afar thanks to a platform, and from below (487 steps later, that you have to go back up, let’s not forget that!). For the ones who like a little sensation, there’s even a via ferrata and a zip line!
I strongly recommend you to come at this time of the day because it’s much less busy and the sunset with the night view of the Montmorency Fall and the Québec lights in the background… It’s just wahoo!
Orléans Island – 20 minutes
Recommended by the taxi driver that came to save us, we drove around the Orléans Island. Situated at around 20 minutes drive from Québec, it’s linked by a bridge to the countryt. After a few minutes of driving, we make a stop to walk along the Horatio walk offering a nice view over Québec from the opposite shore.
Okay, I admit it, we don’t stay too much and go back in the car because the weather isn’t soo good… We’re continuing our tour thanks to the one and only street. There are nice houses, but it’s a little sad because it’s not very lively… But it’s normal because the majority of the houses have a “To sell” sign!
If you do not have much time, you can skip this spot.
Chaudière Falls – 25 minutes
Contrarily to the comments I’ve read, it’s rather the Chaudière Falls (this picture isn’t as beautiful as expected) and not the Montmorencys that I would compare to the Niagara Falls (which I still haven’t seen!).
Indeed, this place (completely free, open from May to the end of October), observable thanks to several paths, offers not just one fall, but MULTIPLE ones. They are much less high, but their power is as impressive!
Saint-Anne Canyon – 40 minutes
If you are a fan of suspended bridges and waterfalls, the Saint-Anne Canyon Park will be just like paradise for you! The trail allows to enjoy the canyon at different heights, we go from vertigo to the scare of being blown away by the wind! The autumn colours are here and make the place even more beautiful.
I strongly recommend to come here and spend half a day.
Jacques Cartier National Park – 45 minutes
Without a doubt one of the most famous parks of Quebec. It’s only 45 minutes away from the city. This park is huge and we were able to do only one hike. We therefore chose to follow the path “Les Loups” (The Wolves) because it was recommended to us… I don’t know if I’m starting to become picky after a month full of hikes, but this 11km long one disappointed me because it’s not offering much more than a walk through the forest… I think the Jacques Cartier national park has a lot better to offer!
By the way, I strongly advise you to go to the Pont-Banc from where you’ll have a very nice view of the mountains reflecting in the water of the Jacques Cartier river.
Grands Jardins National Park – 1h35
We’re going a bit further away but the drive is clearly worth it. The Grands Jardins National Park is definitely part of my Québec favourites. The hike I’ve done there is in my Top 5 hikes in Québec (article here): “Le Pioui” hike associated with the “Mont du Lac des Cygnes” one.
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!
Hautes Gorges de la Rivière Malbaie National Park – 2 hours
Last place and therefore the furthest away. But once again, it’s according to me a must-do. If you don’t want to do return-journeys from Québec, I recommend you to take a break in La Malbaie, small little town at the side of the Saint-Laurent, 30 minutes away from this park (and the previous one).
The hike “Acropole des Draveurs” is also part of my Top 5 of the most beautiful hikes to do in Québec… And it’s got the trophy of the hardest!
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.
I really liked this region and I can only recommend you to take time to discover and expore it.
It’s already time for me to take the road towards the north to reach the region of Saguenay, article here.
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