The Traversée de Charlevoix is one of the longest and most beautiful hiking trails in Quebec at 105km (60 miles) from start to finish. Located in the mountainous hinterland of the Charlevoix region, at the heart of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this rugged trail offers outdoor enthusiasts a real challenge with a breathtaking backdrop. Six back country huts line the trail, each equipped with a 2-burner camp stove, fridge, cooking/dining equipment, and comfortable 3" mattresses in an upstair sleeping area (accommodating up to 10 hikers, non-private). The huts, combined with daily luggage transfers, allow hikers to tackle the rugged trail without the need to carry camping equipment. With your luggage transfers, we've included drinking water refills, easy-to-prepare meals, and daily fresh food items, meaning just a day pack to carry on the trail and no advanced food planning required - We'll take care of it all!
This morning, you will be picked up from either your accommodation in Baie-St-Paul or at its bus station for your transfer to the trail office (buses from Quebec City generally arrive around 11am). At the office, we will have a detailed briefing, organize luggage and food, and hand over the trail maps. The first hiking day is short and perfect for an afternoon start. This section of trail is rather easy and features a few mild downhill slopes through a long glacial valley. Tonight's shelter is located next to charming Lac a l'Ecluse. Your luggage and food will be waiting for you in the hut - settle in and enjoy the quiet surroundings. Overnight Chalet l'Eccureuil.
(Elevation gain/loss: -30m)
Although the distance is longer today, this second leg is travelled rather easily thanks to lovely downhill slopes. From Lac a l'Ecluse, the trail runs along the Ruisseau aux Mouches, then the southwest Gouffre River. Crossing forests and plains, highlights today include old and imposing fir and spruce trees, a lush array of shrubs and herbaceous plants, and a view over the edge of an impact crater, created by a meteorite some 360 million years ago. There is an option today to take an alternative and slightly more demanding trail about 2/3 of the way through the hike - we highly recommend it for the fantastic views! Overnight Chalet la Marmotte.
(Elevation gain/loss: +50m/-400m or +250m/-600m)
If all is well and cloud cover is minimal, we strongly recommend ascending the extra 9km to the top of Mt. Noyee. The view is beautiful - on clear days you can even see the St-Lawrence River in the distance. A small shelter at the top of the mountain makes a great lunch stop. The descent that follows soon leads to the Chalet La Chouette (Owl Hut), located near the lake of the same name.
(Elevation gain/loss: +350m/-160m or +700m/-450m)
Awaiting you today is a real treat - the Hautes-Gorges Valley and the beautiful Malbaie River, the region's majestic 160km long waterway. Although long in distance, this is another mostly downhill day with amazing views, bridge crossings, and the gigantic trees of Grands-Ormes ecological reserve. After an initial uphill bringing you to amazing views of the Acropole des Draveurs (1040m) and Mont Felix-Antoine-Savard (910m), a long downhill brings you to the entrance of Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie; the protected area where you will be wonderfully immersed for the next two hiking days. The location of your hut tonight is spectacular with views of the Malbaie River and the surrounding mountains. You'll find it difficult to leave! Overnight Chalet Gaie Bleu.
(Elevation gain/loss: +250m/-700m)
Despite the gradual uphill climb for most of the day, the hike isn't too difficult. After following the Malbaie River, the trail leaves it and climbs along Chouinard stream (Ruisseau Chouinard), leading to some lovely panoramic lookouts on the narrow valley and the surroundings. Along the trail, you will notice a huge, solitary white pine tree that seems to defy time. Overnight Chalet Le Coyote.
(Elevation gain/loss: +400m)
The trail today is mostly comprised of former forestry paths, making for a lovely walk. Along the way, you will walk through an area of regrowth as the site was once destroyed by forest fire. In the summer, note the wide array of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) growing along the trail. Keep your eye out for a beaver dam - the patient hiker may even get a glimpse of its resident. Overnight Chalet l'Epervier.
(Elevation gain/loss: +350m/-500m)
Your final day on the trail is a short and relatively easy one. From the hut, retrace your steps for 600 meters to cross the bridge you will have passed by the day before. This bridge leads you on the Mont Grand-Fonds network and takes you to Grand-Fonds, the exit point of the memorable Traversee de Charlevoix. Your pickup will be meeting you here with your luggage for a transfer either to Baie-St-Paul or La Malbaie. Pickup time is noon, unless otherwise arranged locally. Buses depart for Quebec City in the early evening, or why not extend your stay in the Charlevoix region? Alternatively, head north along the St. Lawrence to stunning Saguenay. The options are endless.
(Elevation gain/loss: +200m/-300m)
Per Person, Twin Share