The region of Bas-Saint-Laurent offers a diversity of natural environments, including 190 kilometres (120 miles) of coastline, immense forests, ancient mountains, majestic lakes and mysterious islands. As you can imagine, this means there are numerous possibilities for outdoor activities. Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy the great outdoors in a region full of picturesque landscapes.
The Témiscouata sector is also home to one of the parks to the Parcs Québec network, Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata. Located alongside Lake Témiscouata, this park combines nature and history. There are nearly 7 kilometres (4 miles) of cycling trails and over 30 kilometres (20 miles) of hiking trails, including the National Trail. Kayaking and canoeing are also possible. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even go canoe camping. History buffs will want to visit the Garden of Memories and participate in archeological activities.
Although its name might give you the impression that it’s only located in the Témiscouata region, the Petit-Témis Linear Park (north section) is also accessible from Rivière-du-Loup. From there, a 70-kilometre (45-mile) trail along an old railroad bed will take you all the way to Cabano. The trail is reserved for cyclists and hikers and runs along rivers and through a forest. As you explore the Petit Témis, you will come across several rest stops, three wilderness campgrounds and a small restaurant, the Café de la Station, which also provides boxed lunches. The north section is patrolled throughout the summer and is level enough to be accessible to all.
Are you looking for an oasis of peace and nature in the middle of the city? This is exactly what Parc des Chutes de Rivière-du-Loup offers. Explore the 10 kilometres (6 miles) of hiking trails and cross the two footbridges over the river to admire magnificent views. The park’s main attraction is its impressive 33-metre (108-foot) waterfall. And while you’re at it, why not pack a picnic lunch inspired by local flavours and enjoy this site even longer? You can also go on a guided tour of the hydroelectric station to find out more about the history of hydro generation in this area.
Are you ready for an excursion to the heart of the St. Lawrence? Head out to the Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie (Brandy Pot) Island and Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island) off Rivière-du-Loup. On the agenda: a sea excursion, hiking on 45 kilometres (30 miles) of trails, marine wildlife observation, bird watching, a visit to a lighthouse and more! To make the most of your visit, I suggest you spend the night on one of the islands: on Île aux Lièvres, you can stay in an inn, cottage or campsite; or you can opt for the Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie Lighthouse. Be sure to inquire about the various packages available.
A few kilometres before Rimouski, you will arrive at Parc national du Bic. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, this coastal park invites you to discover its capes, bays, islands, forests and meadows via a multitude of activities. Those who are more adventurous will enjoy exploring the 15 kilometres (9 miles) of cycling trails or the 25 kilometres (16 miles) of hiking trails; they can also paddle around the islands. If you’re feeling more contemplative, you can observe rare plants and several animal species, including seals, white-tailed deer, seabirds and birds of prey. To find out more about this natural environment, be sure to chat with the naturalist park wardens on site.
Located off the coast of Rimouski, Saint-Barnabé Island gives you the opportunity to take a break from the fast pace of urban life while enjoying a unique view of the city. Inhabited in the 18th century by a hermit named Toussaint Cartier, this island now offers 20 kilometres (12 miles) of hiking trails and is an ideal location to observe seals and over 70 species of birds. You can also spend the night on the island in one of 12 campsites. Dry toilets, non-drinking water and a communal shelter are available on site. Does this sound like an adventure for you?
About 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of the city, in Saint-Narcisse-de-Rimouski, the Canyon des Portes de l’Enfer is a unique and spectacular site that includes narrow rock walls up to 90 metres (295 feet) high, 20-metre (65-foot) waterfalls, a network of hiking trails through the forest, the highest footbridge in the province (63 metres / 207 feet) and a 300-step staircase that will take you down to the river (and that you’ll have to climb all the way back up!). For less strenuous family-friendly activities, enjoy Les Portes d’Oniria, an enchanted trail, and a geocaching treasure hunt challenge. You also won’t want to miss the tribute to the log drivers of old.
Also just outside the city, in Saint-Gabriel-de-Rimouski, Domaine Valga invites you to discover the heart of an old-growth forest via its aerial park (called Forêt de Maître Corbeau). Try out some of the 94 treetop challenges (including zip lines) available at six different levels of difficulty. This is a thrilling experience for adventurers of all ages! Canoeing, kayaking, swimming and hiking are also offered, as are ATV and mountain bike trails. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to spend the night in Eastern Québec’s largest log inn! You can also stay in a fully-equipped cottage.
As you can see, there’s no lack of enjoyable outdoor activities to choose from in Bas-Saint-Laurent! All you have to do now is decide what appeals to you the most and enjoy the fresh air in our region!