Jacques-Cartier National Park, Québec, Canada

Jacques-Cartier National Park is actually the English Translation of the parks true French name, Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. I visited the park while traveling from Montréal to Tadoussac, Quebec and thought I’d share a little information about it. It wasn’t a planned stop for me. I noticed the park while looking over a map in my Québec City hotel room. It was only about thirty minutes away so I figured why not check it out.

Jacques-Cartier River, Quebec, Canada
    We left our hotel at 8:30 AM and by about 9:15 AM we were in Jacques-Carteir National Park driving through the maple, birch, and pine forests of the Laurentian Mountain valleys.

The southern entrance, or entrée secteur de la vallée, is the closest to Québec City and the only one that provides any paved driving in the park.  You can find the southern entrance at kilometer marker 74 on route 175 (via rt. 73 from Québec). There are also park entrances at marker 94, 101, and 123.

We used the entrée secteur de la vallée. The road here is a well maintained, paved road that winds its way through forests along the Jacques-Cartier River. The road is paved for about twelve kilometers ( approx. 7 miles).  Just after kilometer ten is the Discovery and Service Center (Centre de Découverte et de Service). The service center has a snack bar, souvenir shop, and bathrooms. Inner tubes, rafts, canoes, kayaks, and snowshoes can all be rented there. There’s also a first aid station (premiers soins).

Dirt road in Jacques-Cartier National Park, Canada    After leaving the discovery center you’ll shortly run out of paved road.  After crossing the bridge, the dirt and stone road heads north through the valley cut by the Jacques-Cartier River. In some places the river is smooth and totally undisturbed, at others it’s turbulent. At some spots the Laurentian Mountains rise 1,800 feet on either side of the road. Camping and hiking spots are marked all along the 30 kilometer (almost twenty mile) drive north.

If you’re lucky you’ll get to see one of the moose that inhabit the park. As much as I tried to stay observant while driving and quietly hiking through the woods, the massive animal remained elusive to me. Many other animals populate Jacques-
Cartier National Park including bear, wolves, deer
and over 200 species of birds.

Sign at 'Le Confluent' trailhead in Jacques-Cartier Parc     For the hiker, there are over 100 km. (62 miles) of trails in the 670 square kilometer (260 sqare mile) park. Most of the trails are in the Secteur de la Vallée (this section where the road runs along the river through the Jacques-Cartier Valley).

If you want to stay over, there are lots of options. There are nine fully equipped cabins in the park that sleep from 2 to 14 people. There are also yurts, shelters, and 114 primitive tent sites. Most of the primitive campsites are accessible by foot and canoe. If luxury hotel by night and wilderness explorer by day sounds more like your style, the hotels of Québec City or Stoneham Ski
Resort are just a short drive.

Bench overlooking the Jacques-Cartier River in the park of the same name
Raft going down the Jacques-Cartier River in Canada
The Jacques-Cartier River in the Parc National

 

-See also: 20 Photos Around the Province of Québec, Canada

-Get more information about Jacques-Cartier National Park at the Sépaq website.

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