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Winter in National Parks: The Best Views
  • Parc national du Bic
    Sépaq / Mathieu Dupuis

Winter in National Parks: The Best Views

When winter comes, nature puts on a thick layer of snow which gives a whole different character to the landscape. Slip on your toque, gloves and warm clothes, and come and enjoy the views in our national parks, in the maritime regions of Quebec. Here are a few suggestions for you.

Parc national de la Gaspésie

Mt. Olivine is one of the most popular destinations in Parc national de la Gaspésie in the winter, and for a reason. The trail is accessible only to snowshoers from the Discovery and Visitors Centre or from Ruisseau-Isabelle parking lot (12 km / 7.5 mi. and 8.6 km / 5.3 mi. return, respectively). In both cases, your efforts will be rewarded as soon as you set foot on the ridge above tree line, as a series of treeless mountains and the vast bowl of Mt. Albert greet your eyes.

If you still have time and energy, head to the Serpentine shelter, which is also accessible to cross-country skiers from Ruisseau-Isabelle parking lot. Located in a beautiful larch forest, it’s an ideal location to see from up close the vastness and sheer beauty of the bowls on Mt. Albert as well as the impressive Mur des Patrouilleurs that stands right in front of you.

Another classic of the park is Lac aux Américains. The huge glacial cirque creates a scenery that promises to leave you speechless, with frozen waterfalls coming down its high rock walls. Cross-country skiers reach the lake by a 9 km (5.6 mi.) groomed trail that’s also open to snowshoers. Warm up by the wood stove in the Pergélisol shelter, located just steps from the lake, while enjoying the beautiful views before heading back down. For a truly unique experience, spend a night in the Roselin hut, merely 500 metres (550 yards) from the lake. During the night, take a stroll back to the lake to appreciate the same amazing scenery, but this time, under the moonlight…

Parc national du Bic

Towering above Parc national du Bic with its 346 metres (1150 feet) of elevation, Pic Champlain offers you an unrestricted view on Bic Islands, on the St. Lawrence River and on the rugged shoreline down below. The North Shore seems so close by, across the wide estuary. Snowshoers get to the lookout after a steady 4.5 km (2.8 mi.) climb from P3 parking lot. It’s possible to go up by a trail in the forest, with nice views on the sea along the way – which make for perfect rest stops – and to come back down on a wider access road, or vice versa.

Filled with ice floes carried along by the tides, the winds and the currents, and piled any old how, Anse à l’Orignal, located in the heart of the park, combines amazing views on the open sea, on snow-covered mountains to the south, and on a series of islands and islets. Easy to get to either on snowshoes, on foot following a groomed trail or on a fat bike, the area around Pointe-aux-Épinettes is an ideal location to savour this serene landscape. Snowshoers and fatbikers can also enjoy the reversed – and just as beautiful – view from the other side of the cove, at Ferme Rioux.

You want a little more? Continue along the Chemin-du-Nord trail from Ferme Rioux and take the La Pinède trail. Following a gradual climb, you reach the top of Montagne à Michaud, where stands a lovely pine forest. A few steps further a lookout gives you a magnificent view on Anse à l’Orignal, Cap Enragé and the St. Lawrence River.

Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata

A vast lake surrounded by the Notre-Dame Mountains in an exceptional forest ecosystem. Those are the ingredients that create the grand and magical scenery of Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata.

From Saint-Juste sector entrance, the Grey Owl linear trail follows the shore of Lac Témiscouata on 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) providing you with awesome views, especially from the footbridge over Rivière Touladi and from the beach in front of Curé-Cyr hut. That hut is also a great place to warm you up during your hike, and it can accommodate up to 8 people for the night. If you have the energy and preparation to do so, keep on going to the end of the trail until it joins the Vieux-Quai trail that follows the shore of the huge frozen lake along Anse à William, then head back to the trailhead for a hike of some 14 km (8.5 mi.) in total.

Please note that the road is accessible year-long to vehicles between the village of Squatec and Petit-Lac-Touladi Visitors Centre, and that the trails throughout the park are not marked out and not groomed.

 

Whether you prefer landscapes in the mountains, along the sea or in the forest, you will find in our national parks breathtaking views that will stay forever engraved on your memory. They are all yours to explore!

Tags winter

Author Jean-Pascal Côté

A certified translator and avid outdoorsman, Jean-Pascal Côté works as a freelance writer and translator in Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region where he was born. He regularly escapes his daily life by going road biking, cycle touring or cyclocross racing, skiing in the mountains of Bas-Saint-Laurent or Western Canada, or sea kayaking on the St. Lawrence River. He is constantly dreaming up new travel plans. He also blogs (on an admittedly irregular basis) about his cycle touring adventures.

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