Canada’s vast wilderness covers most of this geographically large country. Its national parks and national park reserves span 336,343 square kilometers across tundra, plains, forests, lakes, and even glaciers. Much of this protected territory can be found in Canada’s largest province, Quebec, which is home to some of the countries most stunning national parks. With breathtaking natural landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a range of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, Quebec's national parks are an ideal destination for those planning an outdoor getaway. When planning a visit, it can be hard to choose amongst them all, but here are the top 10 national parks in Quebec. With HomeExchange, the #1 home exchange community in the world, you are sure to find a place to call home during your great exploration!Discover How HomeExchange Works
1. Parc national de la Gaspésie: A Hiker’s Paradise in Quebec National Parks
Parc national de la Gaspésie is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts who love adventure and stunning scenic views. Located in the Gaspésie region of Quebec, the high altitude of the Chic-Choc Mountains here influence the park’s climate, covering its rugged terrain in Arctic-alpine plants.
Gaspésie was added to Quebec national parks in 1937 to protect its pristine animal life, including the salmon of the Sainte-Anne River and local herds of caribou. Many enjoy visiting today to see the caribou, who still remain, and are the last representatives of this species south of the St. Lawrence. In summer, it’s a top hiking destination, and in winter visitors can enjoy cross country skiing and snow shoeing.
2. Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier: A National Park Near Quebec City
If you’re looking for national parks near Quebec City, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is located just 30 minutes away, making it the perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. This park features a stunning mountains plateau cut by deep valleys and the river by the same name as the park that cuts through it. The river is home to many beavers which are a wildlife favorite for visitors to spot here. Moose can also be seen wandering high and lows of the parks, including its conifer forests.
In summer visitors can hike the park’s more than 100km of trails, and if you’re not afraid to get wet, even raft down the river. If you do, be sure to bring your waterproof camera for this amazing photo opportunity!
3. Parc national de la Mauricie: A Family Friendly Choice Among Quebec Canada’s National Parks
Many of the Quebec Canada national parks were created with the purpose of protecting local nature and wildlife from disappearing. This is true of Parc national de la Mauricie in the heart of Quebec. At one time, the forest of the Shawinigan region where the national park is located, underwent so much logging that its existence was severely threatened. Since the creation of the park, its forest have regrown and contain a mix of conifers and deciduous trees. The only on chopping them down these days are the local beavers.
Families with kids will love the park's kid-friendly activities. The Mattawin River that flows along the borders are the park make it popular destination for kayaking and canoeing. As you make your way down the river, you might spot some adorable otters! Other local wildlife and includes wood turtles, moose, and black bears, so if enjoying hiking in the area, be sure to stay on marked trails and know these 7 safety tips for hiking.
4. Parc national du Mont-Tremblant: The First of National Parks in Quebec
Of all the Quebec national parks, Parc national du Mont-Tremblant has the claim to fame of being the very first in the province, and thus one of the first in all of North America. It’s part of an important history of protected areas and spans over 1500 square kilometres of land. One of the things that makes Parc national du Mont-Tremblant unique is its location in the Laurentian Mountains, a mountain range that is over 540 million years old, making it one of the oldest in the world.
This particular park is open year round and in summer its six rivers and over 400 lakes and streams call to canoe enthusiasts. 400 different species of mammals call this park home, including legendary gray wolves, and with a bit of lunch you but see them roaming their natural habitat. So as not to disturb the wildlife, the number of visitors authorised to enter the park is limited each day, so if your’e keen so explore this one of the Quebec Canada national parks, don’t forget to plan in advance and buy your entry online before making the trip.
5. Parc national d’Aiguebelle: Breathtaking Rock Formations & Geological Wonders
Parc national d'Aiguebelle is situated in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area of Quebec, and has been attracting visitors to Canada's national parks for many years. Spanning over 268 square kilometers, the park is located on the Canadian Shield, a vast geological feature that extends across Canada and parts of the United States. This unique location has resulted in the formation of breathtaking rock formations and geological wonders such as the renowned "La Porte de l'Enfer" or "Gate to Hell" - a narrow gorge that stretches over 50 meters and is only one meter wide at its narrowest point.
The park's 40 lakes and numerous streams and waterfalls owe their existence to the region's one-of-a-kind geology. Visitors can enjoy swimming, paddling, fishing, or relaxing on the shores of the park's many bodies of water during summer. In winter, ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing are popular activities. The park is also home to over 190 bird species, including loons, eagles, and owls, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
6. Parc national des Grands-Jardins: A National Park 350 Million Years in the Making
Parc national des Grands-Jardins is located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. Its history actually being over 350 million years ago when a meteorite struck the earth’s crust creating the Charlevoix impact crater. The geological formation has helped create its stunning peaks and valleys. In the 20th century, conservation efforts were initiated to preserve its natural beauty, after a century of logging and mining. These efforts managed to preserve its vast expanses of untouched forests that are mix of boreal and deciduous creating a unique and diverse habitat for wildlife.
There is no shortage of critters to call them home including the usual suspects you’ll find in the Quebec national parks like moose, beavers, otters, and bears black. This park in particular is also home to the rare and endangered Harlequin Duck that attracts bird enthusiasts, as well as 1,000 plant species, including the rare and endangered species such as the Eastern Yellow Lady's Slipper. With such precious nature to protect, all the parks facilities are designed to minimise environmental impact with a commitment to sustainable tourism.
7. Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie: The Highest Place East of the Rockies
Also located in the Charlevoix region, Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie was only established in the year 2000, making it one of the most recent national parks in Quebec. The park is home to the highest rock faces east of the Rockies, with cliffs that rise up to 1,000 meters above the river.
The park's canyons and gorges were carved out by the Rivière Malbaie over millions of years. Perched high above its stunning natural landscapes is the rare Peregrine Falcon which calls the park home along with 160 other bird species. One of the park's main attractions is the Acropole des Draveurs trail, a challenging 8-kilometer hike that leads to the highest peak in the park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. The park is also home to several historic sites, including the Saint-Aimé-des-Lacs church.
8. Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé: A Coastal National Park in Quebec
This small but mighty national park is an important important cultural and ecological site in Quebec. The Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, creating a stunning coastal landscape that is unlike anything else in Quebec. Visitors come for its crystal-clear waters and view of the gulf.
It’s a favorite of birdwatchers who come to see the park’s 200 bird species, including the largest Northern Gannet colony in North America. A colony of them is located on Île Bonaventure, which is a protected sanctuary for wildlife. Visitors can take guided tours of the island and observe the gannets in their natural habitat. The coastal location also lends itself to whale watching. Coastal kayakers make catch a glimpse of this stunning marine life.
Back on land, the many trails around the peninsula’s rugged terrain and cliffs allow hikers to enjoy breathtaking views of the area perfect for snapping a photo souvenir.
9. Parc national de Plaisance: Home of Great Blue Herons
Parc national de Plaisance is a stunning natural sanctuary located in the Outaouais region of Quebec. The park was established in 1984 and covers an area of over 280 square kilometers. One of the things that makes Parc national de Plaisance unique is its location on the Ottawa River. The park is situated on the banks of it, which creates a stunning waterfront landscape that is unlike anything else in Quebec.
Visitors can explore the park's many trails and enjoy breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding wilderness. Plus, the park is particularly famous for its population of Great Blue Herons, which can be seen nesting in the park during the summer months.
10. Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon: Among the Best National Parks in Quebec for Cycling
This one of the Quebec national parks has a unique location on the shores of Lac Saint-Jean. The park is named after Pointe-Taillon, a promontory that juts out onto the lake. It has 45 kilometers of hiking and cycling trails, which wind their way through pristine forests, wetlands, and along the shores of Lac Saint-Jean.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on the park's many lakes and waterways, and visitors can rent canoes and kayaks from the park's facilities. Swimming is also popular during the summer months, with several beaches located throughout the park. One of the park's main attractions is the Véloroute des Bleuets, a cycling route that circles Lac Saint-Jean.
Embrace Your Inner Explorer in Quebec with HomeExchange
Whether you're an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply looking to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature, the Quebec Canada National Parks are an opportunity unlike any other to appreciate the great outdoors. One could spend a lifetime exploring these places, thanks to the diversity of nature and sheer size alone of the national parks in Quebec.
So don’t rush and take your time for slow travel in this destination. Find a place to slow down and settle in. Local home exchanges are a great option for setting up a base camp in Quebec to explore its national parks. HomeExchange, the world’s largest network for home exchanges across the globe, offers lodging opportunities across Quebec with the added benefit of a local’s experience. Embrace your inner explore and begin browsing homes here to start planning a trip to national parks in Quebec.See Homes in Quebec Province, Canada