Only at 30 minutes north of Quebec City, the Jacques Cartier National Park is a happiness for hikers and all those who wish a good dose of nature, without driving hours and this in all seasons.
We went for the first time this Autumn to see "colors". And the curiosity to discover the park covered with a beautiful white coat, pushed us to go there in full winter to walk a few trails on the occasion of the park open day of the Sépaq network.
The park 670 Km2 is open year-round is proposed to multiple activities which necessarily adapt to the different seasons: hiking, cycling and canoeing in summer, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, cross-country skiing, off-piste skiing, fatbikes, scooters, ice skates, buoys, etc ... in winter . It makes activities!
There is something for all tastes and all ages! Only campsites are closed during the winter season, but we can still do some winter camping in some areas. Some non-cleared roads inside the Park become walking trails, and in all 84kms of snowshoe trail.
Need a breath of fresh air and a little work our muscles, so we borrowed snowshoes from friends, prepared a snack break and put on our jackets and our backpacks for a day of walking. What make us simply happy!
In the fall, we spotted a path in the park to take a little height and offering beautiful views of the valley through the forest. Neither one nor two we put the rackets for a first ballad of a few kilometers.
The trail of the Spurs form a beautiful loop with varied views on two valleys different. Hikers without snowshoes did not seem to be in trouble, but some passages were still more enjoyable with them. Without, we sometimes risk going down to the knees in the snow if we just leave the tracks.
rotating walk between the trees, and breakthroughs in the valleywe fully enjoyed and admired the jewels of winter. Snow, ice ... the light has revealed every wonder of the park. White, here, was all nuance ...
Although we met a few people, only the sound of our footsteps in the fresh snow broke the silence and calm of this enchanted forest.
A bit of poetry that is a good image, all the sweetness and tranquility of this path.
After this beautiful morning warm-up and absolute tranquility, we headed to the visitor center, which was very full that day (and yes the entrance being free we were not all alone), the time of We warm up around a good fire.
After a short break well-deserved crust (the walk it digs!) What's more with a rather nice view of the valley, we left without racket this time for a new hike "the way to the valley".
No big difference in height here, accessible to everyoneit's a bit like the main ballad along the icy river and covered with snow. You can do it on foot, on snowshoes, on a fatbike, on cross-country skis and on a snow scooter. In short, you will understand, we have a choice!
Besides, it was pretty funny to see everyone doing different activities on the same trail! This last fact about fifteen kilometers back and forth and there are a few intersections. No obligation to do it all, we did not have time in a short afternoon. To go all the way and come back, it is better to leave quite early in the morning, especially during this period when night is still falling quickly.
So we have along the Jacques Cartier River flowing (finally in winter we do not see it flowing ...) in the Valley in the middle of the Park. The light was really intense that day, a big sun and very little cloud. And inevitably, the temperature went hand in hand: -19 ° C all day.
In the late afternoon, the sun began to rock across the valley and the contrasts became striking. Cold white, warm white ... We turned around before dark, immortalizing the last rays of sun at the top of the mountain.
This day seemed too short! There is so much to see and do here that we could spend days there! And not being in a van right now is a real game-changer for us. Maybe next time we will take one of the many cabins available for renting just to spend the night there and be able to enjoy the park at dawn ... to be continued 😉
- Open all year
- Variable hours according to the season (see the official website)
- Price: $ 8.60 per day and per person, annual pass for this park $ 43 / person, annual pass for all SEPAQ parks $ 77.75 / person. Child under 17 years old: free
- Official site : www.sepaq.com
- The visitor center is 10 kms from the main entrance, La Vallée sector
- Winter camping: 32,35 $
- Housing in winter: yurt 4 people $ 104 / night, cottage from $ 132 / night
- Dogs are allowed on some leash
- Price for equipment rental: right here
- The Spur: 5.4 km (loop) / 2h30 taking your time / Moderate difficulty: it goes up a little, elevation gain of 200 m / Parking at km 3 of the “Chemin du Parc‐National”.
Nice hike in the trees where you take a little height. Beautiful views of the two valleys. Dogs are allowed on this trail!
- Valley path: 15.4 km (round trip) / 7 hours / Easy: it's flat / Departure: Discovery and Visitors Center at km 10.
On snowshoes or on foot, the trail runs along the Jacques-Cartier River and offers beautiful views of the mountains.