Immerse yourself in stunning scenery in Gaspésie! Visit these 5 hiking sites that offer trails for all levels.
Parc national de la Gaspésie
Hikers of all levels will enjoy visiting Parc national de la Gaspésie, which offers hikes in the Chic-Choc Mountains lasting from 30 minutes to several days. Every year, the park’s two main attractions, Mount Albert and Mount Jacques-Cartier, draw many hikers.
You can hike up Mount Albert on a 17.4-km loop trail or opt for a 11.4-km round-trip hike on the north side of the mountain. (Both are expert-level trails.) Mount Jacques-Cartier offers you the opportunity to see caribou while enjoying a difficult 8.3 km round-trip hike. If you are travelling with your family, you may want to explore the very accessible Lac-aux-Américains trail (easy 2.6-km round trip) or the Ernest-Laforce trail (intermediate 4.5-km loop with an elevation gain of 155 metres).
For those who are already familiar with the park, there are always new discoveries awaiting you! If you have not already done so, you must climb Mount Olivine (hard 11.5-km round trip), which offers a magnificent view of Mount Albert, or try the Pic-du-Brûlé trail (difficult 13.2-km loop), which offers viewpoints on the wall of the Chic-Chocs and the St. Lawrence Valley. More experienced hikers can cross the park from east to west on 99.5 km of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) with overnights in huts along the way.
Forillon National Park
Soak up the wild beauty of the landscapes of Forillon by exploring the park’s many trails. The Les Graves trail, which is a 15.2-km round-trip hike from Grande-Grave or an 8-km round-trip hike from L’Anse-aux Amérindiens, gives you access to a lookout at Land’s End with a view of an endless sea.
The Mont-Saint-Alban trail is a 7.2-km loop from the Petit-Gaspé beach (South Area) or a 7.8-km loop from Cap-Bon-Ami (North Area). It offers several lookouts over the vast sea and forest. The trail also takes you to an observation tower where you can admire a 360-degree view from a height of 283 metres. For a shorter excursion, you can avoid the loop and simply hike to the tower and back from the South Area trailhead (5.4 km) or the North Area trailhead (3.6 km).
Finally, the La Chute trail is a well-kept Forillon secret that is worth discovering! The trail is short (1 km) but involves some steep stairs, which make the climb easier, and leads to a lovely 17-metre-high waterfall. The park also offers several other magnificent trails that are worth exploring, some of which are part of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT).
Percé UNESCO Global Geopark
Percé is renowned for legendary Percé Rock as well as sea excursions to Bonaventure Island. Recently, however, the town has expanded its offerings by opening a geopark. Offering 18 km of marked trails at the heart of the Appalachians, the Percé Geopark features several lookouts, a zipline and an impressive glass platform suspended 200 metres above the ground, from which you can admire a stunning view of the sea, Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island.
You and your family can also enjoy wandering through a magical forest, which features twisted trees and soft carpets of moss. Other attractions in the geopark are the “bottomless hole,” an impressive but very accessible underground cavity, and the “crevasse,” a deep fault in Mount Blanc that offers a view of the north side of the Gaspé Peninsula.
Parc régional du Mont-Saint-Joseph
Overlooking Carleton-sur-Mer, Mount Saint-Joseph offers a stunning view of Chaleur Bay—one of the most beautiful bays in the world—from a lookout on the peak at 555 metres in altitude.
About 30 km in total, the safe trails of Parc régional du Mont-Saint-Joseph are dotted with bridges, staircases and lookouts, from which you can admire beautiful streams and waterfalls. The trails vary in length from 1.4 km to 4.9 km, but since they are linked you can hike for much longer if you want. While you are exploring, pay attention to the names of the trails, which reflect local history.
Located at the gateway to the famous International Appalachian Trail (IAT), the Matapédia-et-les-Plateaux area is home to stunning mountains and rivers. In addition to the IAT, which offers you the opportunity to plan a trek of several days with overnights in huts, this area also offers several short trails and lookouts that are worth discovering.
In Saint-Alexis-de-Matapédia, you can hike a short 0.5-km trail to the Horizon de Rêve lookout, which is perched 300 metres above sea level and offers a stunning view of the Restigouche River as it meanders through a valley.
In Saint-André-de-Restigouche, you will want to hike to the Chute à Pico, a waterfall that is accessible via an easy 1-km trail that includes a footbridge and several wooden staircases. Another thing not to miss is a new wooden observation tower, built on one of the area’s highest points. The 360-degree view allows you to admire the surrounding landscape for 100 km—the tower’s architecture alone is worth the visit. Another superb wooden structure was built in Matapédia in 2018: the Deux-Rives lookout, which is accessible via a 1-km trail. It offers an amazing view of the confluence of the Matapédia and Restigouche rivers.
Are you itching to explore these amazing trails in Gaspésie?