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

Winter in National Parks: The Best Views

In the cold season, nature retreats under a thick blanket of snow, which transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland. Slip on your coat, hat and mitts to go out and admire the best views in the national parks found in the maritime regions of Québec. Here are a few not to miss!

Parc national de la Gaspésie

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

If you still have the time and energy, head to the Serpentine shelter, which is also accessible to ski tourers from the Ruisseau-Isabelle parking lot. Located in a beautiful larch forest, it’s an ideal spot to admire up close the vastness and sheer beauty of the bowls on Mt. Albert as well as the impressive Mur des Patrouilleurs (literally “Patrollers Wall”), a steep mountain face right in front of you.

Another of the park’s must-see attractions is Lac aux Américains, a lake at the bottom of a huge glacial cirque surrounded by stunning steep rock walls covered in frozen waterfalls. Ski tourers can reach the lake via a 9-km (5.6-mi.) trail that’s also open to snowshoers. Before you head back down, be sure to stop and soak up the beautiful view and warm up by the woodstove in the Pergélisol shelter located near the lake. For a truly unique experience, you can spend a night in the Roselin hut, which is only 500 metres (1640 feet) from the lake. You can then go for a night stroll to admire the same amazing lake scenery by moonlight…

Parc national du Bic

Towering above Parc national du Bic at nearly 350 metres (1150 feet) in altitude, Pic Champlain offers you a stunning view of the Bic Islands, the St. Lawrence and the rugged south shore of the estuary. The region of Côte-Nord will seem so close across the wide expanse of water. Snowshoers can reach the lookout after a steady 4.5-km (2.8-mi.) climb from the P3 parking lot. You can also reach it via a trail through the forest, which is dotted with spots where you can stop to take in beautiful views of the sea. You can then come back down via a wider access road (or vice versa).

Located at the heart of the park and filled with ice floes carried along by the tides, winds and currents, Anse à l’Orignal is a cove offering amazing views of the sea, snow-covered mountains to the south and a multitude of islands and islets. Easily accessible on foot, snowshoes or fatbike, the area around Pointe aux Épinettes is an ideal location to soak up this serene landscape. Snowshoers and fatbikers can also enjoy another beautiful view from the other side of the cove at the Rioux Farm.

Want to see more? Follow the Chemin-du-Nord trail from the Rioux Farm and then the La Pinède trail. After a gradual climb, you’ll reach the top of Montagne à Michaud, a mountain covered in a lovely pine forest. A lookout provides a magnificent view over Anse à l’Orignal, Cap Enragé and the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata

Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata protects magnificent landscapes made up of a vast lake surrounded by the Notre-Dame Mountains in an exceptional forest ecosystem.

From the gateway to the Saint-Juste sector, you can follow the Grey-Owl linear trail on cross-country skis or snowshoes along the shores of Lake Témiscouata for up to 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) and admire unique views along the way, especially from the footbridge over the Touladi River and from the beach across from the Curé-Cyr hut. This hut is also a great place to warm up and can accommodate up to people overnight. If you have the energy and are adequately prepared, you can keep going to the end of the trail until it joins the Vieux-Quai trail, which runs along Anse à William and provide views of the vast frozen lake. You can then head back to the trailhead for an excursion of about 14 km (8.5 mi.) in total. Another option is to explore the Rivière-des-Mémoires trail, which runs along the Touladi River for 6.3 km (4 mi.)—this area is a great place to observe forest and water birds.

Please note that the road between the village of Squatec and the Petit-Lac-Touladi Visitors Centre is accessible to vehicles year-round. However, while the trails throughout the park are marked, they are not mechanically groomed in the winter.


Whether you prefer mountain, sea or forest scenery, our national parks offer breathtaking views that will stay etched in your memory forever. All you have to do now is come and see them for yourself! By the way, admission to Québec’s national parks is free three days a week until mid-March in 2024. Visit the Sépaq website to find out the exact dates and to book your visit.

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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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