Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean © TQ/C.Savard

Hiking

Avid adventurer or occasional ambler, hardened athlete or eager visitor, hiking amid Québec’s most breathtaking scenery gives you access to places that can only reached by foot. »

Québec is liberally strewn with trails for everyone, from the casual rambler to the seasoned hiker. You'll find over 6,000 km of trails accessible to hikers, with close to 40% located in the Gaspésie, Laurentides and Eastern Townships regions.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the coureurs des bois (woodsmen) travelled by foot and canoe through Amerindian lands to conduct illicit fur trading. These intrepid explorers played a pivotal role in opening the continent to European settlers and forging economic relations with the Aboriginals.

The Gaspésie region, a must for hiking enthusiasts, features six of Québec’s 20 highest peaks. Those fond of long walking tours will enjoy the International Appalachian Trail, which covers more than 650 km of the area from east to west. Chances are you’ll cross paths with at least one of the area’s many caribous on your hike!

A number of national, regional and municipal parks, wildlife reserves and many private networks have a host of hiking trails offering a wide variety of forest landscapes.

Québec has three vegetation zones:

• Northern: The deciduous trees that make up most of the Laurentian forest are simply breathtaking, especially in the fall when the leaves change. This type of forest is mostly made up of sugar maple and yellow birch trees.

• Boreal : Just further north, the boreal forest (taiga) is resistant to cold and features coniferous and resinous trees such as pine, fir, spruce and larch trees .

• Arctic: For a complete change of scenery, the James Bay, Eeyou Istchee and Nunavik areas of the Nord-du-Québec region offer a landscape of swaying grasses and sedges, lichens, mosses and small shrubs.

The Parcs Québec (Sépaq) network has over 200 hiking trails for hikers of all levels. Marked pathways, raised walkways and lookout points offer breathtaking views. Moreover, different types of accommodation (cabins, shelters and primitive campgrounds) dot long-distance trails.

Hikers can learn about the rich flora and fauna along the trails that bears, wolves, foxes, beavers, moose, caribous and other species all call home. Interpretation panels along the trail inform hikers of the surrounding wildlife. Amateur bird watchers will also be in their element, as these forests and wetlands home to many bird species.

© Parc national des Grands-Jardins TQ/S. Deschênes
© TQ/C.Savard
© TQ/M.Julien

Nine tourist areas selected among the 20 highest climbable summits in Québec offer spectacular views. Hike the trails, from the Laurentian forest to the alpine tundra, while trekking through the boreal forest along the way!

Mont d’Iberville (1,652 m), Parc national Kuururjuaq (Nunavik). This northern trail across the Torngat Mountains is the highest peak in Québec. Level: very difficult.

Mont Jacques-Cartier (1,268 m), Parc national de la Gaspésie, (Gaspésie), International Appalachian Trail (8.5 km round trip). Spectacular views of the Chic-Chocs Mountains from the summit. You’ll definitely see some caribou there! Level: difficult.

Mont Gosford (1,192 m), Mont Gosford, Cross-border hiking routes (14 km round trip) (Eastern Townships). This trail is mostly lined with fir trees. Marvel at Mount Washington and the White Mountains from the 360-degree observation tower on the summit. The views will take your breath away! Level: intermediate.

Acropole des draveurs (1,048 m), Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie (11.2 km round trip), (Charlevoix). The steepest trail in Québec, with a landscape that changes from maple groves to the alpine tundra as you climb. Spot caribou, mink and eagles along the way. Level: difficult.

Mont Veyrier (1,104 m), Monts Groulx, unmarked path (Manicouagan). For expert hikers only. From its peak, you can see the Manicouagan Reservoir, one of the world’s largest craters. Level: very difficult.

Pic Dubuc (984 m), Parc National des Monts-Valins (12 km round trip), (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean). This trail offers a multitude of panoramic outlooks as the trail winds its way up. A must-see destination! Level: difficult.

Pic Johannsen (935 m), Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (14,6 km, round trip), (Laurentians). Trail running along a stream dotted with waterfalls. Features a few lookouts on the way up over the valleys of the rivière de la Diable and rivière Rouge. The view from the summit is partially obstructed by vegetation. Level: difficult.

Mont du Midi (915 m), Parc régional du massif du sud (16 km round trip), (Chaudière-Appalaches). Hiking trail that runs along the river’s edge and rock walls. Magnificent panoramic views. Level: difficult.

Mont Sainte-Anne (800 m), Mont Sainte-Anne (9 km, round trip), (Québec City). This panoramic trail offers breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and île d’Orléans, with several lookouts on the way up. Level: easy to very difficult.

© TQ/M.Dupuis
© TQ/S.Deschêne
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