5 Enchanting Waterfalls in Gaspésie
Among the many majestic waterfalls found in the region of Gaspésie, here are five that will enchant you with their natural beauty.
Chute Hélène, Réserve faunique de Matane
At 70 metres high, the impressive Chute Hélène waterfall is taller than legendary Niagara Falls, which are only 53 metres high! Chute Hélène is on the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) in the Réserve faunique de Matane. The Mem stream, which feeds this waterfall, comes from two small mountain lakes, Bardey and Coleman, at the foot of Mont Collins.
There are two ways to get to this waterfall. You can hike along a 3-km intermediate trail (with an elevation gain of 280 metres) from the Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs or go on a day hike via the ZEC Cap-Chat. To get to the ZEC, take Rue des Fonds in Cap-Chat, east of the bridge that crosses the Cap-Chat River, and follow the signs. From the ZEC entrance, you’ll then drive 20 km on a gravel road to reach the Petit-Sault parking lot. The trailhead to the waterfall is located 1.6 km north of the parking lot, where the International Appalachian Trail crosses Route 1. Another parking lot is located 200 metres past this intersection, north of the bridge over the Bascon stream on Route 1.
The trail to the Chute Hélène waterfall is an intermediate trail that is 8.2 km long there and back. It features a succession of long climbs and short descents. The trailhead is just beyond a stream you’ll need to ford. Keep walking north and cross the Bascon stream on a suspension footbridge. When you reach the other side, you can admire your first view of Chute Hélène. Keep walking to the end of the trail, which allows you to approach the waterfall. The altitude at your destination is 385 metres.
Chute Hélène. Photo: Tommy Ferlatte
Voile de la Mariée, La Martre
The small village of La Martre is best known for its famous red wooden lighthouse, but it also has another attraction: the Voile de la Mariée (Bridal Veil) waterfall. A small rest area along Route 132 allows visitors to stop and observe this natural attraction in complete safety. The waterfall’s poetic name derives from the fact that the Sorel stream, which feeds the waterfall, tumbles down a rocky escarpment, creating a misty effect that resembles a bridal veil. The waterfall has inspired the name of a Belgian-style white beer (witbier) from the Le Malbord microbrewery (Sainte-Anne-des-Monts) called Le Voile de la Mariée, which you can savour as you dream of this enchanting site!
Voile de la Mariée. Photo: Mathieu Dupuis
Chute de la Rivière aux Émeraudes, Percé
Portage River, known locally as Rivière aux Émeraudes (Emerald River), is located in Bridgeville, near Percé. This corner of paradise with turquoise waters delights all visitors who stop here! Although swimming is not recommended, people often dip their feet into the crystal-clear waters at the foot of the waterfall in the Rivière Émeraude Municipal Park. You can also relax and picnic on the pebbly riverbank.
To get there from Percé, drive 10 km towards Gaspé on Route 132. About 1 km past the intersection with Route Lemieux (flashing yellow light), turn left at the yellow sign for Rivière du Portage (Rivière aux Émeraudes). Keep driving on this road for approximately 4.5 km. You can park at the rock quarry (watch out for trucks). You will then need to walk about 600 metres on a trail leading to a platform that offers a beautiful view of the waterfall. You can also walk down a steep staircase to the river. Be careful: the exposed roots along the path and the steps can be slippery when wet. This hike may be difficult for some people, including young children; access to the river is at your own risk. It’s up to you to judge how far you want to go. Admission fees payable at the reception booth on site only.
Chute de la Rivière aux Émeraudes. Photo: Mathieu Dupuis
Chute du Grand Sault, Maria
You can see the beautiful Grand Sault waterfall from the trail of the same name. This 2.9-km easy trail is accessible from one of the Parc regional du-Mont Saint-Joseph parking lots, which is located on 3e Rang in Maria. The Grand Sault trail leads to the intersection of the Mont Carleton and Pionniers trails in Carleton-sur-Mer shortly after the Grand Sault waterfall, which is fed by the Glenburnie stream. Other trails in the network, which range in length from 1.4 km to 4.9 km, offer views of various streams and waterfalls. All of these trails are interconnected and safe, with several bridges, staircases and lookouts offering superb views.
Chute à Philomène, Saint-Alexandre-des-Lacs
At 33 metres high, the magnificent Chute à Philomène waterfall is accessible at any time of the day year-round. To get there, head towards Saint-Alexandre-des-Lacs from the flashing light a little south of Amqui, then follow the signs. If you’re in an RV, you’ll need to park along this road and walk the rest of the way (about 500 metres). If you’re in a car, you can drive into a gravel entranceway, across a little bridge, and park your car in the parking lot on your left.
Once on the site, you’ll find a picnic area and a spectacular cantilevered lookout in the shape of a boat’s bow. Extending over the waterfall, it has a see-through floor at the end. Developed by the local ATV club, this infrastructure is accessible to people with reduced mobility. A trail to the right of the lookout will take you down a staircase (of about 100 steps) to the bottom of the waterfall.
Chute à Philomène. Photo: Chute à Philomène
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