© TQ/F.Gagnon

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.
 

What type of hiker are you?

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

The highest summits

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
© Outpost

The longest trails

The longest hiking trails in Québec have something in store for explorers and adventurers alike. You’ll need plenty of endurance and perseverance to successfully tackle these treks!

National Trail in Québec (1075 km), (province of Québec). This hiking trail crosses Québec’s nine tourist regions, passing through national and regional parks, controlled harvesting zones, outfitting camps and private land. It also connects to other Canadian provinces. Level: easy to difficult.

International Appalachian Trail - Quebec GR A1 (650 km), (Gaspésie). This trail crosses through the Gaspésie tourist region. Guided tours and baggage handling are available. Climb Québec’s highest peaks! Level: difficult.

Parc national du Mont-Tremblant (81.8 km), (Laurentians). The Great Trail. This trail is accessible during in fall only; it connects the Lac Monroe area and La Pimbina. Level: intermediate.

Sentiers de l’Estrie (200 km), (Eastern Townships). One of the oldest hiking trails in Québec, this trail winds its way up 10 summits in the Eastern Townships area. Level: easy to difficult.

Sentier national en Matawinie (170 km), (Lanaudière, Laurentians). Hiking trail divided into eight sections across the Lanaudière and the Laurentides regions. Level: intermediate.

Sentiers frontaliers (135 km) (Eastern Townships). This hiking trail follows the border between Canada and the United States. On the Québec side, it connects the Parc national du Mont Mégantic to the mont Gosford. Level: intermediate.

Sentier national au Bas-Saint-Laurent (144 km) (Bas-Saint-Laurent). Hiking trail divided into 12 sections connecting Dégelis to Trois-Pistoles. Part of this trail runs along the St. Lawrence River. Level: easy to intermediate.

La Traversée de Charlevoix (105 km) (Charlevoix). Hiking trail that links the Parc national des Grands-Jardins to the mont Grand-Fonds in La Malbaie. Features a challenging hike due to the many peaks along the way. Level: difficult.

© TQ/C.Savard
© TQ/J-G.Lavoie
© TQ/D.Desmarais

Bridges and suspended walkways

Walk along footbridges and feel like you’re suspended between heaven and earth. Let the sound of cascading waterfalls, rivers and streams and the spectacular landscapes whisk you away!

Parc de la Chute Montmorency (4 km), (Québec City). Hiking trail that edges along this powerful, 83-metre waterfall (30 metres higher than Niagara Falls). Mind-blowing! Level: easy.

Canyon Sainte-Anne (1.5 km), (Québec City). Breathtaking mountain pass with three bridges, one of which is suspended 60 metres above a canyon. Guaranteed to give you thrills! Level: easy.

Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook (20 km), (Eastern Townships). Walk along North America’s longest suspended bridge above a 50-metre-deep canyon. Come sundown, the Foresta Lumina multimedia nighttime experience creates a moody, yet magical setting. Level: intermediate.

Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule (3 km), (Mauricie). Trail dotted with waterfalls and rock walls, the highest one being 30 metres! Enjoy stunning views from the lookout. Level: intermediate.

Canyon des Portes des l’Enfer (12.8 km), (Bas-Saint-Laurent). Pass through the Gates of Hell on your way down the 300 steps to the rivière Rimouski and take in the landscape from Québec’s highest footbridge, 63 metres above ground! Level: easy and intermediate.

Sentier pédestre du Lac Kénogami (39 km), (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean). This trail crosses the rivière Kirouac, with a 23-metres suspended walkway. Cross the rivière Pikauba in a 101-metre trailer lift. A unique experience! Level: intermediate.

Parc national d’Aiguebelle (46 km), (Abitibi-Témiscamingue). This park is home to the largest moose population in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. You might even spot one from the top of a suspended walkway! Levels: easy to difficult.

Domaine de la Seigneurie (15 km), (Chaudière-Appalaches). This park is home to the largest collection of lilac cultivars in North America. Levels: easy and intermediate.

Parc des Chutes-de-la-Chaudière (5 km) (Chaudière-Appalaches). A 35-meter waterfall. Walk along a 13-metre-long suspended bridge, 23 metres above ground! Level: beginner to intermediate.

Parc de la caverne du Trou de la fée, (4 km) (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean). Trail on the edge of a magnificent canyon. Walk along a footbridge suspended between rock walls. Try out spelunking as you discover the granite cavern known as the Trou de la fée (Fairy’s Cave)! Level: intermediate.

© TQ/C.Bouchard
© TQ/V.Brillant
© TQ/M.Julien

Pilgrimage trails

Need to take a break and recharge your batteries? Trek along one of Québec’s pilgrimage trails and discover places where nature, culture and spirituality reign supreme.

Parcours de marche au Cœur de Mégantic (115 km), (Eastern Townships). This trail passes through 10 municipalities in the Mégantic region. Level: easy.

La Marche d’Alphonse (100 km), (Laurentians). This walking path in the Oka area winds its way through city streets, country roads, bike paths and hiking trails in the Parc national d’Oka. Level: easy.

Chemin de Saint-Jacques Compostelle des Appalaches (150 km), (Chaudière-Appalaches). Hiking trail that winds through country roads around Thetford Mines. Level: easy.

Chemin des navigateurs (400 km), (Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec City, Chaudière-Appalaches). Hiking trail that connects Pointe-au-Père, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, near Québec City. Level: easy.

Sentier Notre-Dame Kapatakan (215 km), (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean). Also known as the Canadian “Little Compostela,” this hiking trail connects Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay, Cap Trinité de Rivière-Éternité and Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, up to the national sanctuary of Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette. Level: intermediate.

Chemin de Saint-Rémi (800 km), (Centre-du-Québec, Eastern Townships, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Chaudière-Appalaches). Rural hiking trail that passes through four tourist regions. This trail fosters a spiritual experience. Level: easy.

© TQ/C.Parent
© TQ/S.Deschênes
© TQ/J.-P.Huard

Urban trails

Leave the city’s hustle and bustle behind and enjoy the quiet calm of hiking trails located in the urban parks of Montréal and Québec City. Get ready to unwind!

Montréal

Parc du Mont-Royal (40 km). A 234-meter high wooded mountain in the heart of Montréal. Lookouts around the mountain offer impressive city views. Level: easy and intermediate.

Parc Jean-Drapeau (25 km). Located on an island in the St. Lawrence River, this urban park is reachable by metro or river shuttle. Spectacular views of Montréal! Level: easy.

Parc nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques (16 km). Located on the western tip of the city of Montréal, this park offers several scenic lookouts from the waterfront. Level: easy.

Québec City

Parc des Champs-de-Bataille (17km). Located in Old Québec, this park along the St. Lawrence River is a historic site where the battle between the French and the British Empire took place in 1759. Level: easy.

Parc linéaire de la Rivière-Saint-Charles (32 km). This walking trail that runs along the river is home to a variety of bird species. Level: easy.

Domaine de Maizerets (11 km). A magnificent trail located on a historic site first established in 1705. Gently winds through wooded areas, wetlands and an arboretum. Level: easy.

© TQ/B.Cecile
© TQ/J.-F.Frenette
© TQ/D.Gunther