The Québec maritime Blog

Snow and Snowshoes: A Winning Combo in Eastern Québec!
  • Saguenay Fjord, Côte-Nord
    Marc Loiselle/Tourisme Côte-Nord

Snow and Snowshoes: A Winning Combo in Eastern Québec!

In the winter, the landscapes of Eastern Québec are covered in a blanket of snow, which is perfect for snowshoeing! Here are eight of the most beautiful sites in our regions that you’ll want to discover on snowshoes.


A monadnock trail: A window on the St. Lawrence

5 km (3 mi.) round trip

As you drive along the Navigators’ Route, you’ll notice ancient hills, known as monadnocks (cabourons in French), rising up along the St. Lawrence, a sight that’s sure to attract your attention if you’re a snowshoeing enthusiast. The Cabouron trail is the perfect way to satisfy your curiosity! A parking lot on Rang du Mississipi, in Saint-Germain-de-Kamouraska, provides access to the trail, which begins with a 500-metre (1650-foot) climb, at which point you can admire a view of the farmland spread out before you in the interior of this region. The next climb will take you up to a ridge where you’ll find stunted conifers and your first magical view of the coastline. Soon after, the Faucon lookout offers another incredible panoramic view of the St. Lawrence Estuary as well as of the mudflats along the coast and the Kamouraska Islands. You can admire similar views from the Nordet and Suroît viewpoints and then retrace your steps back to the trailhead while still keeping an eye on the St. Lawrence.

Following in the footsteps of smugglers

5.3 km (3.3 mi.) loop

The Bic Islands are teeming with stories of prohibition that have left their mark on local place names. Parc national du Bic is no exception. Set off on the Le Contrebandier (Smugglers) trail, which begins at the Rioux Farm, at the gateway to the Cap-à-l’Orignal peninsula. Although closed in the winter, this photogenic building overlooking Anse à l’Orignal is a reminder of the area’s agricultural past. The trail follows the shoreline to Anse à Voilier before heading up the side of a small mountain. You’ll climb through the woods, approaching Cap à l’Orignal and then Anse à Mouille-Cul, from where you can admire a view that extends as far as Îlet au Flacon, across Baie du Ha! Ha! As you loop back, you’ll snowshoe through a lovely pine forest to your starting point near Anse à l’Orignal.


A lookout over a sea of mountains

4.6 km (2.9 mi.) round trip

Parc national de la Gaspésie offers many snowshoe trails and all the snow you’ll need to enjoy them, which can sometimes last until the month of May! Often lined by high snowbanks, Route 16 provides access to the Mont-Ernest-Laforce trail. This easy trail will first take you through a forest of conifers half-buried in snow. You’ll then ascend the mountainside beyond the tree line and can admire views of what is known as the “Valley of Kings,” since moose frequently gather here. You’ll continue your climb on nearly bare rock since the wind blows the snow off this section of the trail, all the way to the summit. A wooden lookout at the top offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding Chic-Choc and McGerrigle mountains. The best part? Watching the sun set behind Mt. Albert before making your way back down.

A geopark overlooking Percé Rock

6.2 km (3.9 mi.) round trip

Recognized by UNESCO for the area’s unique geology, the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark offers 18 km (11 mi.) of trails that can be explored for free on snowshoes in the winter. Although the geopark’s famous suspended glass platform is closed during the cold season, you’ll still be able to admire a breathtaking panoramic view of the village of Percé, Percé Bay and legendary Percé Rock. First, climb the Arpenteurs trail and then follow the Belvédères trail, which is dotted with six beautiful viewpoints on your way to Mt. Sainte-Anne. You can also head to the Pavillon des Grandes Marées to admire the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


A hike along the Saguenay Fjord

11.3 km (7 mi.) point to point

The magnificent Saguenay Fjord is the focus of this snowshoeing hike departing from the Ferme 5 Étoiles holiday centre in Sacré-Coeur. After a dogsledding excursion and a visit to the wildlife refuge, discover the farm’s well-marked snowshoe trails on your own or with a guide. The 18-km (11-mi.) network of trails will take you southward through a magnificent old-growth forest. The further you go along the Yourtes trail, the more viewpoints you’ll find, especially once you’re past the lodging units overlooking the fjord. This trail then overlooks Anse à Pierrot, but be sure not to miss the one that dips to the left and will take you back along the fjord for a bit longer. Return to the loop of the Yourtes trail and then follow the Montagne trail before the last 2 km (1.2 mi.).

Boreal forest, coves and islands

8 km (5 mi.) point to point

Located just west of Port-Cartier, the Les Goélands outdoor centre offers 25 km (15.5 mi.) of free snowshoe trails. Here, you can go snowshoeing among spruce, fir and birch trees as well as along the edge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Start with the La Plage trail, which will take you along a stunning waterfront following the Côte de Glaise, then take the Charlot trail to the lookout over Anse à la Glacière. Keep snowshoeing southward along the coast for about 1 km (0.6 mi.) to Anse à la Fiole. The Relais Sud trail will then take you across a peninsula as you overlook Baie de la Goélette, which is dotted with islets. Make your way to the yurt, which stands guard here, and then return via the Relais Nord trail through the forest, unless the call of the sea makes you to want to retrace your steps!

Îles de la Madeleine

A windswept hill on Cap aux Meules

3.5 km (2.2 mi.) round trip (including loops)

Located near the centre of Cap aux Meules Island, the Butte du Vent is a fantastic place to go snowshoeing. Start on Chemin des Arsène, in L’Étang-du-Nord, and gently make your way up the side of the hill in fresh snow. This is an exposed section of the trail, so if the wind picks up, it’s likely to be very cold! You’ll soon head into the forest, where you’ll have three short loops to choose from as you progress towards the top of the hill, which means you don’t have to come back the same way you went. At the highest point, 166 metres (544 feet) above sea level, you can admire a view of the island, the surrounding hills, the Borgot Lighthouse, Cap de l’Hôpital and frozen beaches.

A trail through golden snow

11.3 km (7 mi.) point-to-point

The Sentiers Entre Vents et Marées is a 230-km (145-mi.) network of trails that allows you to explore the entire archipelago, but the Grande-Entrée section is one of the most varied! For a somewhat shorter hike, start from Auberge La Salicorne and snowshoe to Allée Wilfrid-Langford, which will quickly lead you to a trail through the woods. Next, follow Chemin de la Ceinture and Chemin du Bassin Ouest to a beach, from which you can snowshoe out to Boudreau Island and back. This part of the trail climbs, giving you an amazing view of Bassin aux Huîtres, which is cut off from the Gulf of St. Lawrence by a long sandbar. On your way back to the main trail, your eyes will be drawn to the red cliff of La Bluff. Once you’re overlooking it, you’ll be able to admire the majestic Grande-Anse Beach. At this point, you’ll be snowshoeing through golden snow, which has been sprinkled with sand from the top of the cliff by the wind… From Cap à Isaac, you’ll be able to spot Entry Island and Havre Aubert Island on the horizon as you head towards the fishing harbour, then continue along the shore to a small church, where the trail ends.

Eastern Québec offers lots of other opportunities to go snowshoeing in the mountains, in forests and along the shore. There’s no doubt that a trip to our regions in the winter will make you want to come back to play in our beautiful snow again and again!

Author Anne Pélouas

Anne Pélouas, a native of France, has been a journalist in Québec for over three decades. She was the Canadian correspondent for the prestigious French daily newspaper Le Monde for 20 years, while also working as a freelance journalist specializing in tourism, the outdoors and the art of living for Québec publications, a niche she maintains with passion. She has travelled throughout the maritime regions of Québec and continues to be enchanted by the landscapes found here as well as by her memorable encounters and the unusual activities on offer, all of which provide rich fodder for her stories.

Post a comment

(0) comment