Here are 5 prime locations to enjoy outdoor activities, particularly hiking, surrounded by the flamboyant fall colours of Gaspésie.
The mountains in Parc national de la Gaspésie
Enjoy exceptional views from the top of the Chic-Choc Mountains in parc national de la Gaspésie! From the foot of these mountains to their summits, you can admire a succession of beautiful views of the surrounding fall scenery. Among the various hiking trails found in the park, many are still open to visitors all year round, except Monts Albert, Jacques-Cartier and Xalibu, which are open until October 9, 2023, when fall colours generally reach their peak.
Mont Olivine, Parc national de la Gaspésie. Photo: Roger Saint-Laurent
Mount Saint-Pierre: A 360-degree view
On the northern side of the Gaspé Peninsula, the coastal village of Mont-Saint-Pierre will charm you with its winding seaside road bordered by immense mountains. Mount Saint-Pierre, which reaches an altitude of 430 m, features steep slopes. Hiking enthusiasts can climb the Delta trail, a challenging 3.2-km hike (round trip). During the ascent, the mixed forest dominated by balsam fir trees gives way to a rocky area that is almost stripped of all vegetation.
At the top, you can admire a magnificent 360-degree view of the village of Mont-Saint-Pierre, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Chic-Chocs Mountains in the distance. You may also be lucky enough to spot hang-gliders leaping from the side of the mountain! Please note that dogs on leashes are welcome on this trail and that wearing an orange vest is recommended during hunting season. From the mountain, you can continue your hike on the International Appalachian Trail (PDF) or along other intermediate or advanced trails, ranging in length from 4 km to 32.5 km.
Delta trail. Photo: Station de montagne sur mer de Mont-Saint-Pierre
Mount Saint-Alban in Forillon National Park
Climb to the top of the Mont-Saint-Alban observation tower, at an altitude of 283 m, and admire a 360-degree view of the sea and cliffs on the majestic Forillon Peninsula! Open year-round, the intermediate trails on Mount Saint-Alban offer superb views of the endless sea and colourful forest.
From Cap-Bon-Ami, you can enjoy a 7.8-km loop hike; note that the first kilometre is challenging because the trail is on a steep incline. You can also opt for a shorter hike (3.6 km round trip) if you walk to the tower and back. From the Petit-Gaspé beach, the trail to Mount Saint-Alban is a 7.2-km loop on a gentler slope.
From here too, you can walk to the tower and back (5.4 km round trip). Please note that Forillon National Park charges an admission fee (until October 9, 2023) and that dogs on leashes are allowed on the trails.
Forillon National Park. Photo: Roger St-Laurent
Percé UNESCO Global Geopark: A crevasse and other geosites
Visitors to the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark can enjoy 18 km of hiking trails. While some allow you to admire the picturesque village of Percé, Bonaventure Island and impressive Percé Rock from a different angle, others give you the opportunity to observe natural sites.
The Geopark is home to 23 geosites, areas of great geological and scientific importance that also meet one or more exceptional criteria. Accessible from three hiking trails, the Crevasse, a huge crack, illustrates one of the geomorphological phenomena of Percé. The Grotto, a superb gorge with a waterfall, is accessible at the end of the path of the same name. Roland’s Table (La Table à Roland), which combines geology and ancestral symbols, is visible from the Belvédères (lookout) trail on the summit of Mount Sainte-Anne.
At Petit Mont-Sainte-Anne, you will appreciate the Magic Forest, which features twisted trees and a fantastical atmosphere, as well as the Bottomless Cave, an underground cavity. The geopark also offers guided hikes lasting about 1.5 hours. Various routes are available and will allow you to discover 500 million years of history. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Trails are open year-round.
Percé. Photo: Roger St-Laurent
Ruisseux Creux waterfall in Domaine des Chutes du Ruisseau Creux
Nestled among cliffs that form a mini-canyon, the Ruisseau Creux waterfall in Saint-Alphonse, north of New Richmond, is a hidden gem worth discovering! To get there, you will first cross an 81-metre suspension bridge over the crystal-clear Bonaventure River. Tree adventures for children are available free of charge on the other side.
Domaine des Chutes du Ruisseau Creux gives you access to 37 km of trails in a mostly deciduous forest, which turns beautiful colours in the fall. The trails offer easy to difficult hikes ranging in length from 0.9 km to 11 km. Located 5.2 km from the bridge, the Ruisseau Creux waterfall is accessible via the Rivière, Bûcheron and Pédaleux trails.
Domaine des Chutes du Ruisseau creux. Photo: Gratien Bergeron
The ideal time to observe fall colours in Gaspésie is hard to predict, although traditionally the leaves are at their best during the first two weeks of October. In addition to the trails, the rivers and sea also offer interesting vantage points of Gaspésie in the fall. Admire the colourful landscape from a sea kayak in Percé or Forillon or explore the meandering Matapédia and Bonaventure rivers by canoe.
Experience the best the outdoors has to offer while surrounded by the flamboyant fall colours of Gaspésie.
For more ideas for your fall vacation, read the following blog posts: