The Québec maritime Blog
Hiking is a great way to enjoy the fresh air, discover and learn about local geography, flora and fauna as well as admire panoramic views of magnificent scenery. Here are several hikes accessible to all ages that can be enjoyed in the maritime regions of Québec!
When visiting Rivière-du-Loup, a stop at Parc de la Pointe is a must: the south shore of the St. Lawrence is yours to explore along this park’s paved path. Go in search of the “Indian Head,” a painted rock that’s been part of our local heritage for over 50 years. The 5-km (3-mi.) round-trip hike is dotted with interpretive panels, play areas and swings. The park is easily accessible to strollers and people with reduced mobility.
Why go there: This park is a great place to admire some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world while your children enjoy the play areas!
Further south you can visit Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata and explore the 0.7-km (0.4-mi.) Curieux de Nature trail with your children. This nature trail includes six discovery stations, each of which recounts a moment in the history of the park’s territory. Through physical challenges and discovery games, children can let loose and have fun while learning more about this area.
Why go there: This park gives you the opportunity to learn more about local First Nations history as well as about loggers and local wildlife, including the famous bald eagle!
Drive to the end of the road that takes you through Parc national du Bic for a family hike starting from the Rioux Farm. Put on your hiking shoes and follow the Chemin-du-Nord trail along the coast at the edge of the woods (4.2 km/2.6 mi. round trip). Note that this trail is accessible to strollers most of the way, except for the last few hundred metres, which are on a narrower path.
Why go there: This trail provides several access points to the beach, where visitors of all ages can pause and admire the scenery. In addition, the end of the trail offers a magnificent view of the cliffs of Le Bic and the immense St. Lawrence Estuary!
Inland from Rimouski, you’ll want to visit the Canyon des Portes de l’Enfer, a popular family-friendly attraction. The Grand Sault trail, in the canyon area, leads to a breathtaking waterfall of the same name. As you enjoy this 1-km (0.6-mi.) hike, you’re bound to feel small in the face of the awesome scale of nature!
Why go there: In addition to the waterfall, the site is home to the highest suspension footbridge in Québec and offers several fun activities, including a maze and the Gates of Onira, an immersive adventure in an enchanted world!
One of a series of lookouts along the Route des Belvédères scenic drive, the aptly named Horizon de Rêve (“Horizon of Dreams”) in Saint-Alexis-de-Matapédia is not to be missed. Accessible via a short and easy 300-metre (980-foot) trail, this viewpoint overlooks the Restigouche River from an altitude of 300 metres (980 feet).
Why go there: The lookout offers an incredible view of the river meandering through rolling hills covered in forest.
A gem of a trail can be found in the spectacular Percé UNESCO Global Geopark: the Magic Forest loop. This 900-metre (2950-foot) hike will take you through a wooded area between Mt. Sainte-Anne and Petit Mont Sainte-Anne. A short segment of this relatively easy trail is a little more rugged, but it’s still accessible to the whole family.
Why go there: You’ll find yourself transported to another world featuring twisted trees and a fantastical atmosphere!
A short hike is available as soon as you enter the North Area in Forillon National Park. Departing from the Visitor Information and Discovery Centre, the loop trail will take you through a deciduous wooded area and then along the St. Lawrence (which the locals call the sea) before looping back to your starting point.
Why go there: This trail offers amazing views of the sea and eroded mountains! Since it’s only 500 metres (1650 feet) long, it’s suitable for children of all ages. In addition, the path is along a wooden boardwalk and offers multisensory interpretive panels, making it accessible to people with physical or visual impairments.
Located at the heart of the sea of mountains found in Parc national de la Gaspesie in the interior of the Gaspé Peninsula, Mt. Ernest-Laforce is ideal for a family hike. The 4.6-km (2.9-mi.) loop trail to the summit will take you through a forest of conifers and birches before the trees thin out and the view opens up. At the lookout on the top of the mountain you’ll find plaques that identify the surrounding peaks, some of which are among the highest in Québec!
Why go there: One of the best views in the province awaits you at the top of this mountain! Keep your eyes peeled during the climb and you may spot moose, which are numerous in this area. During high season, a naturalist guide will be on site to answer your questions and tell you more about the king of our forests.
Discover the Le Fjord trail in the Baie-Sainte-Marguerite sector of Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. This wide 6-km (3.7 mi.) trail leads to the Halte du Béluga lookout and is accessible to strollers and bikes. Along the way, admire breathtaking views of the Saguenay Fjord where rocky cliffs plunge into deep waters.
Why go there: Sainte-Marguerite Bay is frequented by female belugas and their young, making the lookout a great place to admire these endangered marine mammals without disturbing them.
A visit to Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes will give you the opportunity to explore nine distinct ecosystems as well as experience the Alice in Wonderland trail, a fun interactive activity for the whole family. Riddles and discovery stations await you here, along with a magical labyrinth! Meet historical characters along the way on this 2.5-km (1.6-mi.) adventure.
Why go there: The nature park is a great place to learn more about local history while having fun!
Visit Parc Aylmer-Whitton in Sept-Îles to enjoy a walk that’s out of the ordinary. The park’s flat and accessible trails will take you through a natural mixed woodland dominated by spruce. A couple of observation towers offer great views of Sept Îles Bay and Père-Conan Island.
Why go there: Nicknamed Squirrel Park, this site is home to many squirrels that are easily observable.
On Quarry Island, in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, follow the Petit Percé trail, which forms a 3.8-km (2.4-mi.) loop along the shoreline and gives you many opportunities to admire the St. Lawrence stretching out as far as the eye can see. Before you set off, make sure you’re aware of the tide schedule, since some areas may be inaccessible at high tide.
Why go there: Along the trail you can contemplate huge limestone monoliths sculpted by millennia of erosion. Children will have fun identifying the various shapes they make, including an owl, a crocodile and a woman. We bet you’ll enjoy this activity too!
In Parc des Buck, enjoy discovering one of the rare wooded areas on the archipelago. The 5-km (3-mi.) hike will take you through an environment that’s the habitat of many different species of birds as well as a rich variety of plants. Find out more by reading the interpretive panels along the way.
Why go there: This trail will give you access to views of the rest of the archipelago, particularly Cap aux Meules Island.
The barachois trail is located in very special wetlands, between Dune du Nord and the lowlands in Fatima. Learn more about this unusual environment along the 4-km (2.5-mi.) round-trip trail. Interpretive panels along the way will tell you more about the three types of marshes: freshwater, brackish and saltwater.
Why go there: See for yourself the importance of wetlands to ecosystems. This site also harbours a diversity of birds, making it a popular bird-watching destination!
Open to hikers and cyclists, the Sentier du Littoral (coastal trail) in Cap-aux-Meules offers an easy 2-km (1.2-mi.) hike that’s accessible to the whole family. This paved trail will take you to the beach, much to the delight of children! It also leads to a lookout (accessible via 185 steps) that provides an amazing panoramic view of the port as well as the surrounding islands.
Why go there: Admire amazing coastal scenery all along this trail!
Several trails meander across the Réserve naturelle des Demoiselles. The hills in this nature reserve (called Buttes des Demoiselles) offer great views of the La Grave heritage site, Entry Island and, of course, the sea stretching out to the horizon. Breathe in the fresh sea air as you enjoy this 1.9-km (1.2-mi.) hike.
Why go there: You’ll never forget the breathtaking 360-degree views from the tops of these hills!
Have these hikes piqued your interest and inspired you to want to visit us? Find more ideas for your trip by consulting our Road Trips and Getaways page!