Quebec's trails are a pleasant mix of culture, heritage and a whole lot of natural wonder. As the second-largest province in Canada by land, and the largest by water, no one should be surprised by how much wilderness Quebec has on offer. If enjoying and exploring the Great Outdoors is your thing, trekking French-Canada should be high on your adventure list. Here are 21 of the best, most awe-inspiring hikes in Quebec.
1. Les Sentiers de l'Estrie
Region: Eastern Townships
Length: 200 km
Trailhead: Glen Sutton
Stretching from Sutton to Kingsbury, this impressive hike crosses several mountains, including Mont Sutton and Mont Orford. There are designated campsites, B&Bs and inns along the way, as well as cultural activities to keep you entertained. The non-profit hiking club connected with the trail organizes close to 200 hikes each year.
2. Vallée Bras du Nord (Saint Raymond)
Region: Eastern Townships
By Ybou photos from St-Léonard de Portneuf, Québec, Canada (CC by SA 2.0)
Region: Saint Raymond
Difficulty: Beginner, intermediate and difficult options
Length: 80 km (total)
Trailhead: Different trails throughout
Bring the whole family—your dog included!—to explore 80 kilometres of trails. There are eight shelters and many accommodation options scattered throughout the area, which are open year-round. You can purchase an annual family pass for $91.32. Canines must remain on leash.
3. Deux-Criques Trail (La Mauricie National Park)
Length: 17 km (loop)
Time: 7-8 hours
Trailhead: Begin this hike at Riviere-de-la-Peche campground
This demanding trail is worth the effort. Begin early in the morning, as the 17-km round-trip trek will eat up most of the day. Along the way, you will discover Ruisseau du Fou falls and a scenic lookout. Only attempt this hike if you are physically fit and carrying the proper equipment.
4. Pingualuit Crater (Parc national des Pingualuit)
(c) TQ, Mathieu Dupuis via quebecoriginal.com
Difficulty: Easy—but hard to get to!
Length: 2.5 km
The Pingualuit Crater has been documented as a geographically mesmerising place you simply have to see. Located in northern Quebec, this circular water-filled crater is known as “the Crystal Eye of Nunavik” for the water’s translucence. It was formed by a meteorite crash 1.4 million years ago, making it one of the oldest lakes and best-preserved craters in the world. Parcs Nunavik will take you on an all-inclusive nine-day trekking tour for $4,999.
5. La Traverse (Park national d'Aiguebelle)
Length: 3 km
Time: 1.5 hour
This trail is very well maintained. You’ll pass over a 22-metre high suspension bridge as you hike through Aiguebelle Park. The nature in this park is supreme; there are traces of glacial formations from millions of years ago.
6. L’Aventurier (Park national d'Aiguebelle)
Length: 9.5 km (loop)
Time: 5.5 hours
Trailhead: Lac la Haie parking lot
This trail may be a little hard to follow, but if you find yourself circling Lac la Haie, you know you’re going the right way! You’ll begin at the La Traverse suspension bridge before forking off onto this trail.
7. Les Versants (Park national d'Aiguebelle)
Length: 11 km (round-trip)
Time: 6 hours
Trailhead: Lac Sault parking lot
Hike through valleys and discover scenic viewpoints to soak in the horizon. You will travel over rocky landscape that dates back billions of years on this challenging trek.
8. Les Lacs (Forillon National Park)
©Parks Canada. All rights reserved.
Length: 35 km (round-trip)
Time: 12 hours
Trailhead: Near Route 197
Stunning scenery, numerous lakes and views of the Morris River valley are all features of this hike. From here, you can access the International Appalachian Trail. Make use of the backcountry campsites and lean-to shelter.
9. Les Crêtes (Forillon National Park)
© Parks Canada. All rights reserved.
Length: 36.4 km (round-trip)
Time: 13 hours
Trailhead: Near the operational centre
A forested mountain trail leads to incredible views over the Anse-au-Griffon valley and across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Don’t try to conquer this trek in one day—stay at a rustic campsite along the way.
10. Pic de l'Aube (Parc national de la Gaspésie)
Length: 11.8 km (round-trip)
Time: 4 hours
Trailhead: km 19 of the Lac-Cascapedia campground
This trail leads to the most breathtaking, picture-perfect view of the St. Lawrence and Chic-Choc mountain range. It is part of a longer, multi-day trek, but the summit can be done in a day.
11. Mont-Richardson (Parc national de la Gaspésie)
Arfphandal Forfal Forphan
Length: 11.5 km (round-trip)
Time: 6 hours
Trailhead: Mont-Joseph-Fortin parking lot
This popular hike is at its peak in late autumn and winter, when snowshoers, cross-country skiers and bundled-up hikers overtake the trail, relishing in its seasonal beauty. There is a good chance of seeing moose or caribou here.
12. East Point National Wildlife Reserve (îles des Madeleines)
Length: 4.5 km
Trailhead: Route 199
The Magdalen Islands have several short, scenic and satisfying hikes. You can take two of these trails in East Point National Wildlife Reserve, an eco-system with unique vegetation and plenty of bird-watching opportunities.
13. Mont d'Iberville (Parc national Kuururjuaq)
Length: 9 days/8 nights with Quebec Adventure
Hire a local guide to lead you over to Torngat Mountains. At 1,646 metres, Mont D’Iberville is the highest peak in Quebec—but you don’t have to summit it to appreciate its beauty.
14. Les Cascades Trail (La Mauricie National Park)
Flickr/Steven Clark (CC by 2.0)
Length: 2.1 km (round-trip)
Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Shewenegan Picnic Area
Pass by marshes and maple trees on this leisurely hike. You will cross a stream and loop back to the campsite. If this trek isn’t challenging enough for you, you can connect to the more demanding Les Falaise trail.
15. L'Acropole des Draveurs (Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie)
Flickr/Annie Pilote (CC by 2.0)
Length: 10.4 km
Time: 4-6 hours
Translated to “Logger’s Acropolis,” this popular hike commences with a steady climb. There are three summits that yield magnificent views. Keep a look out for caribou, which have been spotted along this trail.
16. Les Caps (Parc national Fjord du Saguenay)
Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult
Length: 18 km (round-trip)
Time: 9 hours
Trailhead: Parking lot 3
Accessible year-round, this trail provides scenic views over Saguenay. You can hike the full circuit to Cap Eternite, or just take the first 10.2 km (four to five hours) to the Geant Lookout.
17. Sentier Le Fjord (Parc national Fjord du Saguenay)
Length: 42 km
Time: 21 hours (multi-day)
This is a gorgeous two- to three-night hike. Tackling it in two days means hard hiking—three days would be more enjoyable for intermediate hikers. Be prepared to run into wildlife, stumble upon waterfalls and find some of the most beautiful viewpoints in the country. Water is available every five or six km; ensure you stock up at every opportunity.
18. île Nue de Mingan (Mingan Archipelago National Park)
Eric Lajeunesse via Parks Canada
Length: 8.3 km (loop around the island)
Time: 3.5 hours
Trailhead: île Nue de Mingan campground
The landscape here is called “the barrens,” and it looks like it sounds. The island is sparsely populated with stubby bonsai trees, but otherwise austere and wind-swept. Highlights include remains of Basque ovens and seabirds. Avoid the slippery seaweed at low tide.
19. Les Cypripèdes Trail (Mingan Archipelago National Park)
Length: 10 km (loop)
Time: 5 hours
Trailhead: Near the interpretation centre
The longer of two trails on Quarry Island, this hike follows boardwalks through forests and peat bogs with stunning coastal views. There are two campgrounds and oTENTiks available to rent.
20. Sentier Notre-Dame, Kapatakan (Saguenay)
Length: 215 km (one-way),
Time: 12 days
This is Quebec’s version of Spain’s epic Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. More of a walk than a hike, this is a religious and cultural experience unlike any other in Canada.
21. Champlain Trail (Gatineau Park)
Tsai Project via Flickr.com/tsaiproject (CC by 2.0)
Length: 1.3 km
Time: 30 minutes
The Champlain Trail leads to the Champlain Lookout atop the Eardley Escarpment. From here, you’ll be treated to the best views over the Ottawa Valley, encompassing both the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
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