The National Park Tour

| 12 days |2020 km (1255 mi.) | from Tadoussac to Squatec

Located in mountains, forests or marine environments, the national parks found in the regions of Eastern Québec can be explored on your own or with a guide. Visit the parks’ interpretation sites or enjoy hiking, cycling, sea kayaking, canoeing, sea excursions and more. Most parks offer accommodations in the form of campsites, cabins, huts or even four-star hotels. All of them offer high-quality services and facilities, thus ensuring that your visit is an enjoyable one.

The following is a 12-day itinerary through our parks; however, there are so many things to do and see in these parks that nature lovers will surely want to spend more time in each of them!

Travel Itinerary

Tadoussac

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Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay

Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay has been marked by the retreating glaciers and offers vast and unique landscapes to explore on foot or by mountain bike. Sea kayaking is also an ideal way to discover the stunning beauty of the fjord. Bordered by rich flora, it is home to a variety of bird species, including the peregrine falcon, the park’s animal emblem. Naturalist guides will introduce you to the secrets of this park through theatrical performances, guided hikes and talks. You can prolong your stay by camping in the park or renting a cabin.

Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

Covering an area of 1245 km2 (480 sq. mi.), the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is the only park in Québec composed entirely of water. Participate in a sea excursion to encounter the many marine mammals found in this park, including the only beluga pod south of the Arctic and subarctic regions, humpbacks, and blue whales, the largest animals to have ever lived on earth. You can also observe whales from several locations along the shore. A number of sites along the park boundary make up the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Discovery Network, including the Marine Environment Discovery Centre and the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre.

645 km (400 mi.)Tadoussac to Havre-Saint-Pierre

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If you have time and want to drive less in a single day, add a few of the stops suggested in the Whale Route to your itinerary. In any case, the drive to Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan or Havre-Saint-Pierre is well worth it—the scenery in the Minganie region is unique and awe-inspiring.

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

The Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is an exceptional park made up of some 30 limestone islands and over 1000 granitic islets and reefs. Go for a hike on Niapiskau Island or Nue de Mingan Island to observe a rich variety of wildlife, including the famous Atlantic puffins (nicknamed sea parrots because of their colourful beaks). The interpreter guides on site will be happy to tell you about the natural and cultural features of the park, including its flora, fauna, geology, history and lighthouses. The waters of the archipelago offer many opportunities for sea excursions, scuba diving and sea kayaking. For a unique experience, spend the night in an oTENTik tent on an island.

SIDE TRIP

Parc national d'Anticosti

Accessible by boat from Sept-Îles or Rimouski, by boat shuttle from Rivière-au-Tonnerre or by plane from several locations in Québec, Anticosti Island has a population of about 300 people and 160,000 white-tailed deer. This means your likelihood of seeing deer during a hike to Vauréal Falls or Baie-Sainte-Claire (formerly English Bay) is very high! This wild island will charm you with its white cliffs, steep canyons and sea caves. Spend the night in a seaside cottage or lighthouse.

Sainte-Anne-des-Monts

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Parc national de la Gaspésie

A must for hikers, Parc national de la Gaspésie is home to 25 summits over 1000 metres (3300 feet), in the Chic-Choc and McGerrigle mountains, which are the highest in Québec. This “sea of mountains” protects a large moose population as well as the only herd of caribou south of the St. Lawrence. You can hike Mt. Jacques-Cartier and Mt. Albert via Lake Cascapédia where you can canoe, kayak or try out stand up paddleboarding (SUP). At nightfall, head to the Discovery Centre for evening talks before spending the night in one of the park’s many lodging options, including the Gîte du Mont-Albert, a four-star hotel overlooking the mountains.

240 km (150 mi.)Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Gaspé

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Forillon National Park

Overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gaspé Bay, Forillon National Park is located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in an area known as “Land’s End.” The park is noted for the rich flora of its boreal forest and is also home to thousands of seabirds that nest in its cliffs and which can be observed during hikes. Seal colonies also inhabit the waters of the St. Lawrence along with whales—they can be seen from the shore, during sea excursions or while scuba diving. Be sure to also visit the Grande-Grave sector to learn more about the history of this area at the turn of the 20th century. You have several camping options, including oTENTik tents.

75 km (45 mi.)Gaspé to Percé

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Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé

Located in Percé, Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé has a rich natural and historic heritage. Go on a sea excursion to Percé Rock, Québec’s most famous natural attraction, which has been sculpted by time and the sea. Explore Bonaventure Island and its cliffs, which resemble those of Scotland or Ireland. The island is home to 250,000 migratory birds of 11 different species. Hike along one of the island’s four trails to the most accessible northern gannet colony in the world, which is made up of 116,000 birds. The architectural heritage of the island reflects the importance of fishing in the 18th and 19th centuries. The park also offers evening shows presenting the park’s attractions in Percé (in French only).

210 km (130 mi.)Percé to Nouvelle

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Parc national de Miguasha

Visit Parc national de Miguasha and go back in time some 380 million years. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and renowned for its unusually well-preserved fossils, the park has a permanent exhibit and several trails, which you can explore with or without a guide. The “Evolution of Life” trail will take you to the fossil-rich cliff—you can admire the view while learning about fossils. Be sure to also visit the only fully intact specimen of Elpistostege watsoni ever found in the world. Part of an exhibit since 2014 and nicknamed Elpi, this fossil represents the transition between fish and land vertebrates. In addition, the From Water to Land exhibit presents an impressive collection of plant and fish fossils from the famous cliff.

235 km (145 mi.)Nouvelle to Rimouski

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Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site of Canada

On July 8, 1760, the last naval battle between France and Great Britain for possession of the North American continent took place in Chaleur Bay. The “historic site” is actually the wrecks of several convoy ships that sank in Chaleur Bay during this battle. Nearby, an interpretation centre exhibits vestiges of the Machault frigate, a French vessel sent to do battle with the English fleet. The site offers three exhibits, which include the reconstituted interior of the ship, a model of the frigate and a presentation of the historical context of the time.

Parc national du Bic

Let yourself be charmed by the variety of landscapes in Parc national du Bic, from capes and bays to islands and mountains. Explore the park along 25 km (16 mi.) of hiking trails or 15 km (9 mi.) of cycling trails. Climb Pic Champlain where you can admire views of the sea, forest and islands. On your own or with a guide, observe flora and fauna including seals and migratory birds. Marked by the presence of the Micmacs, this park invites you to discover its natural and cultural history through various activities such as theatrical performances or talks. Sea kayaking excursions give you the opportunity to admire the scenery as well as seabirds and marine mammals. You can also choose to spend the night in a regular tent or in a Huttopia tent or yurt.

85 km (55 mi.)Rimouski to Squatec

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Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata

The latest addition to Québec’s national park network, Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata invites you to discover its lakes and mountains. Explore Lake Témiscouata, which is nearly 40 km (25 mi.) long by hiking, cycling, canoeing or kayaking. To learn about the ancient connections between humans and the territory, visit the Garden of Memories. The park also has 62 archeological sites, where you can take part in archeological digs or enjoy a role-playing game. In the evening, you can participate in a bat-monitoring activity with a naturalist guide before admiring the sunset aboard a rabaska canoe on Lake Touladi and then listening to stories and legends from this region. The park is also ideal for canoe camping.