5 Places to Run Around Old Québec
Want to stick to your training plans on vacation? You’ve come to the right place. Québec City is beautiful, safe, and a great place for runners, with plenty of routes to keep you on your toes and on track with your race goals. Plus, running is a great way to see the Plains of Abraham or the streets of Old Québec. The running routes I recommend below will take you through some of the best spots in the Old City and beyond, so you can pick out your favourites and go back later for a more thorough visit.
Here are my favourite places to go running:
1 The Streets of Old QuébecMention de source Jeff Frenette Photography
Start/Finish at: Château Frontenac
Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: Varies by route
No doubt about it, the best way to see the Old City is on foot—or on a run! No need to worry about getting lost in the streets and alleys, since the Château Frontenac is the most obvious (and impressive) landmark in the city. For a running route you won’t find anywhere else, chart a course along the city’s colonial‑era fortifications. For an added challenge, head down to Place Royale square and feel the burn on the way back up!
2 Plains of AbrahamMention de source OTQ / Guy Lessard
Start/Finish at: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: 5 km or less, on average
This vast urban park is the city’s favourite playground. It’s especially popular with urban professionals who work in the nearby office towers. Take a run there at lunchtime and you’ll see what I mean! Besides your fellow runners, the Plains of Abraham offer stunning views of the St. Lawrence River from the road and trails that run along the cliff.
3 Parc linéaire de la rivière Saint-Charles
Start/Finish at: Gare du Palais Station
Distance: 8–9 km (less if you turn around before Pont Scott)
This loop route runs along both banks of Rivière-Saint-Charles. Since it follows the river instead of the road, it’s perfect for runners who like to stay away from traffic and makes a great route for fartlek workouts. The view is magnificent from Parc Cartier-Brébeuf—a peaceful vantage point that brings the nearby city into perspective.
4 Promenade Samuel-De ChamplainMention de source Jeff Frenette Photography
Start/Finish at: Parking lot at the bottom of Côte de Sillery
Distance: 8,5 km (round trip)
A major legacy project for Québec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations, Promenade Samuel-De Champlain has been a welcome addition for walkers, runners, and cyclists. The lighting, boardwalks and sculptures make it an incredible spot for a sunrise run along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
5 Staircase Circuit
Start/Finish at: Anywhere along the cliff between the Upper and Lower Town
One of the distinctive features of Québec City is its steep incline, which gave birth to the Upper Town and Lower Town sectors. These two are linked by some thirty staircases—a great feature for local runners, who use them to train. You can choose a linear route that takes you up and down each staircase—like the ones used for Québec City’s famous Staircase Challenge—or do a loop up and down one of the longest staircases: Cap-Blanc (398 steps) or Promenade des Gouverneurs (308 steps).