This post about Parc national de la Jacques Cartier is the first in a five-part blog series about our 2018 Québec summer camping road trip.
My partner Kelsey and I started our Québec road trip heading west off the island of Montréal to Parc National de la Jacques Cartier near Québec City.
Here are three activities that we enjoyed, and the park has excellent year-round activities. Check out their activity listings here.
We loved our visit to the park and would go again. It’s easy, accessible, and very beautiful.
1. Walk-in Camping
We opted for a small un-serviced campsite called the Grand-Duc for night one.
Pull-along trollies make transporting gear along the 30 minutes dirt trail easy, which was a treat because we’re used to backpacking through rugged terrain.
Like most Sépaq parks we visited, our site was clustered in a campground with a few other sites, but we still had privacy.
The campground is nestled along the lovely Sautauriski River, offering a beautiful view of the river valley.
Wood and fire-starters are provided on-site along with an outhouse and raised rope hanger to keep food from wildlife.
2. Enjoy a Sunset Hike
In the evening, we went for a hike along a section of the Les Coulées trail, a 10.4km loop that takes around 3.5 hours.
The following evening, we canoed across the river from our campsite and hiked a trail called Les Loups, which offers beautiful panoramic views of the region.
3. Canoe-Camping on the Jacques-Cartier
We packed up camp in the morning and drove to the Information Centre for two days of paddling.
The park has a large fleet of Esquif canoes for rent along with mandatory wetsuits (the water is cool year-round). I love Esquif canoes and look forward to getting a solo and tandem boat of our own.
We rented a tandem canoe for two days and took a morning shuttle bus offered by the park, which brought us to the put-in.
Lovely park interpreters gave commentary as we travelled up-river in the shuttle bus, so this was glam canoe-camping by all accounts.
Before hitting the river, we soaked in the stunning landscape as the river runs through a lush green valley with steep hills and cliff-faces on either side of the river.
Paddling the Jacques Cartier is family-friendly, though there are a few sets of small Level 1 (maybe Level 2) rapids that pose some hazards. A dirt road runs parallel to the river and park staff are never far.
We hardly paddled as a steady current pulled us along, allowing us to enjoy the views. We set up camp at a site called Le Bec-Scie and finished our paddle to the Information Centre the next morning.
From there, we took a stunning drive northeast from Jacque Carter to the Saguenay. A war awaited us there. What happened? Stay tuned.