A 45-km drive from one of Canada’s prettiest and most historical communities, Quebec City, brings you to Jacques Cartier National Park. The Jacques Cartier River flows through the centre of the park, surrounded by steep, forested mountains on either side. This outdoor mecca offers tons of winter and summer activities and over 100 kilometres of hiking trails.  Many of the trails have minimal elevation gain making them ideal for the whole family. Grab your hiking boots and check out 10 of our favourites.

 

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Credit: joenevill Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Les Loups Trail

 

Length: 11 km return
Time: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 447 m

This must-do trail is one of the most popular in the park. Be prepared for a fairly steady uphill climb. The spectacular views at the summit of the towering walls of the Jacques Cartier and Sautauriski valleys make it worth the sweat. You can even glimpse some of the fractures of the Laurentian Massif. Download the Quebec Park Path Explorer app before you go to learn about the plant and animal life and history of the trail.

How do I get to Les Loups trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 16.

Read more: sepaq.com

 

Les Cascades

 

Length: 4 km loop
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

It’s easy to see how Les Cascades got its name, as most of the trail follows along a cascading stream. Little bridge crossings and fields of flowers offer lots of photo ops so have your camera handy. This is another trail that’s available on the Park Path Explorer app.

How do I get to Les Cascades trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 10, the Discovery and Visitors Centre.

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Le Scotora

 

Length: 16 km return
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 405 m

Less crowded than some of the busier trails in the park, a fairly steady up-hill climb from the Jacques Cartier River brings hikers to the summit of Mont Adante. At the top, you’ll get a stunning view of the valley's gorges below. If you’re lucky, you might spot some beavers building dams.

How do I get to Le Scotora Trail trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 30.

Read moresepaq.com

 

La Tourbiere

 

Length: 2.9 km loop
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: Minimal

A quick, easy, scenic trail that offers hikers bang for their buck when it comes to nature experiences: cross a spongy peat bog, a balsam fir stand, a yellow birch forest and watch for beaver dams. This is one of the few trails in the park where dogs are allowed.

How to access La Tourbiere trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 3.

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Le Perdreau

 

Length: 5.4 km loop
Time: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

If you’re keen to experience Quebec’s famous colourful maple forests, plan this one for the fall. A steep climb takes you alongside the Jacques Cartier River, past Buvard Lake and through the maple groves. Pick up a picnic lunch from one of Quebec City’s boulangeries and eat it here for maximum ambiance. 

How do I access Le Perdreau trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 18.

Read moreout-there.com

 

La Matteucie

 

Length: 4.8 km return
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

This easy trail takes you through a forested area and lush glades filled with emerald green ferns. It follows the Jacques Cartier River and links the Le Perdreau and Les Loups trails. 

How do I access La Matteucie trailhead: Take the Parc National Road to km 16 or km 18 to catch either end of the loop.

Read moresepaq.com

 

La Croisee

 

Length: 12.3 km return
Time: 4 - 5 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

Find some of the park’s best scenery and viewpoints on this hiking trail that winds through deep gorges to the crest of the Jacques Cartier River. Although elevation gain is minimal, this hike is long, which makes it moderately difficult. The middle section splits into two parallel trails, so you can change up the view on your return.

How do I access La Croisee trailhead: Take Parc National Road to km 33.

Read moresepaq.com

 

Les Coulees

 

Length: 10.4 km loop
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 210 m

Do you love long loop trails? Then this is the hike for you. Start at the Belleau brook and trek to stunning viewpoints overlooking the valley and the Laurentian Mountains.

How do I get to Les Coulees trailhead: Take Parc National Road to km 10.

Read moreout-there.com

 

Le Draveur Sud

 

Length: 14.8 km return
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

The perfect backpacking route, this old forested road trail follows the bank of the Jacques Cartier River, connecting to Le Draveur Nord at Le Pont Blanc. You’ll want to get to camp early to secure your site, as there’s only one and canoeists use it as well.

How do I get to Le Draveur Sud trailhead: Take Parc National Road to the Discovery and Visitors Centre at km 10.

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Le Draveur Nord

 

Length: 24.8 return
Time: 8 - 10 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal

This longer trail follows an old road along the west bank of the Jacques Cartier and eventually connects to Le Draveur Sud. You’ll find magnificent panoramic views of the valley and rocky cliffs on this trail. With a choice of two campsites, Le Draveur Nord is another great choice for backpacking. Keep your eyes open for moose; it’s not unusual to see them on the trail.

How to access Le Draveur Nord trailhead: Take Parc National Road to km 18 or km 30.

Read moreout-there.com

 

 

Have you hiked these trails?

Which was your favourite?

Comment below!

 

 

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