Top Places for Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Francis Gagnon

Whether with traditional rawhide snowshoes or more modern equipment, snowshoeing continues to be a popular way to spend time outdoors. With your snowshoes strapped on tight, you’ll have hundreds of kilometres of marked trails to explore in the Québec City area.

Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier

This vast mountain plateau riven by plunging valleys is the perfect place for snowshoeing. There are also multiple types of winter camping on offer (yurts, permanent tents, huts, etc.) if you want to stay the night. Plus, not only is it easy to get to by car, there’s even a shuttle service that runs there every day from Old Québec.

Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix

Running along a ridge that overlooks the St. Lawrence River, Sentiers des Caps de Charlevoix is a favourite with outdoorsy types. The trail runs along the ridge for some 50 km and is dotted with overnight huts, so you can even do a multi‑day trip! If you’re looking for a real winter hiking experience, this one’s for you.

Camp Mercier (Réserve faunique des Laurentides)

The excellent snow conditions at Camp Mercier make it a dream location for snowshoeing. The park offers more than 30 km of marked trails with beautiful views of the snow‑covered forest. After a few hours of hiking, head back to the cabin at the trailhead to warm up in front of the enormous fireplace. Located less than an hour from Québec City, Camp Mercier is definitely worth the drive!

Vallée Bras-du-Nord

Vallée Bras-du-Nord is an outdoor paradise located near the city of Saint‑Raymond. The park is known for its scenic beauty and the wide variety of trails. Whether you’re just starting out on your snowshoes or have many miles under your belt, you’ll find plenty of trails to suit your level of fitness and expertise. If you’d like to stay for a few days, there are numerous types of accommodation, including a charming yurt village.

Snowshoeing in the Heart of the City

The magnificent Plains of Abraham Park is a vast expanse of green that runs along the top of central Québec City. If you’re new to snowshoeing, this is the perfect place to give it a whirl. This iconic site offers entertainment and family fun in summer and winter. You can even go snowshoeing with a guide all dressed up for the occasion.

Snowshoeing Guided Tours

Snowshoeing in the company of a guide allows you to explore the most beautiful areas hassle-free. Several companies offer turnkey excursions from a few hours to several days. Including transportation from downtown, Quatre Nature takes you to the most beautiful trails of Jacques-Cartier National Park. Get off the beaten track with Panorama Expeditions, which offer to discover the trails of the Mountain with two heads (Montagne aux deux têtes), a well-kept secret located in Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval. For the ultimate winter experience, be transported by helicopter to the top of Vallée Bras-du-Nord and then descend off-trail with Québec Pure Experience!

What to Wear and Equipment Required

Snowshoeing is a sport and, like every sport, it warms you up! As you walk through the forest, sheltered from the wind, you may even forget it’s cold out. That’s why you should dress in layers that you can take off as you warm up and put back on as you cool down. If you don’t have your own pair of snowshoes, most parks have a rental service.

Snowshoeing is a sport that everyone can enjoy. That being said, it’s important to check the level of difficulty of the trail you want to hike. Steep terrain, backcountry trails, and fresh snow can really increase the level of difficulty. If you’re unsure, ask park staff to help you pick a trail that’s right for you!


Best Time for Snowshoeing

To go snowshoeing, you of course need a good amount of snow. Since accumulation varies depending on latitude, places that are farther north like Forêt Montmorency and Camp Mercier have a longer season. There, it isn’t rare for winter hiking to start early in December and end in March or even April, depending on the weather.

As for what makes for ideal snowshoeing conditions, that’s up to you. Some people rush out to the forest with their snowshoes right after a storm or heavy snowfall, while others prefer to wait for the snow to get packed down by those eager beavers. Whatever you prefer, make the most of every dump of snow!

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