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5 Good Reasons to Visit the Matapédia Valley
  • Parc régional de la Seigneurie-du-Lac-Matapédia, Amqui, Gaspésie
    Dany Vachon/Tourisme Gaspésie

5 Good Reasons to Visit the Matapédia Valley

Cutting through the Chic-Choc and Notre-Dame mountains, the Matapédia Valley* stretches from the village of Sainte-Angèle-de-Mérici to the village of Matapédia, in Gaspésie. This area features mountains, fields, forests, lakes and rivers, all of which will delight outdoor enthusiasts. Here are five good reasons to visit the Matapédia Valley.

1. Relive 150 years of fishing history

The Matapédia Valley is home to salmon rivers that have been popular fishing destinations for over a century! To learn more about the history of sport fishing in the area as well as that of private fishing clubs, visit the Matamajaw heritage fishing site in Causapscal. During an audio tour of the heritage buildings, you’ll learn about what life at the Matamajaw Salmon Club was like at a time when distinguished guests were hosted by wealthy New York businessmen. As you can imagine, this site has heard many fishing stories!

2. Go snorkelling with Atlantic salmon

Salmon rivers aren’t just for fishing! You can also go snorkelling with these vigorous fish, an activity offered by Nature Aventure in Matapédia. Accompanied by a guide and dressed in a neoprene wetsuit, you’ll swim in rivers, pools and rapids to observe the king of our rivers: the Atlantic salmon. It’s a fun and educational activity since your guide will also tell you all about these fish and their aquatic environment! The company also offers canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on the Restigouche and Matapédia rivers, as well as hiking on the Québec section of the International Appalachian Trail, which has been recognized as the first long-distance hiking route (GR®) in North America.

3. Go via ferrata climbing along a rockface

Do you have an adventurous spirit? Then you’ll want to climb the Chute à Philomène via ferrata in Saint-Alexandre-des-Lacs! You’ll begin this route, the first of its kind in Gaspésie, by crossing a suspended walkway right in front of the impressive waterfall, which is 33 metres (108 feet) high. Your guide will then lead you along the rockface for about 300 metres (1000 feet) and you’ll finish on a high note by soaring through the air on an 85-metre zipline (280 feet) back to your starting point. This activity is supervised by a first aid-certified guide who is a via ferrata climbing expert and is accessible to anyone aged 10 or over. You will of course be provided with all the safety equipment required.

4. Drive across the area’s covered bridges

As you travel through the Matapédia Valley, you’ll notice a number of covered bridges over rivers. Some are somewhat famous, such as the Heppell covered bridge in Causapscal, which has been recognized as a historic monument; the Routhierville covered bridge, the longest in Eastern Québec; and the Beauséjour covered bridge, which was moved from Rimouski to Amqui in 1999. But why build a roof over a bridge, you may ask? In the middle of the 19th century, bridges were built of wood, which deteriorates rapidly when exposed to the elements. The idea of adding a roof was to protect the bridge’s structural supports, which turned to work well since we can still admire these landmarks today! Don’t you think covered bridges add a special touch to any country setting?

5. Admire the scenery from a different perspective

What better place to contemplate the landscape than from a lookout? You’ll find three in the Matapédia Valley that are well worth the detour! In Saint-Alexandre-des-Lacs, step out onto a suspended platform that’s 21 metres (70 feet) long to admire a view of the Chute à Philomène waterfall. In Matapédia, the Deux-Rives lookout is an impressive curving tunnel-like structure overlooking the confluence of the Matapédia and Ristigouche rivers. Finally, in Saint-André-de-Restigouche, the Coeur des Plateaux lookout is a twisting tower made of wood and metal that will lead you to a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

Will you add these sites and activities to your itinerary during your road trip along the Bas-Saint-Laurent – Gaspésie Tour? You can also spend a few days in the Matapédia Valley by opting for one of the many lodging establishments in the area. Enjoy your stay!

*The Matapédia Valley encompasses three sectors of the region of Gaspésie: La Mitis, La Matapédia and La Baie-des-Chaleurs (Avignon).

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Author Anne-Josée Pineau

Born in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Anne-Josée Pineau loves this region and is delighted to introduce others to it. Never far from the sea, she’s fascinated by lighthouses and could live on seafood alone! On this blog, she likes to write about our regions’ unusual attractions, make your mouth water by describing local delicacies, and pique your interest by revealing some of the hidden beauty found in Québec by the Sea. In other words, she wants to provide you with lots of ideas for an unforgettable vacation!

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