The Québec maritime Blog

Hiking along the Sea in Eastern Québec
  • Parc national du Bic, Bas-Saint-Laurent

Hiking along the Sea in Eastern Québec

Nothing beats an invigorating walk along the St. Lawrence while lulled by the sound of the waves, the wind and the smell of the sea! Fill your lungs with salty sea air and feast your eyes with coastal beauty as you explore the trails along the shorelines of Eastern Québec.


In Saint-André-de-Kamouraska, the SEBKA site offers beautiful trails for those who love maritime landscapes. Both the Batture trail, which is directly along the water, and the Aboiteaux trail, which runs near the shoreline, will give you the opportunity to admire the salt marshes found along the St. Lawrence.

Rivière-du-Loup is another place to go for a stroll along the water. In Parc de la Pointe, you can watch the ferries and pleasure boats go by, contemplate the shoreline and soak up all the colours of the region’s famous sunsets along this park’s paved path.

On Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island), off Rivière-du-Loup, the Grande Course trail will take you on a 15-km (9-mi.) loop around the entire island, across beaches, through the forest and over rocky shores. When you get to the eastern tip of the island, known as “Bout d’en Bas” (downriver), be sure to pause and look around: colonies of both grey and harbour seals sometimes put on quite a show along the water’s edge.

A must-see attraction in this region, Parc national du Bic offers a variety of hiking trails, most of which are along the sea. For a chance to see seals basking on the rocks, you can go on two easy hikes: the Chemin-du-Nord trail, which will lead you from one cove to the next as far as Cap à l’Orignal, or the Île-aux-Amours trail, which will take you across a sandy channel at low tide to a charming little island of the same name. For more experienced hikers, the 9-km (5.5-mi.) Grand Tour offers magnificent views via a few steep passages.

Just a stone’s throw from Rimouski, you can also explore Saint-Barnabé Island during a 12-km (7.5-mi.) hike. The trail will take you around the island through the woods and across beaches and fields. Along the way, you can admire various natural sights, along with a lovely panoramic view of the city of Rimouski and another of Parc national du Bic in the distance.


At the Pointe-à-la-Renommée Historic Site, home to North America’s first maritime radio station, you can follow the Les Pionniers trail along the coast. Starting from a pebble beach where you’ll find an old fishing station, you can walk 5 km (3 mi.) along the edge of the water to the small fishing village of L’Anse-à-Valleau.

In Forillon National Park, near Gaspé, the Les Graves trail will take you through wooded areas and uncultivated fields from Anse-aux-Américains to Cap Gaspé, which the Mi’gmaq called Gespeg, or “land’s end.” As you admire the area’s rugged beauty, be sure to keep an eye out for porcupines and black bears as well as an ear out for the blow of the whales offshore!

Not far from there, in Percé, the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark offers several trails along the sea, such as the short Pointe Saint-Pierre trail. In addition, the Falaises trail, which is accessible via the Grande Coupe trail, offers two beautiful vantage points overlooking the water.

Rich in natural, historical and geological heritage, Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is home to a number of the geopark’s geosites. On Bonaventure Island, the Les Mousses and Les Colonies trails both lead to Pointe à Margaulx, where you can admire the world’s most accessible northern gannet colony up close! You can then follow the Chemin du Roy back to the wharf. Along the way, stop at Baie des Marigots, where you may spot seals, and admire a few uninhabited century-old houses, a reminder of the island’s fishing past.


In Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, the Le Fjord trail offers a superb 41-km (25.5-mi.) hike along the cliffs overlooking the Saguenay River. From Sainte-Marguerite Bay, where you’re likely to spot belugas, all the way to Tadoussac, you’ll be able to soak up a series of spectacular views as you hike from cape to cape. To access a shorter version of this hike, start from the Ferme 5 Étoiles holiday resort in Sacré-Coeur. In Tadoussac, the short Pointe-de-l’Islet trail offers views of the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence Estuary. Both whales (including belugas) and seals are regularly sighted along this trail. At just over a kilometre in length and bordering the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, the trail is well laid out, with a few rocky passages. It also features interpretive panels that will tell you about the history of the area as well as life in a marine environment.

Near Baie-Comeau, at Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes, the Aventurier trail will take you through most of this nature park’s ecosystems, along boardwalks, via gazebos and on marked trails. Much of this hike is along a sandy beach (accessible at low tide), which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the province!

A little further east, in the Sept Îles Archipelago, the 10-km (6-mi.) loop trail around Grande Basque Island will take you through the forest and via capes and coves. This hike also gives you access to two summits, from which you can admire impressive views of Sept-Îles Bay and the rest of the archipelago.

Located off Havre-Saint-Pierre, the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve boasts 80 km (50 mi.) of trails on the archipelago’s nine main islands. On Quarry Island, the Les Cypripèdes trail circles the western part of the island, mostly along pebble beaches and flats. It offers views of Grande Île before leading to Anse des Erosions, home to the archipelago’s famous monoliths, those fascinating limestone giants. You can loop around the eastern part of the island by following the Le Petit Percé trail. On neighbouring Niapiskau Island, the Samuel trail will take you along nearly crystal-clear waters and is a great place to go bird watching.

Last but not least, Anticosti Island, which was recently added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, will also appeal to coastal hiking enthusiasts. On the south side of the island, follow the Les Échoueries trail, which offers a 12-km (7.5-mi.) round-trip hike to a seal colony. Although located outside the boundaries of the national park, this trail is dotted with interpretive panels that contain information about marine mammals and algae.

Îles de la Madeleine

By its very nature, the beautiful Îles de la Madeleine archipelago is a vast and fabulous playground for seaside hiking. Covering almost the entire coastline of the Islands, the Sentiers Entre Vents et Marées trail network offers nearly 235 km (145 mi.) of hikes along golden beaches, natural trails and back roads. You can choose to concentrate on one or more of the 13 sections of this trail network, all of which offer close-up views of the unique beauty of these islands shaped by the wind and sea.

Accompanied by a guide from Auberge La Salicorne, discover the natural beauty of the Islands in the Pointe-de-l’Est National Wildlife Area. The L’Échouerie trail will take you deeper into this unique and fragile ecosystem via a magnificent landscape of dunes that leads to the superb Grande Échouerie Beach (also known as Old Harry Beach). You can then keep walking along the edge of the water on this white-sand beach for another 8.5 km (5 mi.).

The maritime regions of Québec are home to many trails that offer opportunities for dream excursions along the coast. Perfect for fans of coastal hikes, these trails are also great ways to discover the plants, wildlife, geology and history of our regions.

Author Marie-Ève Blanchard

Marie-Ève Blanchard and Marie-Julie Gagnon leapt at the chance to make two trips to the maritime regions of Québec. First, accompanied by their daughters, they road-tripped through the regions of Côte-Nord, Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent, enjoying the breathtaking scenery during their many adventures. The two of them then headed to the Îles de la Madeleine, where they enjoyed the slower pace of the Islands and were charmed by the exotic beauty of this archipelago.

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