Best Hiking Around Québec City
The Québec City area has a geographical landscape to rival its culture. That may explain why hiking is the most popular and accessible outdoor activity around here, for both experienced hikers and newbies. There’s just so much nature and so many stunning landscapes! The trails will take you to cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River, through glacial valleys, and into the heart of the boreal forest. Here are a few practical tips and recommendations to make your hike one to remember.
Note: You may have to pay your admission online in advance to enter certain parks. Our best advice is to inform you directly on the website of the place of your choice before going there.
Best Hiking Trails for Day Hikes
Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
Discover a huge national park boasting over 100 km of trails, giving you plenty of freedom to explore. Try the Loups trail, with its spectacular view of one of Québec’s most beautiful glacial valleys. There are lots of animals about, so keep your eyes open. You may just catch a beaver at work on a dam!
The wildness of Vallée Bras-du-Nord makes it a favourite among hikers. Follow the river and you’ll find plenty of nice spots for a dip. Or take the Bras-du-Nord trail for a spectacular view of Delaney Falls.
Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay is known for its short, well‑groomed trails on flat, even ground, making it perfect for family nature walks. The rock-roofed shelters along Le Rocher trail are a neat natural phenomenon that’s popular with kids. They’ll be talking about those funny rocks all the way home
There are many ways to climb the 625 metres (2,050 feet) to the top of Mont-Sainte-Anne, including trails from easy to advanced and a gondola! No matter how you get there, you’ll enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding hills, the St. Lawrence River, and Île d’Orléans. If you plan to take the gondola up or down, be sure to check the schedule before you head out.
Epic Hiking Trails for Multi-Day Hikes
- Steve Deschênes
- Francis Gagnon
Sentier des Caps
Sentier des Caps is a 51 km trail running through the hills of Charlevoix, with the St. Lawrence River below. Spend 2–5 days in this pristine natural environment dotted with huts where you can spend the night. The wide wilderness and breathtaking views of the river will reward you for your efforts!
The Philosore Trail and the Falaise Trail are great challenges for the more athletic. The wooden mountain huts offer a unique experience while the friendly village of yurts offer a little more comfort.
Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
Set up your base camp in or Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier and head out to explore impressive glacial valleys. There are yurts, campsites, huts, and cottages to make your nature getaway that much easier.
Hiking Trail Conditions That Change with the Seasons
Although most trails are open all year long, here’s some information to help you optimize your hike in each season:
In summer, even if it feels suffocatingly hot in the city, lower temperatures in the forest can make it surprisingly nice for a hike. Just be sure to bring enough water and stay hydrated.
Fall is often the most popular hiking season, both for the beauty of the colours and the absence of mosquitoes. Since the weather is cooler, be sure to bring warmer clothes and a raincoat. If you can go hiking during the week, do! With all the nine-to-fivers out for their fill of fresh air, the trails can get pretty busy on weekends.
In winter, contrary to what you might think, you can often go hiking without snowshoes. If it hasn’t snowed in a few days, the snow on the trails will have been compacted by the previous days’ hikers.
In spring, it’s best to wait a few weeks after the thaw before heading out into the forest. Most trails are in good hiking condition by mid-May. Bring a bottle of mosquito repellent.
Hiking in the company of a guide allows you to explore the most beautiful areas without hassle, in addition to learning more about the local flora and fauna. From downtown, set off for the day on the most beautiful trails of Jacques-Cartier National Park with Quatre Natures. For the more experienced hikers, the various hiking packages over several days around Québec City with Québec Pure Experience are a must.
How to Go Hiking Without a Car?
If you don’t have a car, you can take a shuttle bus to Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier. It leaves from Québec’s city centre and takes you to the discovery and services centre right in the heart of the Jacques-Cartier Valley. Contact Quatre Natures to book a seat.