Québec City’s Greatest Parks
Surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests, the Québec City area is a gorgeous region that’s incredibly fun to explore. Locals and visitors love the easy access to the great outdoors just minutes from the city, with more than enough to keep you busy in every season. Get the lowdown on the parks that offer beauty, fresh air, and outdoor activities as far as the eye can see.
Jacques Cartier National Park
Jeff Frenette Photography
@evemaa, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
This 670 sq. km park is known as one of the most beautiful glacial valley in the province. Traversed by a spectacular river, it is home to moose, beavers, deer, porcupines, and over 130 species of birds. With a bit of patience and luck, you’ll likely come across some of them in their natural habitat. Park scenery is the stuff memories are made of, with evergreens dominating the high plateaus and broadleaved trees and other plants carpeting the valley bottom.
No matter the season, the view of the valley as you arrive will blow you away. Drop by the welcome centre to ask about the numerous outdoor activities on offer at this celebrated SÉPAQ park.
Park activities: hiking, river sports (canoeing, kayaking, tubing, rafting, paddleboarding), snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and fatbiking.
On‑site accommodation: camping, yurts, glamping tents, cabins, and huts.
Hébergement sur place : camping, yourtes, tentes prêt-à-camper, chalets et refuges.
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Jeff Frenette Photography
Want to see a spectacular waterfall just 15 minutes from Old Québec? Of course you do! Located where the Montmorency River feeds into the St. Lawrence River, Montmorency Falls Park is the perfect place to observe a thrilling natural phenomenon. Plunging 83 metres (272 feet), Montmorency waterfall is even taller than Niagara. From the top of the famous suspension bridge, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and Île d’Orléans. The falls are beautiful all year round, but especially impressive when they’re at their most powerful during the spring thaw.
In the winter, the spray from the falls creates a huge cone of ice called the sugarloaf, which often grows to more than 30 metres high. There are enough activities on site to keep you busy for hours, so take your pick and have fun!
Park activities: cable car ride, via ferrata, double zipline, suspension bridge, and trails.
Canyon Sainte-Anne, Jeff Frenette Photography
Drive 30 minutes from Old Québec toward Mont-Sainte-Anne and you’ll reach a giant canyon with rock faces that were formed 1.2 billion years ago and a 75-metre waterfall. A stroll through the forest will take you to 3 suspension bridges where you can gaze into the gaping chasm below. This site is accessible for people with limited mobility and children of all ages, making it ideal for a family outing.
Park activities: hiking, suspension bridges (accessible for people with limited mobility) via ferrata (also open in the winter), Air Canyon, zipline.
Vallée Bras-du-Nord, Étienne Dionne
@fredboutet, Vallée Bras-du-Nord
@charlesolivierbisson, Vallée Bras-du-Nord
It takes an hour to get to Vallée Bras‑du‑Nord Park from Québec City, but with 80 km of hiking trails and 100 km of mountain biking trails, it’s well worth the drive! Explore this vast wilderness playground on skis, on foot, on snowshoes, or by river. And don’t miss the majestic waterfall.
Park activities: mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, canyoning, via ferrata, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and fatbiking.
On‑site accommodation: yurts, huts, cottages, and backcountry camping.
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area
Réserve national de faune du Cap-Tourmente, Audet Photo
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area is a mesmerizing study in contrasts, with gorgeous views of the St. Lawrence River, as well as marshlands, agricultural plains, and mountains. It’s a major site for birdwatchers, especially in the spring and fall, when tens of thousands of greater snow geese make their temporary home in the marshes. Nature‑lovers and hikers will love this unique protected area.
Activities: hiking and bird-watching.
Parc naturel régional de Portneuf
With its towering stratified cliffs, the gorge section of Sainte Anne River is a sight to behold. If you like rocks and caves, this is a great place to try your hand at speleology. In Saint‑Casimir, follow a guide into the second‑longest cave in the province, Le trou du diable. There are also educational activities for young adventurers who want to learn more about nature and life in the forest, and plenty more to keep adults and teens busy, including 70 km of hiking trails.
Park activities: rock‑climbing, speleology, hiking, river sports (tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding), treetop ropes courses for kids, snowshoeing, and cross‑country skiing.
On‑site accommodation: cottages available for rent.
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