Driving time from Quebec City
3 hours from Quebec City
Via ferrata circuits
Elevation you can reach
Set your plans in stone
This isn’t the sort of place where you can just show up and start scaling the cliffs. Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay provides professional guides and set via ferrata routes, so before you arrive, make sure to reserve your spot with the Baie-Éternité Discovery and Visitors Centre first. You can call them or book online. The company that manages the via ferrata rock climbing routes operates from June to October.
While the guided tour provides all the climbing gear, there are a few things you’ll need to come prepared with, such as comfy active clothing, loose long pants (not jeans), closed-toed shoes with sturdy soles, water, a snack and a small backpack.
What is via ferrata?
Italian for “iron road,” via ferrata is a mountain route that’s reinforced with steel cables, walkways, bridges and ladders. As you work your way along the route, you’re in a harness and attached by cables to help you safely scale rock faces with minimal experience and equipment. It’s kind of a mix between hiking and climbing, and it gives you a totally new way to experience the park. Guides are there to provide tips, too.
Onwards and upwards
Once you get your guide and your gear, it will be time to start climbing. If you want to start out at a more leisurely pace, La Passerelle is the shortest circuit at 295m. La Grande Dalle is higher, at 570m. While both these routes are very doable, you’ll want to remember that both these routes are ranked intermediate in difficulty. So even though you’ll have an expert standing by to support you, be ready for a refreshing challenge.
A view to eternity
Make sure your guide takes you to the suspension bridge. The 85m structure gives you a view of Baie-Éternité that’s absolutely breathtaking. The bridge is relatively narrow and is sure to get your heart racing, partly because of the view, partly because of the nerves. From your vantage point, scan the water for pods of whales passing further down the fjord, including belugas. If you’re lucky, you might spot a whale or a peregrine falcon.
Want to aim higher?
While La Passerelle and La Grande Dalle are considered intermediate in difficulty, there’s one circuit – L’Odyssée – that’s rated as advanced. This titanic trek will take you up 850m, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Some say that simply looking at pictures of L’Odyssée can cause a sense of vertigo. Expect to spend close to seven hours outside when you tackle this route.
You’ve earned your rest
The national park has plenty of campsites, both serviced and unserviced, if you want to stay the night. You could also reserve a comfy Huttopia tent, which is like a cross between a log cabin and a yurt, or head over to nearby L’Anse-Saint-Jean. There are lots of little inns, and some – like Auberge la Fjordelaise, on the edge of town – have excellent eateries attached. Try stopping by Café du Quai. It’s so small that you might miss it, but the crêpes will blow your mind.