Elevation gain: 800m
5hrs, 10,4 km (round-trip)
During my first week back in Quebec, we decided to go and hike one of the most beautiful trails in the province. I had heard many times about this hike, and was told it was one of the most difficult around. Well – compared to many of my other posts, let me tell you I personally wouldn’t call this a difficult trail. However – there is about 600m of elevation gain over the first 2-2.5km of the trail, which can be demanding, especially as the trail has been built with steps (rocks and large stones).
You will have to pay the SEPAQ entrance fee to get in the park and take a bus from the visitor center to the trailhead. The ride isn’t too long but it would add a good 45min to your hike back and forth if you decide to walk it. There are a few campgrounds within the park where you can sleep, including one right in front of the trailhead.
For me it was a great way to get back in the mountains – at a normal sea level altitude (where I can somehow breathe normally – woohoo!). The first portion is mainly covered in the trees with a few view points on the way. The elevation gain on the last 3km is smaller and the last 1km or so is completely out of the trees. I suggest bringing warmer clothes (at least for the wind) as the summits are highly exposed to the wind and it does get quite chilly (even on a hot summer day).
There are 3 summits – the first one in my opinion has the best view of the valley. It is worth taking the time to hike up to the second and third summits, as you will get a nicer panoramic view of the area as well as some of the lakes in the surrounding mountains.
The way back down is simple but it is better to take your time and watch your steps – it is very rocky and the price would be high if you missed a step. The area is beautiful and it is worth doing the trip, as you can also visit the area of the Malbaie and Baie St-Paul not too far away.