Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, QC, Canada
Driving time from Quebec City
Where to start
Most trails in Jacques-Cartier National Park are easy or intermediate. Two of them are classified “difficult,” and the longest trail in the park is 24.8km. If you’ve got hiking experience and are up for a challenge, you spend the day hiking Les Loups (11km, difficult), or camp overnight and explore another long trail the next day, like the historical Le Scotora trail (16km, difficult).
Taming the Wolves
Les Loups trail has a lot of short steep hills that go up and down like a natural roller coaster. At the end, you’ve actually ascended 447m. Make sure to wear good shoes and bring trekking poles to help you on your climb, especially if you’re carrying any weight. Bringing water, snacks, and your 10 hiking essentials is also a must. Depending on your level of fitness and experience, the round trip may take from three to five hours.
Biodiversity to boot
You may want to take a break at the first viewpoint to take a look at the landscape. Be aware of the little creatures around you, as the park is full of squirrels, chipmunks and birds. If you’re lucky, you could see a porcupine or a marten. Look at the sky and at the top of the trees, because you might also spot a falcon or an osprey. The park is a habitat for grey wolves and caribou as well, but they’re extremely elusive.
A close call
When you arrive at the top, you’ll notice the Jacques-Cartier River down in the valley. Take time to pull out some snacks and soak in the view before you turn around and head back. A great park and rich wildlife, just 30 minutes from Quebec City for you and your hiking boots to explore.