In late September, Ross and I went on a road trip in Québec. Our itinerary for the trip had us hiking in national parks, seeing the fjords of the St. Lawrence River and sea kayaking. Our road trip had us driving north from Québec City to Monts-Valin National Park, east to Tadoussac and then back to Québec City for our flight home.
The second-most populated province of Canada, Québec will fascinate you with its legendary “joie de vivre”. The beauty of nature, culture, and architecture of Québec will seduce you and leave you with lifelong memories.
Here are the highlights of our trip:
Imago Village, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean Region
Imago Village in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is about 3.5 hours’ drive from Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) in Québec City. The dreamy rustic yurts are nestled in the remarkable surroundings at the national park. They are heated with limited electricity and running water…but really what more do you need!?!
This was our first ever stay in a yurt and we both loved it. The yurts have a bubble window at the top, right under the bed…so you essentially are sleeping under the stars but keeping cozy warm in the yurt. Falling to sleep listening to the rain above was one of my best memories of this trip.
Our yurt was the blue one, called Oslo, if you want to book that one. They fill your fridge with items for breakfast and you can wake up to a stunning view and enjoy coffee and breakfast right in your yurt. The Monts-Valin National Park is only a quick 30-minute drive from the yurt …which makes it easy to head out for a hike.
Monts-Valin National Park
Monts-Valin National Park dominates the landscape of this region and it is a great hiking location. After arriving at the park’s Discovery Center, we met with the guide that had been pre-arranged and received lunch boxes provided for the day. You can spend the whole day at the Monts-Valin National Park hiking to the highest peaks of the area and enjoying a range of spectacular views.
The trail we went on was well maintained and its highest peak was 950m in elevation. Ross and I both found this hike easy and we had a great guide with us. He showed us all the viewpoints and shared a load of information about the national park. Then we had one of the other guides drive us up to the top of the trail and then we walked down. In all that day we did a totally of 10 km.
My favorite part of the hike was the second view point we went to. The view was beautiful (despite the less than ideal weather conditions) and we were just starting to see the change in colour of all the leaves…something we don’t get to experience on the west coast. Plus, it was really nice spending time with Ross ? as we both love hiking. After the hike we enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee with our guide and sat by the fire at the Discovery Center to warm up.
For this hike, both Ross and I were wearing Merrell Flex hiking shoes, which were perfect for this (on and off rainy day) hike because they were waterproof.
- Mine are in a new colour (available soon) but these are similar MQM Flex Mid Waterproof in Hyperblack and Ross was wearing these MQM Flex vent in Dusty Olive.
We really loved them, and we tested the waterproof level and they for sure work. We both ended up sinking into some mud (don’t ask lol) which was funny, and the guide just laughed at us. However, being me…it didn’t just happen once…it happened twice! Lol
Normally we would have went back to our yurt for the night but when we had arrived the day prior (as luck would have it) our luggage never arrived. So, we had to drive south to Saguenay to pick up our luggage. Luckily when we found out our luggage didn’t arrive, we were able to rush to a store before it closed to get clothes for the hike. Traveling is always an adventure!
Being coffee lovers, we went to a café in Saguenay called l’Erudit Café. It had super good almond milk lattes. After coffee, it was back to Imago Village for the evening in our yurt.
The Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste Resort
The Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste Resort is a great location to take some remarkable Instagram shots. This resort has beautiful hiking trails, so you can spend the part of your day exploring the surroundings. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the Saguenay Fjord from the resort’s terrace. Ross and I didn’t stay here but we did one of the trails down to the lighthouse it only took about 30 mins! I would love to come back on a day with better weather and do more exploring and take in the view from the terrace as with the weather we didn’t get to see much the day we were there.
A very special thanks to Ross Radcliffe for joining me on this trip…and for the photos and video, too.
The Saguenay Fjord National Park
The Saguenay Fjord National Park in Sacré-Coeur stretches along the shores of the fjord. This marine park is an impressive bay and a magnificent fjord…the longest in Eastern Canada.
The majestic fjord is open year-round and it is divided into three vast sectors: Baie-Éternité, Tadoussac, and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite.
In the Saguenay Fjord National Park, where nature moved mountains to create a beautiful fjord, you can hike, enjoy nautical activities or admire belugas at the Halte du Béluga. It takes around 2.5 hours walk to get from the Discovery Center to the Halthe du Béluga.
Don’t miss the ferry ride while at The Saguenay Fjord National Park. The ferry is crossing the entrance of the Saguenay Fjord between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac Tadoussac – Baie-Sainte-Catherine. It offers a year-round service. The Fjord Crossing time is around 10 minutes.
The Côte-Nord region is a land of astounding nature and one of the best places to see the whales of the St. Lawrence. Here you will find thirteen species of whales, including the blue whale. And they often can be seen very close to the shore, so you can observe these giants and maybe even take some breathtaking snapshots.
This place is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. You can enjoy a range of the outdoor activities, from hiking and wildlife observation to sea kayaking and fishing. One is for sure – you won’t miss a thrill and you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the region of the Côte-Nord.
Tadoussac Bay is the gateway to the Côte-Nord region and one of the most beautiful bays in the world. This bay is a popular tourist destination. It is located at the confluence of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Charlevoix. Once again, I wish we had more time in this area as while we visited the weather was not ideal conditions to see whales or much of the views we were hoping to see.
We stayed for our next two nights at the Hotel Tadoussac. Hôtel Tadoussac is at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord. For over 70 years, guests have come to experience the old-fashioned elegance and unique architecture of this famous landmark Québec hotel. The whole village of Tadoussac is so adorable with everything walking distance from the hotel.
St. Lawrence River Sea Kayak Excursion
One of the activities that we had planned while here was an afternoon sea kayaking with Mer et Monde Ecotours. The sea kayaking excursion starts from Les Bergeronnes and lasts about 3 hours 30 minutes. You can enjoy views of the sunset from the water while paddling to the rhythm of the tides. If you are lucky you can even see some whales. Well…we didn’t have the luck on this trip because even though the rain had stopped, the wind was too brisk for sea kayaking to be safe, so it was cancelled. Just another reason to make a trip back!
When life sends you bad weather, the only way to move forward is to look for a place to eat and get together a new plan for the day. We really enjoyed Pick Up Grille in Tadoussac…which had the best burgers!
We decided to spend the afternoon exploring the area since the day was beautiful. We both really enjoy being by the water and the views here were spectacular.
Our Merrell water shoes were the perfect choice for exploring the shoreline.
The Saguenay – Saint-Laurent Marine Park
The Saguenay – Saint-Laurent Marine Park was our next stop. This National Marine Conservation Area is the first and only park in Quebec to protect and develop exclusively marine environment. The park is located where the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence River. In this unique and marvelous spot, you will learn a lot about whales, seals, and seabirds as you observe them from the shoreline.
You may even get to see a magnificent blue whale, as they come close to the shoreline. The magnitude of nature at the park will leave you breathless. There is also a wide variety of the outdoors activities offered, from sailing on the waters to hiking and fishing.
We stopped by the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Center while we were in the area.
Our last day saw us making the trip back to Quebec City to catch our flight. There is a ferry crossing the entrance of the Saguenay Fjord between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac. The ferry is free all year around and leaves every 20 minutes which was very convenient.
We found the nicest lake after the ferry and hopped out to get some photos with the fall leaves (which were just starting to change colour) in the background. It was the perfect fall day for exploring the area on our drive back to the airport. I am wearing the Siren 3 Vent from Merrell which will be coming out soon!
We could have used more time to see the areas we visited in Québec. The weather wasn’t working on our favour but we still had a wonderful time, learned some French, ate delicious food, hiked, went to two national parks and saw a new part of Canada. As with any road trip there is a lot of driving so be sure to have a good playlist!
I will be sharing more photos from my trip in future posts so keep an eye out for them. ?