The Québec maritime Blog
The regions of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Côte-Nord and the Îles de la Madeleine are home to many natural sites, much to the delight of outdoor enthusiasts as well as those seeking peace and relaxation. Are you already familiar with these places? Read on to find out about less known aspects of each of these sites.
While Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island) is known for its hiking trails and Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie (Brandy Pot Island) for its historic lighthouse, both of these islands off Rivière-du-Loup (Bas-Saint-Laurent) also have something in common: they are home to large colonies of seabirds, including common eiders and razorbills. You can observe these birds during a hike, but please make sure you comply with regulations concerning preservation areas.
Located in downtown Rivière-du-Loup, this park will appeal to nature lovers. After admiring the 33-metre (108-foot) waterfall, explore the park’s many trails that meander through and around a variety of ecosystems, including a cedar forest, undergrowth, a river, fields, a heritage orchard and a pond. Several lookouts offer amazing views of the river.
A hike on Saint-Barnabé Island, off the coast of Rimouski (Bas-Saint-Laurent), offers you the opportunity not only to stretch your legs and admire the city from another angle, but also to learn more about local history. Several interpretation panels along the way will tell you more about shipwrecks, bootlegging during Prohibition, life on the island in the past and much more.
This site, located in Saint-Narcisse-de-Rimouski (Bas-Saint-Laurent), is famous for being home to the highest suspension bridge in Québec. It also offers you the opportunity to test your mettle with the Descent to Hell’s Gate, a 300-step staircase along the Macpès River that will take you down to the Rimouski River. Once at the bottom, you’ll have to climb those stairs back up! Along the way, you can admire beautiful views of the surrounding forest scenery. While visiting the canyon, you can also learn more about log driving and participate in various activities for the whole family.
When you visit the Reford Gardens in Grand-Métis (Gaspésie), in addition to the traditional gardens, which showcase some 3000 species and varieties of plants, you’ll find unique contemporary gardens on this site. Designed by architects and artists for the International Garden Festival, these interactive spaces will introduce you to contemporary art while providing a fun experience for the whole family!
When it comes to the International Appalachian Trail in Québec, the very first long-distance hiking route to receive the Grande Randonnée designation in North America (GR®A1), it’s often the Chic-Choc and coastal sectors that trekking enthusiasts have in mind. And yet the trail begins in an equally majestic territory, the Matapédia Valley. Over a distance of 185 km (115 mi.), from Matapédia to the Réserve faunique de Matane, discover powerful salmon rivers, forests full of game, magnificent waterfalls and rich farmland. Shelters and campsites are available all along this segment of the trail.
Before venturing out on the impressive suspended glass platform to admire a truly breathtaking view of Percé Rock, discover the 23 geosites in the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark that reveal 500 million years of Earth history. They include a crevasse, a cave, a magical forest, a bottomless hole, the Pic de l’Aurore cliff and the cliffs on Bonaventure Island. The geosites, whose names are now translated into Mi’gmaq, are accessible on foot along trails of various levels or during a sea excursion.
Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes (Côte-Nord) is particularly popular with birders. After watching birds in the park’s nine ecosystems, head to the Bird Garden, a highly original habitat specifically designed so you can admire bird life. Composed of structures created with recycled materials, this enchanting site includes 300 plant species, an insect hotel and a general store… for birds, of course!
While Corossol Island is a bird sanctuary and Grande Basque Island attracts hiking enthusiasts, Grosse Boule Island is home to a blue mussel farm, which will appeal to seafood lovers! Go on a guided tour to learn all about aquaculture techniques as well as taste delicious shellfish and other products grown on site.
The Îles de la Madeleine archipelago is home to many sites where you can contemplate nature. But did you know that three of these sites are protected areas? Rocher aux Oiseaux (Bird Rock) is a migratory bird sanctuary that can only be observed during sea excursions. The Islands are also home to the Brion Island Ecological Reserve and the Pointe-de-l’Est National Wildlife Area, both of which are open to the public. To make the most of your visit, opt for a guided tour!
Get ready to discover these natural sites and see these wonders with your own eyes!