Last updated: 12:16 PM ET, Thu July 21 2016

5 Awesome Adventures You Can Have in Quebec

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | July 21, 2016

5 Awesome Adventures You Can Have in Quebec

PHOTO: Via ferrata in Saguenay, Quebec. (all photos by Janeen Christoff)

Not thinking of Quebec for your next adventure travel destination? You may want to change your mind. The destination is bursting with adrenaline-pumping activities. Whale watching, sea kayaking and cycling are among the tamer ways to occupy your time, but the region promises to get your heart pounding with stunning ziplines, whitewater rapids and something that is fairly unique to the region – via ferrata climbing.

PHOTO: There are several different via ferrata courses in the park.

Saguenay Fjord National Park

The Saguenay Fjord National Park is a wonderful starting point for an adventure. The park is tucked into the eastern edge of the Saguenay River, is home to three prominent bays along with a variety of wildlife and marine life including beluga whales and interesting geographical features such as sand dunes.

READ MORE: Tasting Ice Cider in Monteregie, Quebec

There is much to do within the park, including hiking and cycling trails as well as more adrenaline-pumping activities such as via ferrata – a method of climbing that was developed during World War I that involves scaling mountains using a series of iron rods, rails and ramps. This type of climbing is pretty much inaccessible to the casual trekker, but the via ferrata method makes these cliff faces climbable for the beginner. It is an intimate – and challenging – way to experience the region. There are several climbing trails within the park, from beginner courses to advanced climbs and all are escorted with a professional guide. 

PHOTO: Kayak to a waterfall on this three-hour tour with Fjord en Kayak.

Kayaking on the Fjord

Fjord en Kayak offers another way to experience the Saguenay region – exploring by sea kayak. For the truly adventurous, those who want to get up close with the wildlife and the natural areas of the region, you can escape on a multi-day sea kayaking journey. 

However, for those who just want to experience the fjord and its magnificence for a briefer period of time, head out for a half-day journey, with an included lunch handmade by the tour operator. Nothing speaks more to the culture of the region than being able to get up close with its natural surroundings and its people — and no other operator does a better job than Kayak en Fjord, run by two local entrepreneurs who truly care about each of their clients. 

The journey includes all the gear you need – extra fleece jackets, hats, scarves, gloves – you name it. Even in the toughest of weather, you will likely not be cold and be able to enjoy your journey on which you will get to see the beauty of the fjord, its escarpments and its natural features as well as – hopefully – its wildlife, which could possibly, if you are lucky, mean an encounter with a beluga whale, a black bear or moose.

PHOTO: Cycling the Blueberry Trail is a journey full of tasty treats.

Blueberry Trail

The Blueberry Trail – which sounds even cooler in French, (Le Veloroute des Bleuets) — is maybe one of the tastiest trails around. The beauty of the 265-kilometer cycling journey, which crosses 15 municipalities and travels through small villages, expansive farms and Lac Saint-Jean, has to be seen to be believed. 

The ride, while full of blueberry bushes, is also known for other snacking opportunities with breweries and cheese shops lining the trail in addition to its antioxidant superfoods.

Head out for a multi-day adventure or a short half-day ride. Either will suit the wanderlust of the casual adventurer. Rides operate from around mid-May to mid-October. 

Equinox Adventure provides guided cycling excursions as well as a variety of other adventures such as kayaking and winter sports. 

PHOTO: Crossing a suspension bridge on the via ferrata with Aventure X. 

Via Ferrata Charlevoix

If you didn’t take the opportunity to try via ferrata within the national park, there are several other parks that offer up the experience. Aventure X in Charlevoix is an adventure park run by experienced climber and best-selling author Francois-Guy Thivierge, where you can combine a tough climbing course that is certain to challenge both physically and mentally with a zipline and a rappel. It’s adrenaline-pumping and not for the faint of heart, but it will push you to the extreme if you are not an avid mountain climber. Looking to gain a sense of accomplishment on your vacation?  This experience will not disappoint.

READ MORE: Dispatch: Experiencing Via Ferrata in Saguenay, Quebec

PHOTO: The zipline at Mont Sainte Anne crosses a raging river. 

Ziplining in Mont Sainte Anne

Mont Saint Anne is another adventure park that offers offers hiking, ziplining, stunning waterfalls and more opportunities for via ferrata climbing. Hiking through the park and walking along the river and the rushing falls is well worth the trek and add to that a quick zip across the river, where you can pause in the middle to take pictures of the falls along the way is a fun way to top off an adventure in Quebec. 

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